Vacations are something that everyone looks forward to as it’s the perfect opportunity for the family to explore new places. But what usually stands out in a vacation that makes it memorable are the moments that we spend together as a family. After the birth of my son, I wanted to gift the new mother a relaxed vacation.
This vacation was sort of different compared to all the preceding ones as this was the first time we were travelling as a young family rather than as a couple. Yes, the presence of my son provided a whole new realm to the entire vacation right from the planning stages. Our usual vacation planning starts with identifying a new destination and then making a list of activities and places to see but this time it was very different. Every destination we shortlisted, we needed to ensure it was the best place for my son too as he was just 8 months old. Furthermore while selecting the hotel to stay, some of the criterions that we considered were the availability of baby food at the hotel, proximity of children hospitals nearby, weather amongst others.
Coming to the places that we planned to visit, this was again very tricky. Like other vacations, there was absolutely no way that we could pre-plan the places as a lot depended on how the son felt and revolved around his routine. Things that we needed to consider were his sleep patterns, comfortability in undertaking long drives and most importantly blending in crowded places. More than often, what we felt was that it was always better to move him from a place the moment he felt a slight discomfort as it was easy later to bring him back to normal. If shopping is in your mind, then the best time would be to pre-empt his sleep time and make the journey around it so that he is asleep when you reach the mall and one of the partners can look after the sleeping baby on the pram while the other can shop at ease and then take turns.
On the whole, our first vacation with him was challenging one that helped us prepare well for the subsequent trips. But the most important thing was that the trip was no longer about planned itineraries and frantic activities. It was all about understanding and bonding with the junior. If not for anything, the quality time that was spent in his company made our first trip a truly memorable one.
A quick pointer to those who are planning for your first family vacation together
1. Select a destination with a climate similar to home
2. Make sure your point of stay is central and has access to healthcare facilities
3. Understand your baby’s routine and plan sightseeing accordingly
4. Avoid crowded places
5. Rather than trying to visit many places, it would be better to visit few places where he/she would enjoy
"By Fazil Badrudeen - Cloudnine (Fazil lives in Chennai and is an avid blogger running his own food blog as a hobby)"