Thursday, 23 May 2013

How to have a memorable Vacation with infant/toddler/kids

Kids thrive on vacations. Give them sufficient rest, on time food and some fun things to all would be having the best vacation possible.

The days where one had to wait for kids to "grow up" to have vacation are long gone. Vacation with kids can be very enjoyable, only thing is - we need to be prepared. Research, research and do more research before travelling.

Things to consider:

1) Choosing a destination:

Roaming around ancient ruins or scuba diving vacations are very compelling, only thing is that it might be a tad difficult lugging your little one. Strollers are your best friends in a vacation, so choosing a stroller friendly city might be easier if you are travelling without a support system . Checkout for the best time of the year to go. You won't be caught in a stormy weather if you check this out as the first thing. If you are really scared travelling with an infant, choose some place familiar to you. That said most destinations are do able with kids with proper planning.

2) Choosing a hotel:

The hotel can make or break your vacation. Remember that unlike your child-less vacations, you are not going to be roaming around all day. Children need their rest and you will most likely spend more time in your hotel room than you would like to. So, research research research and find the most kid friendly hotel. and are the best bets. Always remember to check under the "family" category and read reviews of people who "traveled with young kids". Renting out a hotel in a location which is in the midst of all the action will be helpful. You could head to the hotel for a quick nap and continue your touring without too much of a travel.

3) Itinerary:
Include your kids in your sightseeing plans. The zoo in your destination might not be a "must-do", but it might become be the highlight of trip to your kid. If possible include a shopping mall or air-conditioned indoors in the itinerary for the afternoons. It will help kids doze off.

4) Support System:

If you get along ok with your parents or parents-inlaw or someone else consider inviting them along too. They could help you with babysitting while you and your spouse can take the much needed time alone.
Some hotels offer the baby sitting services, I am unable to comment on them as I have not tried it. Please do leave your thoughts in comments section below if you have a say on this.

5) Travel light

I have carried rice cookers for a couple of times but not anymore. Kids usually find couple of things that they might like in the local menu.
You are bound to buy souvenir T-shirts and local toys. So, just pack less clothes than necessary. And... now is the time to forget packing 'your' extra sandals. You are bound to carry your kid around, so traveling light will ease your burden ;)

Research before you book:

1) Find a hospital/doctor near your hotel - Just in case of emergency.

2) Check if the hotel has anything to occupy your kid (a slide, a pool or a TV with cartoon shows)

3) A hotel may be ultra scenic with its lotus ponds and water features, but is it safe for your child who will run wild ?

4) Are there any supermarkets/convenience stores nearby in case you need something urgently? When I  stayed in remote corners with sparse civilization, I did stock up well from the last shop I could find. Stock up items: your kids favorite fruits, biscuits and drinks.

5) What do the locals feed their infants and kids ? For example, I found that Indonesians feed burbur (rice porridge) to their kids and I was able to order it for my kids at the very first restaurant we ate there.
Look for Indian/south-indian restaurants nearby, in case kids dont eat the local food with enthusiasm.

Things to pack:

1) Stroller - preferably a old one which you could subject to rough use. Most likely this will be the place of afternoon naps for most of the days.
2) Little of - Light snacks, cup-o-noodles/maggi or other readymade food items incase your kid takes time to adapt to the food there.
3) If your kid is still on bottle - Travel Sterilizer or Sterilizing tablets (I get mine from mothercare)
4) Bottle cleaning solution, kids soap/liquid/cream
5) Ubiquitous Diapers, of course your vacations will become more normal if your kids are off diapers.
6) Medicine for cold/allergy and fever. Some pre-biotics and Electrolyte sachets. Be prepared, a young kid is bound to have an upset stomach in a new environment - part of the game!
7) Depending on the destination, mosquito patches or raincoats or sweaters etc

My experience:

My first vacation with my Kid number 1 was when she was 7 months old. We drove from Chennai to Banglore (a five hours journey)... but we took 7 hours (the number of diaper changes en route were a record break). I was breastfeeding her and so the car offered me the much needed privacy.
Highlight: We went to some unknown reservoir and water was gushing out like a huge falls. My kid loved it and this gave us a High!
Not-so-highlight: Everyone in my travelling party were having a great time in Banergetta zoo, while I was just sitting with a sleeping kid in my lap ... motherhood! phew!

My first vacation with my Kid number 2 was when he was 7 months old too. Its was an ambitious 10 day tour in Bali. By now I was a veteran in travelling with kids and all of us ended up loving Bali.(Inspires me to write a whole post just about it).
Hightlight: When the little one reacted very happily rolling about the bed in our destination - I believe he enjoyed our trip.
Not-so-highlight: When my elder kid got one of her wheezing episodes. We were well prepared though and handled it effectively.

I do know that most of my blog readers are avid travelers who travel with kids. Please do share your tips in the comments section below. I am sure it will help me in my next vacation :)


  1. Well written, Anu. As I live amidst wet weather , I've learnt to have an indoor itinerary and an outdoor one and juggle them as necessary.
    We usually visit a place of our interest first thing in the morning,when his energy levels are high, so that my son doesn't get cranky even if bored !! We take him to his place of interest after he gets bored/cranky so that his spirits rise :D

  2. Hello Anu! It's Vivian from Colorado USA who met you at the Asian Festival of Children's Content.
    I love your blog and this is a wonderful important right now here in the US where kids are just starting their summer vacations...I will share this if I may. :)

    Thank you so much for making me feel so welcome in Singapore...I am already thinking about how much I would enjoy coming back. The people at the festival were AMAZING...and you were definitely one of the most special ones. ;)

    1. Thanks a lot for your wonderful comment.. I would be very pleased if you could share this post... I enjoyed AFCC too and because of the networking I am joining SCBWI. I was very pleased to meet you and you are such a sweet and wonderful person - I think the whole world knows this!!!

    2. Thank you so much, Anu! I was just looking at the beautiful puzzle book you gave me...I love it.

      I will be sharing this link in a post on my blog today...I hope you get many new visitors. :)