How to make road trips fun for kids??

 At Yumthang Valley, Sikkim

I am dedicating this blog to some of my very close friends who often question me, “How I travel with my kid for days together?” The matter is not that my friends don’t travel with their kids, but they mostly travel through cities and tourist places.

I am sharing some tips for everyone who wishes to do road trips with kids, but yet avoiding thinking if everything should work fine.

Some pass time during break at Lavasa, Maharashtra

How to make road trips fun for kids??
Road trips are adventurous but when you have children accompanying you, lots of planning should go in the trip. How to make road trip fun for the kids is an activity in itself. Nevertheless you take a short weekend trip or a long one, your itinerary and luggage should make feel the presence of your children. Including some planning and inculcating some habits can go a long way if you often travel with children.

I have been travelling with my 6 year old daughter since she was a toddler. The longest road trip taken was for 17 days at a stretch combing length and breadth of Karnataka. My daughter was merely 11 months then. In transit, I had to request  at the dhabas, hotel or the resorts we halted for food, to prepare the porridge for my daughter or let me prepare. Porridge was her main food then. The kind people always obliged and offered their kitchen on seeing the baby. Making porridge and asking for boiled water for making powdered milk made me visit the kitchens of many a hotels in the coming years.

                                             A break to pose at Tamhini Ghat, Maharashtra

Here are some of the tips that come handy while travelling with children- 

Where are we going?
The first question any kid will ask is “Where are we going”? Let the kids know where you are heading, what’s in store for them and what they should be expecting. Give them snippets on the place. Show them photographs of the place you are visiting. This creates a sense of curiosity among the kids. Highlight on the transport source and how much time you might take travelling. The major cities, airports, rail heads you will be covering. The idea is let there be some learning.

   At Gangtok, Sikkim

On my recent trip to Sikkim, my daughter who is a first grader now caught the fancy of memorizing Sikkim’s spelling and kept saying the entire journey S-I-K-K-I-M. She remembers Gangtok too as a part of Sikkim.

When travelling with children chalk out an itinerary which include something attractive and adventurous
for the children. Including a beach, zoo, amusement park, waterfall in the itinerary would certainly help. Children should be informed in advance of what they should be expecting from the trip. A sense of interest generates when children know where they are vacationing. Plan a composed holiday, not somewhere where you are on your toes every day. Explore places at a slow pace this offers the little ones to refresh for the further travel.

At Bulbulay Zoo- Gangtok

At Yashwantgad Beach,- Malvan, Maharashtra

Short breaks
A break to merely stretch helps in the long distances. Stopovers with packed lunch could be a joyful experience for the kids. Pulling the car beside a water body, a meadow, a waterfall or a shady tree and having packed lunch under open sky is a marvelous experience.

A break on the way to Lachen, Sikkim

Travel plays
I have inculcated in my daughter a habit to observe her surroundings while travelling. Often making her notice the hills and plateaus, city and village, hot or cold climate, fields and rivers and other interesting things. Yet, she often keeps observing the car's speedometer and tells me “Daddy is driving at 80, mummy. Ask him to drive slowly”.
Children can also be indulged in reading maps, reading road signs and milestones etc.

Checking on the rain clouds at Lonavala, Maharashtra

Plucking some flowers on the way to Satara, Maharashtra

Walking amidst paddy fields at Chiplun, Maharshtra

Plan and book in advance
When travelling with children, it’s a golden rule to make bookings in advance. Children are already tired of long travels and need to be at ease. Not to mention having their meals on time. An advance booking can save on time.

A local cuisine at Sikkim

Local Cuisines
Inspire children to have local cuisines. Pick the food they like. Be generous in treating them with cold drinks and ice creams as it is their vacation time. If your child is queasy with local cuisines, Maggi could make their day. I have travelled in remotest India in Ladakh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Sikkim, Maggi is available everywhere and it won’t let your kids go empty stomach.
Albeit, never compromise on carrying some dry food stuff thinking you might pick up something on the way. You might not be lucky for hours at stretch at remote locations. 

 Documenting the journey her way

Travel Journal
Inculcating a habit of maintaining diary helps and such habit should be started from small age. Recently during my last trip to Rajasthan with my daughter, I had handed her my spare digital camera. She went freak capturing places, people, animals and also a decorated auto rickshaw. These days many phones too have inbuilt cameras which the younger generation are too apt at using. Hand them your phone if they want to capture something interesting, they think. The more the children are involved the more they enjoy.

       In winter clothes at ZeroPoint, Sikkim

An umbrella for the September rains at Kas, Maharashtra.
Often city dwellers lead a perspiring season all round the year, especially Mumbaikers. The same doesn’t hold true when you leave the city. Take in to account the season and the climatic conditions of the place you are travelling to. Nevertheless couple of warm clothes (a jacket and pairs of socks) and beach wear for the children always come handy. T-shirts and trek pants are the most comfortable outfits while travelling. Indulge the children in doing their own packing yet, you supervise. Needless to say, the bag might just be loaded with their favorite toys.

Some music for the soul always helps. Do have your kids favorite songs stored and played while travelling. Carrying card games, dice games makes for an good environment when travelling in group. Some chitchatting, sharing jokes and information always serves better.

Often travelling to remote places leaves you un-accessible to facilities from the town. Pack your kids kitty of most used medicines. “Ajwain” works best for stomach ailments and should be kept handy, considering your kids are eating an altogether new cuisine.

A toddler at Kashid Beach, Maharashtra

Exposing your children to hard core travel at an early age might be a concern with most parents. But, Children take it well to fresh air than the city life. Yet, I believe, “the journey has to begin and the curiosity maintained”.

Tags - Travelling with kids, making travel easy for kids, tips for travelling with kids , road trips for kids , simple ways to travel with kids, travel tips for kids.

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