Before having kids I used to travel for pleasure quite often. Trips were organised around my interests and hobbies, but not defined by them. After having kids, I had to change the way that I travel and the things that I look for when in a new place. Now it’s all about “quality time” with the family, which is pretty cool actually.
What kind of a traveller are you? My husband and I love to visit new places. He was the type to want to pack as much in a trip as possible, see everything, do everything. But I’ve converted him to my style of travel. I prefer to do a handful of things in a relaxed manner and enjoy it.
Then our son was born and he changed both our travelling styles to, let’s just go relax on a beach somewhere!
We started travelling with him when he was about six months old. Our first trip was to Goa because I needed to relax without any sight-seeing. Having been to Goa before, we had seen most of the popular places already.
Air travel with kids is different at different stages of their lives. Travel with a baby is relatively alright, especially a breastfed one. One peep out of their mouths and you shove a nipple to quieten them. Our baby slept through the flight both ways.
Even a longer journey (India to the US) was manageable with plenty of snacks (puffed rice, makhana, fruits) and some small toys. We got the bassinet seat so there was enough legroom for him to sit on the floor and play.
Travelling with a toddler on a plane is a little more challenging because they don’t want to sit still. And they will let you know when they’re unhappy about it. Most are used to screens so that’s one way to occupy them for a while. But on longer trips you need to get creative with activities.
Then comes the part when you reach your destination. Sightseeing has to be kept to a minimum and you need to account for plenty of breaks in between. You also need to be flexible enough to cancel or completely change your plans.
I often hear the refrain: I want to travel but I have a child. The benefits of traveling as a child are many. They learn much more by experiencing and seeing rather than just hearing about it or watching it on TV. It is inconvenient as a parent to travel to new places with a child prone to get cranky at the worst of times, but the key is patience and being open to adjust or change plans.
You don’t expect having children to affect your travels but in reality, it does. Traveling is a lot more expensive and difficult than you think once you have children.
Some essential kids travel accessories that we’ve found very helpful are,
- Baby carrier (It is a lot more convenient than a stroller you need to keep folding. We used and loved Ergobaby. It’s the most ergonomically designed for baby and has a good back support for you.)
- Diaper bag with plenty of space and pockets. Backpacks are better to carry. Side straps get painful after a while.
- Basic first aid kit (Crocin, band-aid, thermometer, aloe vera gel for minor irritants and insect bites)
- Non-perishable healthy snack packs (rice puffs, dry fruits, dehydrated fruits, granola bars)
- Small box of toys and activities that you wouldn’t mind if they got lost or misplaced (small puzzles, toy cars, a selection of Lego blocks)
- If you allow screen time then a separate device like a tablet with some pre-loaded material (also headphones)
Just shelve your hesitation and start with a place you’re familiar with. Slowly progress to longer trips. Remember to have fun along the way.
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