“The child is the father of man”, this timeless adage by William Wordsworth reminds us how we as adults relearn the joy in ordinary things from our young ones every day. The holiday spirit also rekindles this spark in our lives especially when we disconnect from our virtual lives to reconnect with our loved ones on family holidays. The tricky part? Parents know it takes twice the effort to plan a family vacation when travelling with a child, however, there are several upsides to travelling with children. It is an excellent mode to invoke new interests along with vocabulary building and enhancing knowledge about new places and things to do. Thus, post-pandemic travel bookings have witnessed a surge in family vacations; small and long getaways are both being preferred by Indian households. Usually, these family holidays are a blend of long weekends and national holidays. Road trips have been preferred as the mode to travel for family vacations as they allow for physical distance norms to be followed; protocols tend to be flouted at times in flights and trains.
In the mood for family holidays? Don’t sweat and do try our top 5 hacks for smooth sailing when travelling with a child in any season!
1. Travel-Wise Bag:
Keep things simple, pack one or two large bags instead of lugging several suitcases. Scan your checklist, for the following items:
- Travel ids and documents
- Reports like RT-PCR
- Vaccination details
- Hygiene essentials like diapers, wipes, rash creams, and disposable bags.
- Snacks for departure and arrival
- Favourite travel toys and books to make them feel at home
- Extra clothing, layers for all types of weather. Bedding for the extremely cautious parent (in case you plan to rent a holiday home or go camping on your road trip).
- Change of clothes for moms and dads who get in the way of a messy spill.
- Light-weight stroller for younger kids when they are tired of walking.
2. Destination Preferences:
Perceptive parents hear this out! Always pick the destination and staycation hotel your child will enjoy. Yes, family vacations are not so much about us as it is about them. Certain things that matter:
- A new location that has a lot to explore, with a landscape that is not too rough for the younger ones.
- Choose a hotel/holiday rental home that has a swimming pool if you are travelling to warmer climes. Keep in mind only hotels have instructors and guards to ensure the safety of the toddlers. Prefer properties with smaller pools attached to larger ones for keeping an eye on children.
- For your family holidays, book a hotel that suits your needs. Amenities like a games room and children’s swings help uplift a child’s mood post-travelling and help ease jet lags. Many prefer budget-friendly rentals that cater to cooking facilities with pantries for the parents who love to cook.
- Look out for activities like horse riding, camel rides, pottery making, archery, stargazing, jeep safaris. These can help broaden a child’s horizons.
- Places that have food for the pickiest eater. A child’s whim to eat certain foods can be met mostly in hotels.
3. Organise a Travel Itinerary
Design a trip that your children will enjoy, prepare them for new sights and tastes.
- Map out unique places to see that your children will enjoy.
- Don’t hop hotels, choose one family vacation hotel and allow your kids to adjust.
- ‘Educational Vacations’ are in! Learn together to help your child understand better. Add 1 thing to do that your kids would love and 1 activity that they have never done before. New activities will not only pique their interest but will also drive the desire to stay flexible and try new things.
- Eat out at joints that also prepare kid-friendly meals efficiently. Hungry kids are not happy kids on family vacations.
- Plan your day so as not to disturb the child’s nap schedule and meal breaks.
- Encourage children to carry their backpacks for faster access to their favourite toy, books, or blanket. Pack them healthy cookies, fruits, and nuts to munch on.
- Pre-book certain activities and explain the trip; curious children might seem bothersome at times but this feature is imperative to their development and well-being.
4. Lay-Off Devices when travelling with a child:
Make your family holidays all about reconnecting as a unit. Distractions like surfing on the phone will make your children lose interest.
- Travel chargers are a must but connect to your laptop when your children are fast asleep.
- Avoid social media for spending time learning something together.
- Plan quiet activities for children like colouring books on flights and hand puzzles on road trips.
- Encourage younger ones to listen to audiobooks with educational stories in the car, or read a book together on the flight.
- Listen to your child; if they are being fussy or cranky, pause all activities and take a break. Take it slow.
- Start a travel journal together. It can be a collection of objects like stones and seashells off a beach or flowers picked out on a trek. Also, add pictures of past travels and new ones.
5. Safety First Travel:
Times are uncertain. Parenting entails keeping up with the times and the depth to be prepared for anything and everything.
- Before any road trip assemble the car paperwork. Make sure it is up to date and handy in the car at all times. Also, prep your car by getting an overall check at a service station.
- Buy air travel insurance which costs a fraction of your air ticket.
Ensure all activities undertaken, like boat rides and ferries are safe. Necessary precautions like social distancing and wearing masks must be followed.
- Always keep track of the child. Make sure they are within your eye’s sight. Imprint your information on the child’s cap or coat and make them memorize an emergency contact number.
- Lastly, don’t panic, when anything goes wrong, never burst out in anger in front of the child. Handle things maturely and accept what can’t be changed.
Child-friendly hotels can be easily found while you search the internet, look for this tag in the Google Overview where amenities are listed. Mana Hotel in Ranakpur is one of the best resorts in Rajasthan that offers many child-friendly facilities and activities. Here, the contemporary and traditional facets of a hotel are infused to give families a relaxing stay in Rajasthan’s countryside. Mana Hotel has a swimming pool, swings, sandpit, badminton court, horse-riding facility, camel cart rides, pottery-making classes, stargazing, cooking classes by expert chefs, jeep safari services. Leopards have been easily spotted on many such safaris, and the infamous pink leopard that has been occupying wildlife enthusiasts since November 2021 was seen in Ranakpur’s wilderness. A location like Ranakpur is perfect for family holidays; it’s a beautiful and peaceful valley secluded from overcrowded and noisy cities. Ranakpur’s greenery allows you to recharge your lungs with pollution-free air and it is blessed with pleasant weather all year round. One of the best ways to soak in the outback’s beauty is to plan a sundowner at the Ranakpur Dam; unwind with your younger ones and teach them about the abundant flora and fauna in the valley. Lastly, witness the grandeur of the Ranakpur Jain Temple, it is a world-renowned heritage site.
All this makes family holidays in Rajasthan an exciting and educational adventure!
Happy Trails Everyone!
Here is another great article on travelling with children: