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Bitten by wanderlust and need to travel with a young child? Here’s what you can do to travel in comfort and get to see and do things you want to.
“We all deserve a little wanderlust” — Anonymous
Yes, we all deserve wanderlust. Don’t let your apprehensions hold you back. On that note, I would want to share our learnings on the best ways to travel, that we have gathered in our last 3 months of travel. I have tried to touch upon every aspect that I feel would go a long way in making every small difference to your travel experience. Hope this post helps you to not only plan better but also enjoy your future travels in a far enriching and fulfilling way.
“He who would travel happily must travel light.”– Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Stop hoarding things
I have deduced that our habit of hoarding things is the mother of all problems. Kill the impulse. Ask yourself if you have an alternative solution to the problem that you are attempting to solve by having one more thing to call your own. More often than not, you will find your answers in the affirmative. You would also save a lot along the way which you can use for your travels. When you have less, you need less and of course, you carry less.
Our moment of truth – When we moved from Mumbai to Konstanz, we were forced to pack our lives from the comforts of a 1BHK into 3 suitcases, and settle in a hotel room. And strangely enough 2 of the suitcases still lie untouched. We are doing just fine with this minimalistic way of living. Our life is much simpler, clutter-free and stress-free. Things that we had hoarded in our house in Mumbai are never missed.
Stop carrying everything everywhere
Kill the urge. Ask yourself if you really need that extra pair of shoes, or jacket, or a handbag or beauty products. We traveled to Italy with only one carry-on sized backpack per traveler and one baby stroller, for a 12 days trip.
How did we pack light?
We chose clothes with wearability, put our winter wears on while traveling to save space, never carried any toiletries, carried baby essentials which lasted for 2-3 days, and bought the rest on the go. We deliberately stopped ourselves from carrying those extras which we would have loved to flaunt and click cool photographs with. It’s a choice we made at each step so that our trips became easier, lighter and fun.
Display of local art outside a shop at Positano. I did kill the impulse to buy to make one my own. Instead, I captured a memory.
“You don’t have to go fast. You just have to go” — Anonymous
Slow down. Take a deep breath. More travel doesn’t mean better travel. An aspirational travel bucket list, limited leaves, and finances can trap you in an ambitious, unrealistic, exhaustive travel itinerary. Being ambitious in all walks of life does rub onto our travel plans as well. Be cautious of this.
There would be several places in the world, where you may go only once. Travel to soak up the beauty of the place that you are stepping into even if that costs spending your entire vacation in savoring it.
Travelling slow gave us a far higher sense of fulfillment because we had the space to take back something from each place that we went to. We could completely immerse ourselves in. Since I am back from my trip to Italy, I have spent several hours reading and exploring more about the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican City, and Michaelangelo’s life. The sheer artistic beauty of these places and the passion which has gone into building them keeps intriguing me to date. And the places we had to rush through due to lack of mindful planning – Eg. Amalfi coast, we would want to go again and stay at least for few days to get past the eternal high that the place gives you.
Listen to your heart. Trust the instincts of your foot. Let yourself get lost in the moment.
Our moment of truth
We had planned to cover Paris, Brussels, and Luxemburg within 7 days, being so ignorant of the fact that we wouldn’t do justice to having spent even as much time in each city. But we were lucky enough to not have our hotel bookings in the other 2 cities and we stayed back in Paris for the complete vacation.
Stay in proximity to main attractions
Stay closer to the city centers so that you travel less and see more, experience more.
We stayed just 5 min away from this famous centre at Florence which has 5 monuments closer to each other. This is Brunelleschi dome.
Explore on Foot
Travel on foot to places wherever its possible. It’s best to see the city as it is and not just through the lens of a tourist. Be ready to be surprised more than once with what you see along your way.
We chose to cover almost the entire city of Rome on foot instead of taking the hop on and off bus services. We pleasantly surprised ourselves to have made that decision. Every street, every corner, every building in that city left us in awe.
The joy of being carried by dad while he is on foot discovering the ruins of Pompei.
Invest in a good camera
Who doesn’t like to relive good memories? Good quality pictures and videos can just make it merrier. It need not be a high-end DSLR. Life is good with OnePlus 5 as well. For all you who love the pictures on my blog – All of them are shot on OnePlus 5 till now.
Invest in physical and audio guides
If you really want to make your visit to a place worthwhile, read about it before you visit or at best do take the audio or physical guide. You will always thank me for this one.
We wouldn’t have understood anything about this great ” Must Visit” historic place at Rome- The Colosseum had we not invested in a tour guide.
“Travel is never a matter of money, but of courage” – Paul Coelho
Buy tickets when cheap
Use the Skyscanner app or the Secret Flying website to find out the cheapest air tickets. Always browse in incognito mode, so that the travel agencies don’t overcharge you on the basis of your search history. All our traveled destinations in the last 3 months were chosen based on our luck in being able to book the cheapest flights from these websites. They are a blessing in disguise to all the digital nomads.
Travel during the off season
Book well in advance to get the best hostels and BnBs at cheaper rates during off seasons. BnBs are the best bet for parents traveling with kids. You get a kitchen and relatively larger spaces to unwind. Booking.com and Trip advisor are our go to places for booking hotels and their reviews. We do read the worst reviews of the best-rated places as well just to make sure that it’s good to stay along with a baby.
Get rid of costs attached to self-indulgences
Spending money on luxury shopping, beauty services, and products, eating out in spite of having an option to cook, watching movies in theatres, really digs a big hole in our pockets, which we rarely acknowledge. I am a movie buff and have always loved watching my favourite movies in the theatre with a bucket full of caramel popcorn, yet when I look back, I feel I could have put those extra hours of travelling to and fro to the nearest theatre and money that I spend impulse buying and eating pre or post the movie into something more productive. Maybe I could have saved that for my travel.
“I Read. I travel. I become.” – Derek Walcott
Travel is the most incredible way of bonding with your little one while you are on the go. And Is there a better way of education, than reading a book or traveling to a destination? Travel awakens all your senses. It creates an alternate world where you can meet different people, stay at new places and try some tasty dishes. Do take your baby along in all your expeditions and adventures. Plan your trip to places which are kid-friendly. Don’t forget you are creating these beautiful memories of their childhood for them to cherish for life.
You seldom need to have a common language to bond or enjoy each other’s company
“I don’t want to earn a living. I want to live” – Oscar Wilde.
Get connected with your favourite ‘someone’ who travels
A travel photographer or a travel blogger/Vlogger on a channel of your choice- Follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube or subscribe to their blogs. Life will begin to change for good. This is how I caught the travel bug.
I have found my travel inspiration in everything that I see and long to see more and long enough. Painting at Uffizi Gallery, Florence
Learning to travel better to experience more is a process in itself and not a goal. We are constantly looking out for more ways to make this process endearing and rewarding. If you have more tips please do share.
Images source: Tanushree Desai
Header image source: pixabay
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I’m Tanushree, A 24*7 Mum To A 22 Months Old Toddler, A Digital
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