Many a times we travel long distances with infants and kids. The journey becomes a total mess and hectic if the first time mom is also a first time traveler. There are many things one needs to keep in mind while travelling with kids and infants. Even if we have an elderly person or caretaker for help, there are certain pre requisites one should keep in mind and arrange for before planning to travel.
Recently, we have shifted to Goa, the beautiful place well known for sand, shells and beaches. I am a mom of two boys of 7 and 4 years respectively. My hubby used to sail for merchant vessels and I got the opportunity to sail along with him to different places in India and abroad.
As a result I gained lot of experience in the travelling field that too with most naughty kids. And every time I travelled my experiences taught me a lesson and of course that happens with everyone else and we are left thinking oh! wish someone has told us earlier about it. No issues, here I am presenting tried and tested tips to travel with kids.
Travelling long distances by road or railways
Me and my kids love travel. At least when it comes to going back home for vacations, it becomes really exciting for us to do the packing. Yes, besides all the gifts you would like to carry for your friends and family, please do not forget to:
Carry two hand towels, even though we get them on trains.
Pack your luggage in a way where you can easily take out things which might be necessary on the way from one bag only. Other stuff you can keep locked.
An extra clothing set for your kid and two extra sets for your infant baby is a must.
Also pay attention to how they are dressed up during travelling. I have seen moms struggling with kids putting on and off their jeans. You need to understand they are travelling. You don't need to show off your style on a bus or train. A casual capris /Bermuda/ half pant would do. No shoes please. Clogs or floaters serve your purpose better.
Do not allow your kids walk bare foot on trains. It is so unhygienic.
To keep your kids busy, carry activity books/coloring books/ story books for them. The pocket Ludo/snakes and ladders are good for all ages.
Avoid giving your mobiles to them and engaging them on temple run or subway surfers. Its doing more harm than good.
Try to listen to them. Be a child with them for those few hours. Look out for wind mills, boats, yellow houses, palm trees or anything and count. Be busy with them. It will bring you closer. They are not travelling alone. You are with them.
You easily get food on train or on stations and stops. Believe me, I never thought I would like to carry my own food and eat ever before I started travelling often on trains and buses and that too with my champs.
I prefer carrying fruits, cheese, cucumber, tomatoes , bread, salt, pepper, cup noodles, cakes etc. We had a great picnic like time on train this time making sandwiches and noodles. Yes, we had to pay every time we brought boiling water for the noodles. But, it is worth it than to compromise with health of your kids allowing them to eat all those vadas, bhajias, nuggets fried no one knows how and in what.
You can rely on cool flavoured milk for your child if you prefer. Juices and biscuits are good.
If you are travelling alone with kids, make sure you don't leave them alone ever. Even at night when they are sleeping and you need to go for loo, hold on till you think the train is running fast enough that it wont stop within next 10 minutes.
Keep all your valuables under safe custody, preferably in your own hand bag.
Do not let your kids open and reopen your bag.
Do not make friends with strangers. All men/women travelling in the same coach who introduce them to you there and then are as much strangers. Talking is okay but a complete no for letting them bring something to eat for your children, or allowing your cranky child to stand on the door or move out on a platform to feel better.
It is better to play safe than to be sorry.
Carry a sanitizer and use every time the kids demand something to eat.
Help your kids to fall asleep.
Carry more diapers than you think would be necessary during the travel. Emergencies never tell before occurring.
Always carry syrups prescribed by your pediatrician for cough, cold, fever and diarrhea.
As far as packing is concerned, the priniciple applied in air travel works well. They allow 8 to 10 Kgs of cabin baggage and the rest is check-in baggage which is not supposed to be available during travel. Following the same principle only one bag should be presumed to be available during train/bus travel also and packing should be done in such a manner that the rest of baggage is not required to be opened during the travel period. After being comfortable during journey, the kids can be explained about the various facets of the modes of transport being used for their own use in future e.g. they should be told as to how reservations can be done or how the train's emergency systems function. It is very important to train kids about the precautions which should be taken during journey like never to try to alight or board a running train/bus, eat food offered by strangers, never lose sight of the baggage and reach railway/bus station well in advance. The kids are always curious about knowing such things and keep quite also during such conversations.
After reading this article, i was recalling my memories as to how we tackled our problems with two kids in hand and travelled to South India on pilgrimage tour. My eldest son was three years and my daughter was just completing one year and naturally she was feeding on mother milk. But while traveling, we have to accept the local food which may not be liked by our family. When my son insists that he is fond of Puri, my daughter wants other thing. Being a small child we cannot take risk and give outside food and at the same time we have to satisfy our son who is matured enough to ask tasty food. And drinking water is the most problem. We cannot get pure water and adulterated one wont be suitable for the children. So buying bottled water every time was costly those days and my daughter wants hot water to drink. That was the hell of the time we experienced for whole 10 days when we returned back to Hyderabad. We then decided that only after children are grown up and if they learn to eat what ever food is available to them, we shall go for tour.
Feed your child well some hours before you travel, because eating food in the bus, train or plane easily causes vomiting. Usually sour substances, fruit juices etc easily cause vomiting.
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As far as packing is concerned, the priniciple applied in air travel works well. They allow 8 to 10 Kgs of cabin baggage and the rest is check-in baggage which is not supposed to be available during travel. Following the same principle only one bag should be presumed to be available during train/bus travel also and packing should be done in such a manner that the rest of baggage is not required to be opened during the travel period.
After being comfortable during journey, the kids can be explained about the various facets of the modes of transport being used for their own use in future e.g. they should be told as to how reservations can be done or how the train's emergency systems function. It is very important to train kids about the precautions which should be taken during journey like never to try to alight or board a running train/bus, eat food offered by strangers, never lose sight of the baggage and reach railway/bus station well in advance. The kids are always curious about knowing such things and keep quite also during such conversations.