Travelling to new destinations is what our family is most fond of; we try to make sure that we take at least 2 vacations in a year, more the merrier. After Nemit’s birth we have started linking vacations to special occasions, so we prefer travelling around our birthdays and anniversary dates. We have already taken this year’s 2 trips, Malaysia on Nemit’s 1st birthday and Maldives on our anniversary.
I was quite sure that we are already done with this year but surprisingly hubby started giving hints of planning another trip for my Birthday and who can say ‘NO’ to a vacation offer? Not me, for sure.
So, as many of you know that recently we made a trip to Kerala (India) with our 19-month-old boy to celebrate my Birthday, it was Nemit’s 6th trip and just like the other 5, it came out to be super fun as he had an amazing time at God’s own country and highlight of the trip was he had the company of his Nani and Dadi (Nemit’s grandmothers) to pamper him with all the care and love in the world.
I always take a lot of time planning our vacations just to make sure we have a smooth experience throughout. Since this vacation was 9 days long and included lots of travelling by road, ranging from hills to beaches, I had to make sure that Nemit stays happy and engaged in the car as that’s the most difficult part of travelling with a toddler, they simply refuse to stay seated for long.
From checking comfortable and child friendly hotels and resorts to arranging toys and activities to keep him happily busy I did all just to make sure we do not have a cranky child ruining the trip for everyone. Nobody likes to enjoy or relax when there is a crying baby hanging around. Now that we were 4 adults, I can say it was a plus for us as whenever he got bored with one face he would hop on to the other one.
Most of the times, it was Nani/Dadi he would go to, and Papa if he wants to take a nap or just to have some dude talk and Me if he wanted to do some Dudu business or simply when getting bored!
I want to share what actually worked for us during the whole trip. I prepared a bag of toys for Nemit and kept it with us wherever we went to, the beach, the restaurant, pool side, in the car, during the flight, almost everywhere. Made it as a separate bag to be taken along as cabin baggage.
This minion backpack was gifted to us by a dear friend on Nemit’s birth day; it has 2 compartments, front one with more space and back with little lesser space. So, I used the back one to keep books and at front I placed another small bag containing toys and few more things separately. You can check the images below to get an idea.
1. Picture Books – I bought these super light, small size bright lively books from a local market under 50 Rs each. The eye-catching illustrations help in fun way of learning. I kept-
- 1 animals book (as he like animals)
- 1 Vegetables book (as that was new to him)
You can keep any number of books you like as per your child’s liking. These 2 books were enough for us for 9 days and were the first ones to come out of the bag whenever there were no other activities to do, Nemit just loved these books; he now recognizes all the animals and vegetables from the book.
2. Colouring Book with 2 crayons – This book is quite light too with just 8 pages of simple shapes & objects and came under 50 Rs. I kept 2 different coloured crayons in case one gets broken or lost. Whenever Nemit used to get irritated, we would hand him this colouring book and he would happily scribble away his frustration.
3. Learning Colours Book – Now this one is my favourite, I like the illustrations and bright colours. Each page has a colour and 3 different objects of same colour so it was fun pointing at objects, naming them and linking them to the specific colour. This one I bought for 75 Rs.
Doodle with Pen & Stamps
Apart from these books I also kept a Doodle, everyone knows one can never go wrong with a doodle and kids can never get bored of using a pen. During the trip Nemit learned to draw a circle on his doodle and calls it a ball, Amazing, right! I got this one for 100 Rs, again from the same local market, there are many varieties available but for travelling I liked this one, quite sturdy and served our purpose too.
The last and the best thing which I kept in the back pocket was an-
This worked best for us at times when everything else failed. It’s a sound book with interesting activities & games and learning content. Use of screen media was on my mind while planning the trip as we can avoid mobiles, tablets and television at home but almost impossible to avoid during the long travels and that too when you have elders accompanying you. Just because we had this book to our rescue our use of digital devices was limited for Nemit.
This is a 10-page interactive entertainment and learning book, right side of the book has everything from alphabets, numbers, fruits, animals, vehicles and characters to literature, short stories and classic rhymes and is operated with underlying touch buttons. Left side is full of games and activities like matching and counting games, there is a writing pad too. I bought it for 500 Rs and trust me it is my best buy among sound toys till now.
Now coming to the front pocket, more space means we could take his toys along too, but as we all know kids get easily bored with old toys so I had to find some small and engaging new toys for Nemit.
These 3 toys were a saviour–
- Sliceable Vegetables
- Building block pipes
- Building blocks
I didn’t keep the whole box of these toys, just a few of each in a separate bag and would give one at a time to Nemit, these kept him busy during the times when he was full of energy but has limited space to move around, so he would put all his excess energy and imagination in working with these, building and breaking. All these were new to him as I hadn’t introduced any of these blocks and vegetables earlier so that was also a plus point to keep him interested and engaged for long.
Apart from these toys, I kept a small bowl and 2 spoons in the same compartment of the bag and gave them to him with some dry snacks to eat on his own, that also kept him engaged for a stretch. Mostly helped at the restaurant when he was clearly not hungry or not interested in eating the regular stuff and we were rushing to finish ours.
These toys and books are what I found apt for my boy as per his age, interests and liking. One thing I can assure all you parents is if the vacations are planned keeping the interests of our kids in mind then we can never go wrong, if our kids are happy we can enjoy even at the wackiest of places.
Few tips to make travelling, a fun family affair
1- Always try to be a part of your child’s play. If you hand over a book to the child, don’t expect him to go through the pages and enjoy on his own. He would appreciate your engagement.
2- Always try to relate items in the book to items in real, that will help him in understanding things better and could relate to real things.
3- For travelling purpose try to carry not too costly but new toys as these will generate more interest and low cost will fall light on your travelling budget.
4- Never leave your toddler unattended with toys as they may take up small parts in mouth like crayons or stamps of doodle or even the small plastic parts, that can result in choking hazard.
5- If possible, book flights and plan road journey around your little ones nap time.
6- Avoid using devices to keep your child busy, that will keep him engaged but will have only negative effects, also you will lose on your bonding time, rather save them for the worst scenarios.
7- If possible ditch your devices for a certain period during the trip while spending time with your child, messages and Facebook updates can wait.
8- Pack lots of snacks for kids, they love to munch on anywhere anytime especially while travelling, do keep check on the salt and sugar content as too much of anything is bad.
9- During long road journeys, take little breaks after every 1-2 hrs, let your kid move around a bit, change in environment helps a lot.
10- Lastly, what I always say, capture all the beautiful moments in your camera to preserve them forever.
Thanks for going through this post; I hope you found it good and helpful. Please do comment to share your views or any tips for improvement, would love to read your experience of travelling with a toddler too.
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