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Travelling with kids need not be a nightmare

travel Updated: Mar 02, 2012 11:50 IST
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My mother tells me that I was an atrocious kid. In the umpteen trips we made on the Chandigarh-Delhi Shatabdi train when as a baby I was in her lap and during flights when again I was seated on her lap, I unfailingly spilled her coffee, made a mess with the cookies and other eats. I also bawled, insisting on being lifted and getting her to stroll with me in the aisles of the train and plane. But, then I am also told that once we reached our destination, I was the perfect traveller. I walked, played, made friends, kept myself busy with the many board and ball games that she carried and generally was out of her hair, leaving her to enjoy her vacation.

While I would love to take credit for being a well behaved toddler, I know this had a lot to do with the planning she did and the instructions my dad gave me and my elder brother before bundling us up in our red Maruti Gypsy on our many holidays, most significant being impromptu long drives scouring the hills of Himachal and our favourite and most visited getaway, Kasauli.

Travelling with children, right from the time they are born till they are into their teenage years, and moreso infants and toddlers, puts special demands on the adults responsible for their well being. I spoke with some of my friends and their parents and guardians and based on their experiences, anecdotes and learnings, have culled out ten tips that can make any vacation safer and happier for the child and the parents.

    Advance planning: 'Lap' it up the right way: Plan for possible emergencies: Take all essential items for your child in carry-on luggage: Keep your child under control at all times: Ensure there is variety: Have a name and address card: Spell out safety norms and standards: Be open to change in plans: Have fun:

    The key purpose of any vacation with or without children is to have fun. So plan activities around that and be open to new experiences. Also, once the planning is done, let your hair down and enjoy. Getting into a state of perpetual worry and anxiety can be a kill joy. While you have to be cautious and vigilant, nothing should stop you from having a good time. Also, it might be possible that there would be things that only adults can do. In which case take turns with your partner to mind