Beat boredom: Take along plenty of games and toys which your child can play with in a bus, train, car or plane. Magnetic boards that double up as blackboards are great. So are small 4 to 6-piece puzzles. Crayons and felt-pens are great for do-anywhere, anytime activities. Remember to take along plenty of used-on-one-side-only paper for these travel artworks. Mail these to your friends and relatives instead of the usual picture postcards, and watch the fun.
Pack the pills: There’s nothing worse than kids falling sick on a trip and finding that you’re without the right medicine. So whether it’s syrups to ease colic or paracetamol to combat fever, have a handy bag full of medicines, bandages and anti-bacterial cremes. If you’re heading into an area like a wildlife sanctuary, keep plenty of insect repellant and ammonia solution to take the bite out of bee and insect stings.
Travel dampners: There probably isn’t a baby born, who didn’t spill, poop, throw up or drool on the road and off. Pack plenty of towels, tissues, extra clothes and wet-wipes to deal with unexpected spills, runny noses and unscheduled diaper leaks.
Ease those arms: It doesn’t take long for mom’s hip and dad’s back to start crying for a break when you’re lugging your child around on your “refreshing” journey. So, depending on the size of your child, take along a stroller, carrycot or baby backpack to ease up on travel exhaustion.
Play away the holiday: Travelling is a great time to introduce children to songs, spot-games and all the things they’re supposed to learn in play school. You could play “stop” and “go” with traffic lights and introduce your child to colours. Or, sing along all the nursery rhymes you can lay your hands on. It is always a good idea to take a cassette player along, and an assorted collection of recorded songs, poems and stories. Older children love identifying passing cars or interesting animals.
It’s a picnic: Chances are that the moment you’re a few minutes into your journey, one of the children will suddenly discover that she’s feeling munchy. Even more likely is that, once the food is out, many more hungry souls will suddenly surface, and that could include you!! So pack plenty of food, for everyone. Rolls of puris and paranthas, folded dosas with chutney, dry snacks and fruits and hot tea from roadside dhabas are unmatched if you’re on the road in India. Of course, you could take along chips, chocolates and cola cans, but, oh, what a waste of an opportunity to make your holiday into a memorable food trip as well.