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How to plan a vacation for your kids
Sachin Lele
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May 15, 2007

Planning a vacation, but wondering how the kids will fit in? A vacation is a break from the daily grind, a stressbuster for most people. For kids, it is just another way in which they can have more fun.

Quite naturally, they will have different needs and expectations from a holiday. A quiet, relaxing weekend might exactly be their idea of fun.

You can, however, create a solution for your unique vacation needs. All it requires is a bit of planning and anticipation on your behalf. Also, keep reminding yourself that a vacation is a novel and overwhelming experience for your child and this factor can work well in your favour.

Here are a few tips on how you can manage the little ones better while on holiday:

Every vacation plan is family specific

Make sure your vacation plans fit your family's personality. Keep in mind the age and mindset of your kid/ kids before you set out on a holiday. Do not rush off to the holiday destination that your friend and his family visited recently -- what works for them might not work for you.

Try keeping in mind the current interests of your child while planning on which places to visit on the vacation. Old forts and light houses might not interest you, but might just make your child's vacation come alive.

Include something for everyone

Each person in the family has his/ her own expectations of the vacation. As information is so freely available now, they most likely will also have prioritised 'places to visit' or 'things to do' on their agenda.

Make sure you incorporate the top few entries on everyone's list. A lot of families divide time into what the adults prefer, what the kids prefer, and a significant chunk of family time.

Let the kids plan

Make your kids feel responsible. Involve them right from the start. Let them feel that they have a say in choosing the destination too.

Once that is done, make them responsible for gathering information via the Internet, or by simply talking to friends. Take into account their suggestions and keep them involved. Chances are, they will enjoy the vacation a lot more and not be as cranky.

Also, this added sense of responsibility might make them behave more maturely during the trip.

Get an itinerary in place

Do not leave much to the imagination before leaving town. Plan as many details as you can. For example, if you happen to be visiting a museum, know the working hours in advance. This will save a lot of needless travel and fatigue during the trip.

Kids have a lower tolerance when it comes to harsh climatic conditions and travelling, so keep this in mind while planning long days.

Getting them interested

The trick to a hassle-free vacation is to get the kids interested in the place. So while you are busy planning the travel itinerary, also engage them with stories about the places you are going to visit. Make it as vivid as possible.

You might also resort to movies or books related to the place, or simply use the Internet to get them familiar with the place. Another suggestion would be to prepare a meal at home similar to the local cuisine of the vacation destination. Simple things like these will ensure that the anticipation builds up favourably for your kids.

Travelling need not be a bore

Your child's vacation starts the moment you leave your home. Now, most of us might look at a train journey or a flight as a necessary evil. But these can be as enjoyable as the very destination for the child. Travelling is one-on-one time with them, and you can make the most of it.

Tell them a story, or simply carry toys or colouring books with you. Buy a few small toys and open a new one when your child is getting cranky.

The snacks are important

Trains and flights do not provide the kind of food children may enjoy. Besides, the intervals between meals might also not be favourable for the child. Always carry some snacks with you.

Granola bars, juices or yoghurt based drinks might be a good option. Try to stay off very sweet and salty food.

Keep children comfortable

Kids are a bundle of energy. Allow them to run around a bit before travelling. It will just help cool the nerves while in a flight or bus.

Also remember that your child needs to take more frequent bathroom breaks. Ensure that, before any journey, they empty their bladders. Generally, kids travel best with full tummies and empty bladders.

Travelling with friends

Taking a vacation with family friends is a good idea. This way you can alternate childcare responsibilites to ensure that each of you gets some time off for atleast one romantic evening out or dinner.

Besides, the presence of other kids and non-family members helps in keeping the kids occupied and better behaved.

Some necessities you MUST remember

~ Medication for fever, loose motions, acidity etc.

~ A first-aid box

~ Some Electral and Glucon-D

~ A local paediatrician's number

~ A wet-tissue box

~ Caps and sunglasses

~ Always carry mineral water

~ Comics or story books

Part I -- Save money on your vacation

Want to buy cheap airline tickets?

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