Thursday, December 18, 2014

Travelling with kids!!!

I love children as long as they are accompanied by their parents. The moment they create a fuss, I can happily hand over them to their parents and breathe. As far as children are concerned, I believed, they are fussy, impatient, hyperactive, and problem creators and most importantly, they won't let us have any fun during travel. So, I had already decided not to pitch in my future children for any outings. I know, selfish and heartless, but deep inside I was trying to slip away from any additional responsibilities. 

After going through Club Mahindra's Teddy Travelogue, I wondered if Kids really have any stories to share. I had no “good” stories to share. I was all of the above mentioned!!! I gave a hard time for my parents and when I brushed through those old trip days I couldn't fathom what made my parents take me along. So, immediately I gave a call to my dad and asked him to narrate our travelogue. And after listening to him for an hour, patiently, I realized how much I enjoyed those trips just like my parents. I was stubborn and hard-to-adjust, but at the end, it filled our hearts with joy.

So here goes my dad's experience of travelling with a kid (Oh, that's me), who was very difficult to handle.

Dad and Mom always enjoyed travelling. But poverty did not let them tour frequently. There was a time when they visited Bangalore and had no money to come back home. Instead, they visited Davangere and borrowed some money and with that extra money in hand they went to Mantralaya before returning home. I know, crazy isn't it? Having less than hundred bucks in the account they travelled as much as they could. My dad's first trip with me was when I was one year old and he says he enjoyed every bit of it. However, I couldn't contribute much to their trip (positive and negative) having me in their arms was heaven for them. He tells me he was more than excited to hold me and roam around Bangalore. I was no easy kid. But they somehow managed by scheduling their sleep and food time table as per mine. 

The next trip along with me was when I was three and half years old. Goa!!! I don't even have vague memories of this trip, but some old photos back home still holds good, as proof for my naughty behaviour. When we were travelling from Manipal to Goa by bus, I started dancing on the song "Mumbai se aaya mera dost, dost ko Salam Karo" and to my parent's surprise I was all over the bus. Thankfully nobody complained, but danced along with me. When we reached Goa, everybody insisted my parents to visit their house with me. Can't believe I was a "hit" in the bus!!! My parents, however, were very much concerned and aware of the fact they were in a different state with a girl child who was already noted amongst the crowd (mostly men). Even today, when my dad narrates about this incident he laughs. 

One more trip where "I messed up" was in Subramanya. Subramanya is a holy place for Hindus and taking bath in the river before entering the temple is a custom. I was four years old (I remember this incident, but vaguely) and when my parents had gone to the river, my mother gave me her Bindi to hold. I don't know what got into me, I inserted the bindi inside my one nostril and inhaled it with all the force. When my mother asked for the bindi, it seems I showed my nose and told "it got stuck inside". My poor parents; they were scared and worried. My mother, intelligently, made me sneeze and hurray, the bindi had found its way out. Because of the glue, it had got stuck in my nasal cavity and saved it from entering my lungs.

There are many more such incidents which gave my parents a near heart attack, but my curiosities, my openness, my enthusiasm, my exploring nature, made every holiday and every memory so very special for them (or so they say). He says, my stupid questions like "what does that sign 'no smoking' mean" to "can we go back home now" everything holds a special place in his heart. He says, there have been times when they have ignored certain facts which due to my stupid questions, came into the picture. All thanks to me!!!

But there were difficult times too. I remember travelling to Mumbai and insisting on drinking Pepsi for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Only Pepsi and no food!!! At last my dad's patience broke and he said he would smash my head if I ever asked for Pepsi in life. I remember halting at toy stores and making a fuss about buying one. We didn't have enough money, but of course a kid won't understand the financial difficulties. 

So, I asked my father and mother-in-law about how to manage kids during travel, and these were the tips: 

1. During travel make sure kids get proper sleep and healthy food. The main problem of travelling with children is, they fall sick very quickly. So, it is our responsibility to make sure they stay healthy.

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2. For you looking at sunset might be fun, but not for kids. So, it is important to include activities of their choice. Let them build sand castle while you enjoy a beautiful sunset.

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3. It is very important to attend to kid's safety. You can avoid places which are not safe or make sure you are always with them. Sometimes, holding hands is not sufficient. You need to be alert and observant!!!

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4. Travel is also educational. So make sure, kids get the right kind of exposure and learn about the places than just visiting. Attending to their curiosities and answering their questions is very much important. 

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5. Travelling with other children will add more responsibility on your shoulders but your kids will enjoy the most with their age peers. So, next time plan to club with others and go on a trip. 

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6. Pay attention, don't leave them out of your sight, but never hold them back. Let them explore the place through their eyes and not yours. 

Kids on an adventure trip
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7. When you are travelling with children always make reservations. Be it travel, stay or sight seeing having a clear plan is required.

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8. Medicines are a must when you travel with kids and also, first aid kits.

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9. Encourage your kids to write a journal about their travel experiences and if possible, give them a camera so that they can click pictures and enjoy travel in their own way. If they are engaged, you can also get your own personal time.

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10. Travelling instills good moral values and helps in overall personality development. Boards like "do not pluck flowers", "Do not pelt stones at animals in zoo" gives them a better learning about the environment and they learn by watching and not just by our teachings. So, next time when you travel make sure your child learns right from wrong and evolves as a better person.  

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From their silly inquiries to random behaviours, kids bring out the best in our lives, not only travel. Having them on board will leave us with umpteen experiences to talk about. Some experiences may be bad, some may be worse, but every travel experience with kids, for sure, remain in our hearts as a beautiful memory. Memory filled with innocence, laughter and love!!!

This post is written as a part of IndiBlogger HappyHours in association with Club Mahindra - http://www.clubmahindra.com/teddytravelogues/