TRAV­EL­LING WITH KIDS? 8 SIM­PLE RULES TO FOLLOW

If your ex­cite­ment over travel plans seems to have died down, only be­cause you’re wor­ried about keep­ing a han­dle on things, Nidhi Ba­tra, co-founder and di­rec­tor, Nir­vana Ex­cur­sions, shares a few pointers to make trav­el­ling a whole lot eas­ier on your­self

Mother & Baby - - CONTENTS -

Tips to make your travel plans go smoothly

JUST the prospect of trav­el­ling with a child, can be quite fright­en­ing. But it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily have to be that dif­fi­cult. As a mother to a four-year-old, trust me when I tell you that the avid trav­eller in me has quite lit­er­ally been there and done that! Along my way, and a few wrong turns here and there, ex­pe­ri­ence has taught me a few things that I’m about to share with you. From keep­ing your baby clean, well-fed and gen­er­ally happy, to the more im­por­tant task of en­sur­ing your san­ity is in­tact, all while mak­ing sure you and your kids have a good time, I have it all. You can’t re­ally ask for more!

RULE NO 1: PLAN LIKE YOU’VE NEVER PLANNED BE­FORE

Yes, I know that this is the ob­vi­ous thing to say but the more plan­ning you get in, the bet­ter pre­pared you’ll be. Make sure the ho­tels you’ll be stay­ing at are baby-friendly. This means they will pro­vide the nec­es­sary travel gear like prams, strollers, baby car­ri­ers, or room must-haves like a high chair, cra­dles and even cater to spe­cific food re­quests. Be­sides, no mat­ter how much you prom­ise your­self that you will keep your ex­plor­ing to a min­i­mum, you’ll def­i­nitely get the urge to step out once you’re there. How­ever, you need to in­ti­mate your ho­tel in ad­vance and pre­book these items. En­sure you have your

itin­er­ary in place and ar­range­ments made for pickup and drop to the airport and for sight­see­ing trips. Don’t do any­thing on the fly. The bet­ter pre­pared you are, the eas­ier the trip will be for you and your baby.

RULE NO 2: PACK SMART

Pack­ing can be quite dif­fi­cult when you have to con­sider your lit­tle one. I try to follow these three rules: Pack what’s fa­mil­iar, pack what’s con­ve­nient and make sure ev­ery­thing that goes into your bad can do dou­ble-duty. So for in­stance, if your baby ab­so­lutely can­not do with­out her stuffed teddy, do pack that, but don’t pack any other toys. You can al­ways keep them en­ter­tained with colour­ful rub­ber­bands or a piece of paper and a crayon.

RULE NO 3: THE COM­FORT ZONE

There are cer­tain items your child just can­not do with­out—be it a favourite sip­per, pil­low or toy. More­over, you’re trav­el­ling to a new place, and this could be un­nerv­ing for a child, dis­rupt­ing an oth­er­wise flaw­less rou­tine. Pack­ing some­thing fa­mil­iar will prove to be ex­tremely use­ful when your child re­fuses to eat, has trou­ble sleep­ing or sim­ply is in a cranky mood. Pack­ing a sooth­ing on­sie or blan­ket that works to calm him should be your go-to item. Try not to ex­per­i­ment when you’re trav­el­ling with your child. Pack what­ever he is the most com­fort­able in, even if it’s a ratty old shirt.

RULE NO 4: OPT FOR SER­VICED APART­MENTS

Un­less you are one of the lucky few with a baby who’ll eat prac­ti­cally any­thing, you might have to pre­pare some­thing that may not be eas­ily avail­able. Opt­ing for ser­viced apart­ments or apart­ment ho­tels wher­ever pos­si­ble, means you’ll have your own kitchen, and can pre­pare whole­some meals your­self.

RULE NO 5: RE­LAX EV­ERY CHANCE YOU GET

The whole point of a va­ca­tion is to re­lax and break away from rou­tine, but with a child I tow, that’s not en­tirely pos­si­ble. The key is to take things slow and not pack in too much in one day. Yes, it’s nat­u­ral to want to do, see and ex­pe­ri­ence ev­ery­thing but try not to do that. Do ex­plore to your heart’s con­tent but also make sure you get plenty of rest.

RULE NO 6: LET YOUR BABY EX­PLORE

While it’s nor­mal to feel wor­ried or tensed about tak­ing your child to strange places and al­low­ing him to eat newer foods or cuisines, it’s im­por­tant to al­low them a cer­tain de­gree of free­dom to ex­plore. They might sur­prise you with the dishes they take a lik­ing to or the ac­tiv­i­ties they end up pre­fer­ring.

RULE NO 7: EM­BRACE TECH­NOL­OGY

While the universal opin­ion to­day to en­gage a child’s imag­i­na­tion away from tech­nol­ogy, when trav­el­ling with a child, things aren’t al­ways as black and white. Some­times, you may have to tread the grey ar­eas. Like for ex­am­ple, when on a long flight or holed up in ho­tel rooms for a long pe­riod of time, your smart­phone or tablet can pro­vide some much-needed respite. Of course, make sure you have ed­u­ca­tion­ally stim­u­lat­ing and age-ap­pro­pri­ate apps that will keep your child oc­cu­pied. This way, you won’t feel guilty about in­dulging them, and they’ll learn some­thing too!

RULE NO 8: AD­JUST, AD­JUST, AD­JUST

Now, de­spite all the time and ef­fort you’ve put into plan­ning, when it comes to ex­e­cu­tion, things might not al­ways go your way. Which is why it’s al­ways bet­ter to be pre­pared with a Plan B, C and D, if nec­es­sary. And when all else fails, ad­just as best as you can to the sit­u­a­tion. It’s re­ally all that you can do in the end! Now, ev­ery child is dif­fer­ent and you, as a par­ent, knows ex­actly what works best for him. Keep these rules in mind, and if nec­es­sary, even add to them. Till then, travel safe and don’t for­get to have some fun!

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