Friday, 4 January 2019

Driving Miss Daisy

New Year has begun and so have the holidays. Everybody wants to go on a vacation to exotic places. Click selfies at sunset on the beach with your recently tanned skin or while unwinding at the late night “only for couples” New Year Party. All this is welcome till you were single, unmarried or a happy couple. But everything changes once you have children around you. Many parents do not opt for any travel trips or holidays outside home once they have young babies or toddlers at home. Or if they do, these trips are without kids.

But travel doesn’t stop once we have kids. In fact, the fun actually begins once you start looking at the world through your children’s eyes. The same beaches, river banks and mountain tops become alive and adventurous once you have a kiddo with curious eyes and innocent observations in your lap or a toddler by your side. It is just a matter of giving the baby the centre stage while planning and undergoing travel plans. Once the baby and the parents get used to the pace and requirements of sleeping and waking up in different places, rest everything comes together.

As a parent of a young daughter, I made lot of journeys ranging from 2 days - 01/more months to varied places in the country. Once I was travelling with my 08 months old daughter from New Delhi to Coimbatore. While it was freezing cold in the capital city, it was raining cats and dogs in Southern India. So I had to ensure not only good health but adaptability to the food, extra clothes and the languages in the different cities. I did succeed in making the stay comfortable for my daughter as well as myself, only because of a definite plan made and followed before undertaking the journey.

I thought of sharing the same tips with all the globetrotters who have now become parents and keep themselves away from travelling because of their kids.

    1.       Plan the location according to the kids. Going to a long bike expedition or climbing Mount Everest with a toddler would definitely be the wrong plan to begin with. Make a travel plan for the vacation to suit your kids and spouse. A 06 months baby may need frequent feeding/nap breaks which would ruin your jungle safari or night camping plan. So plan a place for your vacation /holiday in such a way that it does not clash with the kid’s basic requirements.

     2.      Keep the pace slow. With young kids, babies and toddlers it is better to keep the pace slow. Do not be in a hurry to view both the sunset and/or the sunrise on the same day. Keep the day’s commitments as comfortable as possible. Try to cover one destination in a day. 

    3.      Include places of kids’ interests. While you roam around the historical monuments, religious shrines, museums or shopping plazas, try to include places which would interest the kids such as local wildlife/bird sanctuaries, caves, bridges, rock gardens or water parks. Let them decide how or what they want to see in these places.

     4.      Prepare them for the travel. Tell the kids in advance about the places you are going to visit and what they will find in these places. This way, they will be eager to visit the place. Also keep some information secret so that their curiosity is alive. Encourage them to read and learn more about the places you are going to visit.

    5.      Keep a stock of food at all times. Since outside food may not always be palatable for all age groups of children, you must keep a stock of food with you at all times. Avoid skipping/merging meals while you travel. Eat healthy and freshly cooked food as far as possible. Also, go for the local food items instead of eating junk food or tinned food. The easiest food items would be boiled potatoes/eggs, soups/shorbas/stew or steamed rice/noodles/corn.   

     6.      Keep yourself hydrated. Many times children forget to drink water as they are too excited to miss even a single site/scene while they are travelling. It is essential to stay hydrated if you want to avoid them falling sick. Similarly, according to the weather and climate, use appropriate clothing and creams.

You can keep adding on to these tips after every travel experience. Never put a stop to travelling around the globe. Most of the times, travelling by road in your own vehicle or a hired one is the preferred way of travel for many globetrotters with kids. Driving with the kids has its own advantages and disadvantages. Nevertheless it is always an enriching experience. Children learn a lot through observation as well as by doing things themselves. And, travelling is one of the best ways to let them learn about the world outside their textbooks and classrooms.

Hope you all have Happy times Driving Miss Daisy!!