We spoke recently on this sense of inconvenience most Sri Lankans have when it comes to travelling. But it doesn’t stop there. If you have a child (or children), especially if they are toddlers or below the age of 12, this is seen as a doubly more inconvenient cause for concern.
It’s true that our local hospitality industry has a long way to go before they are acknowledged truly “child / family-friendly”. But until we get there (someday not too far in future we hope) there are ways in which you can travel with your family and actually have a good time and much deserved vacation.
One thing must be noted however, when travelling with family there will undoubtedly be a fair share of planning. Spontaneous trips will most likely happen less and if you are capable of pulling off one successfully, hats off to you.
To make things easy, we’ve identified three segments where we think would need a fair amount of attending to.
Of course you would need to know where you are planning on going. If there is a possibility, do call up your booking agent to find out where the hotel is located and more details on the amenities they have to offer. It’s important to actually to double check if that kids play area is actually functional or still under construction.
There is one thing you ought to remember for certain when taking kids on vacation: they need to be entertained or kept occupied.
Once the holiday destination is sorted, next you need to actually pack and prep for your journey. If your holiday destination is an hour’s drive away (Galle or Negombo for example if travelling from Colombo), there isn’t too much to worry about. However, if we are talking of a journey that is at least three plus hours on the road, then there is a certain amount of prep that should go into it.
Most of the following can be applicable to when you opt to travel in your personal vehicle. However, a few of these can also be applied when using public transport or group travel methods as well.
For starters, motion sickness. This can be common among most children and if you are quite certain that your little one is prone to motion sickness, speak to your family doctor and ask for some medication that would either put the little one to sleep or keep them from throwing up. While not everyone would be on board for doing this keep in mind that if your destination is somewhere in the hill capital, this journey comes with sharp turns and hairpin bends and motion sickness can only delay the journey and make it a long and uncomfortable ride for everybody.
Second, have some food and water that is ready to munch on. Children get hungry, a lot. Have something that they could nibble on while on the road so you wouldn’t need to stop for Milo and Gold Marie every time someone gets hungry. Adding to the same, be sure to that your children (and parents too!) have a solid meal a few hours before leaving, with the exception been early morning journeys.
Third, if your child isn’t motion sick, either play a film on a tab or laptop or get some books for them to read on the way. This would keep them distracted and they would eventually (and hopefully!) fall asleep. If they are motion sick, have some games that you could play inside the car without too much movement such as charades or taboo.
While on holiday
Bring your child’s favourite toys or books on holiday. Some children’s movies would also help. Most hotels have televisions with USB ports so be sure to make the most of it.
If your destination is by the beach, take some beach and pool toys that they could use as well while outside. This would also help you relax and unwind on this holiday and not having to constantly worry about what they are doing. This would also encourage them to befriend other children on holiday! (that other parents and guests would thank you for)
While at meals, also try to teach your children not to waste food! Even though buffets are for overeating, it’s important that as children they are also taught to be conscious of the wastage of food.
Once your vacation is over, chances are that your child would not want to come back from the holiday. Most likely you wouldn’t have wanted to either. If your child is old enough, you could even have an informal incentive system running based on good behaviour that entitles them to more vacations!
Remember that not all rules at home will always apply when you are on holiday. So let the kids wander a bit and you too would be granted a much deserved vacation.