Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Travelling with infants and toddlers

I love travelling, and a very major part of that is because of the wanderlust gene we inherited from my dad. He has been an extensive traveller, and as a family we have always endevoured to create indelible family memories, wether it is our van turning over on the way to nahaan, or the partridge cooked on an open fire ( the best bird meat I have ever tasted) or the tree house we later played in Nahaan. 
ofcourse we were old enough to be able to make those memories. 
But what about travel when we were younger? 
when we were babies and toddlers?
Mom reminisces about travelling with her sisters , and carrying me inside a 'PP bag' a bag with P's drawn on it. She has vivid memories of travelling with my brother and me alone from India to London, and both of us toddling our way in the heathrow airport. 
And while neither of us have any memories of the bus journey to aurangabad, or our first international flight , but the memories are absolutely special for my parents, and this is all I have to say; travel with your kids when they are young, they may not remember it, but I guarantee you will have an adventure of a lifetime. 
Travelling with a baby is a herculean task, filled with unknowns and unpredictables, and with Murphy always trying to undo your best laid plans, travelling with a kid is never boring, and here three women who have travelled and lived to tell the tale, tell the tale in their own words.

Shivani Handa Yereddi

Since Siddharth & I both love traveling, that is the only way of life that Shaurya is familiar with. 
In fact we celebrated his 50th flight recently :) 

The greatest gift my parents gave me was the gift of travel and for that I will always be indebted to them. Travel provides an education far richer than any book.  

People tell me oh but he won't remember anything what's the point? The point is, I love traveling. I need it. I find in it a joy which very few material things can give and that's what I want to share with my son. 

A lot of people often ask me, but isn't it tough with a toddler? It takes a little bit of planning but it's quite manageable. 

Shaurya, there's so much to see, to love & to appreciate in this world. 
"Oh, the places you'll go!"

Three things to always keep in mind when traveling with toddlers, snacks, toys and a medicine kit :)
He eats pretty much everything we do, other than spicy food. Loved the Japanese ramen and the coorgi chicken.
I think my most memorable experience has been the Japan Disney world. I wanted one day of the trip to be just for him, and he had such a ball seeing the Disney floats, going on the Dumbo ride and also made a friend in Mickey.
The worst experience is when airports you're traveling from don't have childcare rooms especially when you need to breastfeed your baby.
Ok I have a specific worst experience. I traveled with Shaurya to Bombay when he was 3 months old for my sister's wedding shopping.
I was shocked that most of the malls didn't have child care rooms. Especially a place like High street Phoenix mall. As a result I kept shuffling between the car parking and the stores all day long just so I could feed him and change his diaper. An absolute nightmare. Hopefully now more than 2 years later, more and more places are realising the need for a child care room.

bags packed and ready to go!

globe trotting toddler

Going places

Rachna Mone

Travelling with an infant! yes...it can totally b done! We both love to travel, and our little one has travelled to two international destinations before turning 1. we travelled extensively during my pregnancy as well, and even undertook a major road trip, life changes post delivery, but this was one aspect which we are happy to continue with our little one.
* imp to choose a place that is either good weather for being outdoors and still resting in the stroller through the day or a resort that allows the entire family short (or lengthy) naps when needed.
* the biggest stress is food for ur baby right? less than 6 months old and breast fed then its a breeze (check out public breast feeding policy of the destination country and remember to carry an appropriate cover up to make urself confident and comfortable). started solids - baby food makers available online that aid boiling and blending are great! baby cereals r also great/instant option...and banana is the safest yummiest on the go food always! parents can opt for an all inclusive package which may be even more relaxing😉.
* its sensible to make a small kit of things to be used for ur baby on flight that can b retrieved from ur hand luggage and b handy during the flight,specialy take off and landing. kit- water sipper/milk/formula,2 diapers,small pack of wipes,small shawl and jacket,fresh romper, fav small toy.
*packing tips - pack 3 rompers a day,swimming nappies,sunscreen (banana boar 50spf water resistant sunscreen is total value for money ,does a superb job),squeeze toys(for bathtub and beach fun),essential medicines (paracetamol,sinarest, nasoclear,thermometer,bandaids,savalon,ors,cotton), floating tube,swimwear, winterwear/thermal wear .
my packing essentials for anaaya: 
regular and swimming diapers .
few squeezy toys and a couple of small books.
wet wipes and hand sanitizer.
spoons and lightweight covered bowls.
toothbrush and paste.
some plastic/disposable bags.
homemade snacks.
car seat.
worst experience while travelling- Delhi airport had a terribly unequipped baby care room with no furniture to sit, or no nappy changing mat/table/surface. the wash had no soap..as i was travelling wth a 6 month old alone it was v challenging.
so many memorable experiences!!! 
from her first speed boat ride to holding a starfish! feeding a giraffe to seeing dolphins! first christmas to first bday!!! its fun to travel with her....

(sorry for the mobile short hand language, but it's all that I can manage with a very active 14 month old) 

Karuna Sud
I always love to travel  and explore. Lucky to have found a partner who enjoys it as much and now with a baby its more hard work to travel but we won’t give it up anyhow!
I have observed that most parents get super hyper when it comes to travelling with babies and kids especially on international flight! If you plan it well, then it can really be managed and you no longer have to wait for them to grow up before you can continue exploring your passion for travel.
Baby on Board – Firstly check the flight details and check their website on allowance for baby luggage. Ideally you will be paying less for babies under 2. Most international flight allow easy to fold strollers. But do read up about your destination and if its stroller friendly? Else you will be carrying a useless piece of equipment. Next – Ensure it’s tagged correctly! Ours went missing in a connecting flight!
 Keep the Meds handy – Now with a baby ensure you carry a copy of his / her vaccination card plus any other test reports you may think is needful. Have all your OTC medicines ready especially common cold cough and fever. I prefer to make list of medicines and prescribed dosage after consulting with out pediatrician. this should be in your baby bag and always in your reach.
Check for the kids play area – Long flight at odd hours cannot always be avoided during international travel. Our Flight to KL was at 12 am. So to keep K busy we found a small yet super awesome play area at the Delhi International Airport. She had not yet started walking independently then but she was very enthusiastic to walk holding my hand or with support and enjoy all the rides! She crawled all over the place and it helped to tire her down! No points guessing that she slept through the 6 hours flight!
More than real toys, mine is happier with stickers, tapes or just random catalogues on flights as she loves books. Keep small yet simple toys and hand them over one at a time only to keep it exciting. If there is a favourtie toy, don’t forget to carry 2nd favourite for the return in case it’s lost.
We took our first International trip to Bintan Islands in Indonesia in August 2016 and Kenisha was then just 15 months old. Our journey was quite tiring – starting with a 6 hours flight from Delhi to Kuala Lumpur, connecting flight of 3 hours flight to Singapore and then immediately rush to catch a Ferry to Bintan Island straight from the airport. Door to Door, we were travelling for close to 20 hours! 
at the play area in the airport.

My two cents about travelling with baby; dont do it for the child, do it for yourself. The baby wil not remember anything, and yet will definitely learn about adjusting to different climates, and food and changing routines. Travel for all the reasons you always wanted to, and just let your child see you in an environment of relaxation, one where you are not making breakfast and dinner, or rushing to work, or worrying about picking up after baby, or making beds. 

travelling with a small baby or toddler needs planning, as well as an adventurous soul. to see the world through their eyes, while they stop and stare at things, we spent the wee hours of the morning staring at the crystals at the swarovski store when my son was 14 months, we made friends with people we would not have otherwise spoken to, children are the ultimate icebreaker, go to the same places where you went without kids, and notice the difference.


A heartfelt thankyou to the awesome moms who contributed, and the awesome dads who are equal participants in the joys of travellng with a kid. 

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