I’ve always loved travelling but ever since I became a mom the very thought of Â navigating the logistics of travelling with aÂ child is enough to put me off travel completely. The fear began to set in when IÂ started making a list of all the things I needed to pack for the pint sized human being! Despite the initial fear, I find myself nodding yes every time my husband (a man consumed by wanderlust) expresses a desire to take a vacation.
That is probably because before we had our daughter, my husband and I both agreed on the many benefits that travel can bring into our child’s life. Travel has been a dominant part of my growing up years and memories like taking a dip in the icy cold waters of river Ganga at Haridwar, theÂ long arduous trek to Yamnotri,Â listening to folk songs while travelling in state transport buses in Madhya Pradesh, the quaint hutmentsÂ while driving through the winding roads of Himachal Pradesh have all taught me more than any textbook.Â The experience of traveling with my family has enriched my life so much there was no doubt I wanted the same for my child.
The more I travel with my child, I realise how easy it gets every time. I see my three year old appreciating the outdoors, the experience of taking in new surroundings, and I get to see these places through the eyes of my little one. There are many myths about travelling with a child and here is how I deal with each one of them.
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1.What will a childÂ do at a wildlife sanctuary?
Parents often wonder if their child will truly enjoy a wildlife safari. Will they get restless and want to get off the canter-van during the 3 hour long safari rides? But we took our daughter and I was pleasantly surprised to see herÂ squealing in delight whenever she saw monkeys, peacocks and other birds!
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Â 2 . Kids will get bored on long road journeys.
The roadtrip across the state of Rajasthan proved this oneÂ wrong when I saw myÂ daughter enjoying the road journey just as much as I was. She would roll down the windows and peek out every now and then as itÂ was a first time she was seeing a desert landscape.
Â 3 . Trekking is out of question with aÂ toddler.
I thought of this while standing at the base of Sigiriya rock in Sri Lanka,(a world heritage site)Â and thinking aboutÂ climbing those 1200 steps to the summit, with my 2 year old. But we had not come so far to just go back without trying, so we started the climb playing counting games on the steps, took turns to hold the baby when she got tired, it took us longer than the others and we were tired at the end of it but the view from the top and the delight on her face made the whole experience worth it!
Â 4.You can not participate in an early morningÂ activityÂ with a small baby.
I was of the same opinion the night before we were scheduled to watch blue whales in the Indian Ocean. We had to wake up early. It was aÂ really long choppy ride, we had to leave the hotel by 04:30 AMÂ to be on time. But all I can distinctly remember from this experience is the sight of the amazing blue whales and my 2 year old shouting in excitement to see such a gigantic creatures diving jauntily in the deep blue sea.
Â 5. My child won’t like the food there.
Being a mom this is the first thing that I think of when travelling with kids. You will always find sufficient supply ofÂ Â homemade food in my travel bag, but to all the places that I’ve been to, domestic or international, food has never been a major issue and my daughter has always been able to find a favourite dish from the restaurant menu. I’ve been lucky so far!
6.When you have kids you need to visit a place that has a lot for them to do.
Contrary to this belief my husband is of the opinion that, we don’t need to createÂ ways to entertain our kids, weÂ just need to create time for them. My next trip is going to be in Kinnaur valley, an offbeat destination and Â I am told it is a place which has noÂ itinerary. So I am looking forward Â to spendingÂ quality time with my family in the midst of nature.
At times the husband and I feel weÂ should have done this a little later when the daughter was old enough to enjoy more. But when I look atÂ pictures from the previousÂ trip and notice our happy faces I know there wasÂ never a better time than this and I know travel is the best gift that we are givingÂ our child.
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