Wind in your hair, feet propped up and vibing to everything between ‘Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana’ and ‘Khwabon Ke Parindey’ can perfectly sum up a road trip for millennials! With COVID-19 restrictions slowly being lifted in several places across the country, vacation plans have sprung like new leaves. Kids, especially, are keen on getting out of the house, away from online school and being confined to the house. And while road trips in your pre-parenthood might have consisted of last-minute plans, improvise as you go and reh lenge khule aasman ke neeche kahin, that can’t be the case once you have a child. So if you plan on listening to ‘Yunhi Kat Jaayega Safar’, it’s best to lay down a plan!
Whether you plan to travel by air, water, rail or road, a family trip that has minimal chaos (can’t guarantee zero chaos) needs some rules in place. Here’s your ultimate guide to have fun and be ready for anything and everything that comes your way when travelling with kids.
10 Key Tips That’ll Help You Plan A Fun Family Vacation
1. Choose A Kid-Friendly Destination
If you think a hiking trail in the middle of nowhere is what counts as a vacation, think again. And think again as a parent. A beach is a safe bet for kids. The sand and waves offer an unbeatable combination of fun elements for adults and kids alike. But the key thing to remember is what will generate excitement in your child? Do they like wildlife? Then a jungle safari can be an exciting time. Do they enjoy water sports? Then plan for a place that has plenty of adventure sports to offer.
2. Have It All Planned
An impromptu Ladakh trip on a bike with your buddies is nothing like a family trip. And neither is your bestie’s bachelorette in Goa. Right from choosing the holiday spot to what you will be doing to the logistics involved while travelling to and fro are just a few things you need to plan for. Pre-book as much as you can to avoid a mess. Remember to alter the itinerary to fit your child’s needs like potty breaks and hunger attacks. Also, while it might take you a couple of hours to sightsee a particular tourist attraction, kids take a lot longer.
3. Pack Smart
You may be able to survive on 3 pairs of briefs all week while on vacation, but your baby can’t. Just open up your child’s wardrobe and you will find it full of stuff. So does that mean you need to bring 10 bags? The answer is no, just pack smart. Create a list of essentials, choose versatile clothing items and leave room for last-minute add-ons. Also, don’t forget that you will need to carry your child’s bag and yours along with possibly carrying your kids, once they are tired.
4. Travel Wisely
Hopping on a plane across the continent or piling up in the car for a road trip? Kids get restless with long lay-overs and non-stop travel. So when booking a flight or setting up a travel schedule, pick what works best for your kid. And if you’re travelling by air, make sure to get to the airport well in advance. If your road trip is a long journey, then try choosing routes and options that will allow you to take those much-needed breaks.
5. Do A Food Check
Kids are fussy eaters. The best way to make sure you don’t end up with a hangry child is to research the food options beforehand. If your destination is an exotic island that is famous for delicious local cuisine, make sure you enquire about kid-friendly foods. French fries, mashed potatoes, chicken nuggets, fruits and cereal can work in a pinch so keep them handy or have the hotel pack your child a lunch bag.
6. Have A Conversation With Your Child
If your baby is old enough to have a conversation about the vacation, then do it. While some things are best left as surprises, others need to be discussed. If it’s going to be the first time your child takes a flight or the train, it’s best to explain to them the process, how it works, what to expect and key information that’s bound to make it safe and fun for them.
7. Keep Your Kids Engaged
Wherever you go, make sure that your kids are engaged. From an infant to a teenager, the moment kids get bored, they can be quite a handful. Carry with you games, books and toys that they love and will keep them happily occupied during long journeys. This also goes for the tourist attractions you plan on visiting. Keep the itinerary a mix of fun activities and sightseeing.
8. Get Child Discounts
Did you know that most hotels offer upgrades to families and that kid seats on most travel options cost a lot less? Just ask, whether it’s a flight or a hotel stay, always ask for child discounts and save on money that can be used for enjoying the trip. Several tickets for rides, attractions and sightseeing offer discounts for kids.
9. Prepare For The Worst
Be prepared for things to go wrong. There will be times when your efficient planning will go haywire. Your kid would want to go visit the washroom and you may end up missing the bus. There could be last-minute changes in the train or flight timings throwing your travel itinerary in a mess. So the solution is to keep an open mind and save you the stress.
10. Make The Most Of It
Chances are that, like most people, you haven’t had the opportunity to roam around freely with your loved ones. And family trips, especially with the little ones are something to be cherished. If you have a teenager, have them pick some spots they would like to visit. The goal is to make it fun for everyone.
Trips and vacations rarely go as planned, even more so when it’s with kids. But those memories are something you’ll cherish forever. Use this list of important dos and don’ts and you’ll be okay. Just remember that you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself!