Vacations are something that all of us look forward to. For some it is a getaway from the mundane work. For some it is a celebration. For some it is an escape from reality while for some it is an expression of love. A vacation is always a perfect break from something. You can take some time away and retrospect on the days or events that passed by. It gives you a peace within and helps you plan your next step in life. If you have a lover for company then every vacation is turned into a honeymoon filled with memories. A vacation is the perfect relaxation. Taking a break from a regular routine is something that we all deserve.
But vacations mean different to different people. Some people like to laze around in the chill of a hill station, some like to get adventurous and go out trekking, some like to go to a beach and enjoy the sun. These are adults who are sure of what they want to do on a vacation. But what about taking kids out on a vacation? Obviously, the parents plan endlessly to have a peaceful vacation. But what do the kids expect out of a vacation? It is very difficult to figure out what a child wants. Nobody knows their expectations and all they want is a nice place to have a nice time. It gets tricky when you plan a vacation around a child. Whenever I see a child behaving cranky in the arms of a parent in public, I feel for the parents. All they wanted was to catch a movie, but with the the toddler in their arms they can hardly see the screen let along enjoy the movie. So when I imagine taking a child with me on a vacation, I know that I have to go fully prepared.
Most vacations are not impromptu, there always is a certain amount of planning that goes behind planning a vacation. These plannings need to be modified if a child is coming with you.
~ First, think about the mode of transport. If you are driving to the destination then take ample breaks and entertain the child. The music in your car can be their favorite rhyme and listening to it will keep them occupied along with a favorite toy. If you are travelling by air, make sure the timings of the flight doesn't collide with the sleeping time of the child. Lack of sleep can make a child really cranky and difficult to handle. Nothing annoys fellow passengers more than that of a crying baby. If you are travelling by a bus or train, make sure the child is well fed and constantly occupied. If it is an overnight journey, make sure you put the child to sleep at the regular time so that it doesn't disturb their cycle.
~ Check the weather of the place you are visiting. Since you would know your kids allergies you can plan accordingly. It would definitely be better to avoid going to a place where it might be raining. If the sun causes rashes to the child, make sure you carry their medications. If it is a cold place then please do carry all warm clothes for yourself and the child.
~ Carry all their belongings. From extra clothes to diapers to their snacks to their toys. Make sure you carry everything that they need throughout the duration of the journey. Carry comfortable clothes for them. It is not necessary to dress them like a fancy doll, just because you are on a vacation.
~ Make sure all the bookings are done before you get to the destination. The hotels and the mode of transport. You do not want to be stranded in the middle of a new city with a child. And do not decide on exploring the local transport while you are travelling with a child. Have a car booked to make sure that your child is comfortable.
~ Have an itinerary planned. Include a lot of places for the child to visit. Like zoos, amusements parts or open playgrounds. If your child knows swimming then it would a good idea to stay in a place with a pool. You can play water games with the child and have a bit of fun yourself too.
~ Befriend other guests with kids. In this way you can leave the kids together and have some lone time with your partner.
~ No not be harsh on the child, if he/she is finding it difficult to adjust to the new place. Be understanding and give the child some time.
~ Try to make the place you stay in as comfortable as possible. Carry the toys your child is used to and his blanket and pillows, so that they feel that they are right at home.
~ Do not drink when the child is around. Make sure atleast one partner is sober to take care of the child.
~ Wind up your day a bit earlier. Planning too many things in a single day and travelling too much can take a toll on the child.
~ Be understanding partners. Leave the child with the father while the mother goes shopping or for a massage. The mother can handle the child when the father wants to go and enjoy a sport. Take turns for all the activities that you want to do.
~ If the child is used to a nanny, make sure you take them along too. It might be a little expensive, but this is not something you should compromise on. When a child is used to spending a lot of time with someone, not having them around would make them very difficult to handle. In this way, you get quite a lot of time in your hands to enjoy with your partner too.
~ Do not try some exotic food. You wouldn't want to get sick while travelling with a child. This adds more pressure and the vacation turns into a nightmare. Eat local as much as possible.
~ Just because you have to cater to the needs of a child while on vacation, doesn't mean you can't have fun. Plan some interesting activities with your spouse and surprise them. Play music and dance and feel special.
~ Laze around and learn how much a child can amaze you. Spend some extra time with your child to make up for the lack of time due to work. Make your child look forward to the next vacation.
This post is written as an entry for Indi Happy Hours - Teddy Travelogues in association with Indiblogger and Club Mahindra.
Teddy Travelogues is the first ever online travel magazine for kids, by kids.