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A perfect family holiday

8 mins. read

Published in the Sunday Navbharat Times on 30 June, 2024

Walking through the historic streets of Tbilisi, Georgia, I found myself atop a mountain, having taken the scenic route via cable car. Tourists from all corners of the globe were enjoying the panoramic views, and among them, I spotted a family who appeared to be Indian. In today's world, it’s hard to guess anyone’s origin with certainty, but the mother's voice caught my attention. She was gently admonishing her son, "Don't be grumpy! We can at least make an attempt to have a good holiday." The father added, "We should enjoy doing things together - at least you can try."
My heart went out to them. The boy looked disgruntled—perhaps the sun was too fierce, or he was missing his favorite digital games, or maybe he was just hungry. There could have been a million reasons for his mood, and he was dragging his feet behind his parents.
This encounter made me reflect on what makes a family holiday successful. Aren't holidays meant to be a break from routine, a time to explore new destinations and bond as a family? Yet, too often, parents decide on the destination without much input from their children. This dynamic is changing as kids become more aware of global destinations and develop their own preferences. Planning a family vacation is a challenging task that requires balancing everyone’s wishes to create a harmonious experience.
Perhaps the family in Tbilisi could have included a visit to the Mtatsminda Park, a nearby amusement park, to lift the boy's spirits. The park offers a fantastic café with the best cold coffees and local treats, all while providing a fabulous view of the city. Or they might have gone for a hike in the surrounding mountains. Many cities also offer bike rentals, making it easier to explore without tiring too quickly, but Tbilisi is best discovered on foot. Hydration and rest are key to keeping everyone in good spirits.
Before heading out on any vacation, it's crucial to set clear goals for the holiday that satisfies the whims and fancy of everyone in the family and choose a destination that aligns with those goals. When my daughter Sara and I were planning a trip, she was keen on visiting Spain, inspired perhaps by the movie "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara" or her passion for architecture. She wanted to experience everything from Spain’s culinary delights to its adventurous activities like paragliding, snorkeling, and cliff diving.To ensure we both enjoyed the trip, we decided to split our Spanish adventure into two separate trips. This way, we could explore Madrid, Barcelona, and the Costa Brava on one trip, and visit Andalusia and the Costa del Sol on another. I also managed to include a visit to La Roca, a designer outlet village, satisfying my desire for some holiday shopping. This compromise ensured we were both excited about our holiday plans and are now eagerly awaiting our trip.
It's important to involve everyone in the planning process within the constraints of your budget. Once, Annie, our HR head, asked me which hotel had the best pool for her son Aarav. For him, a true holiday meant hours spent splashing in the water, and he didn't care much about the destination as long as it had a great pool. Our customized holidays team at Veena World helped her find the perfect hotels with pools, allowing the parents to choose their preferred destinations.
Traveling with very young children is different. In some ways, it’s easier because they hardly have a say in the destination, but it’s crucial to keep them busy and well-fed to avoid crankiness. I remember my first trip with my daughter when she was just 11 months old, two decades ago, before GPS and smartphones. We planned meticulously and only carried essential medicines, knowing we could find basic foods like mashed potatoes, rice, and yogurt anywhere.

One of the best ways to keep kids entertained while traveling is through games. Portable board games, card games, and interactive apps can be lifesavers during long journeys. Classic games like "I Spy," "20 Questions," and "Scavenger Hunts" can be played anywhere and keep children engaged. Additionally, travel journals or sketchbooks can allow them to document their experiences creatively. For digital entertainment, loading up tablets or smartphones with educational apps and games ensures they are both entertained and learning something new. Keeping a variety of activities on hand can help mitigate boredom and keep everyone in good spirits throughout the trip.
Certain destinations, like Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia, are particularly well-suited for family holidays, offering a plethora of child-friendly attractions and parks. These destinations cater to the natural curiosity and energy of children, making them perfect for memorable family vacations.
In Thailand, for instance, children are naturally drawn to animals, making a visit to Safari World an unforgettable experience. This theme park offers exciting wildlife shows and safaris that captivate young minds. Similarly, theme parks such as Universal Studios, Disneyland, and Legoland are perennial favorites. These parks are designed to keep kids entertained for hours with their thrilling roller coasters, engaging rides, and immersive games.
What makes these parks even more magical is their ability to bring beloved movies to life. At Disney parks, you can step into the enchanting world of "Frozen," while Universal Studios offers the adrenaline-pumping Transformers ride. These experiences combine the magic of cinema with the excitement of amusement parks, creating an enchanting environment that delights children and adults alike.With such diverse and engaging attractions, these destinations ensure that every family member finds something to enjoy, making for a truly unforgettable holiday.
But its not just man made attractions or theme parks, introducing children to the wonders of nature can be both fun and educational, and incorporating soft adventure into your holidays is a fantastic way to achieve this. Activities like zip-lining, where kids can soar over mountains while safely harnessed, let them channel their inner Tarzan and foster a sense of adventure and confidence.
Rafting on mild rapids offers a thrilling yet safe introduction to the excitement of water sports, while activities like parasailing and banana boat rides provide exhilarating experiences on the water. Snorkeling is another excellent choice, allowing children to explore vibrant marine life up close and develop an appreciation for underwater ecosystems.
Even simpler activities, such as building sandcastles on the beach, can be incredibly engaging and enjoyable for kids. These adventures not only keep children entertained but also encourage them to appreciate and connect with the natural world around them, creating lasting memories and a love for outdoor exploration.
Some prefer having everything taken care of so they can relax and enjoy the holiday. This includes ensuring their kids have friends to play with and activities to engage in. Sandeep from our Pune office believes in Veena World’s family group tours for this reason. His daughter, Sai, always finds great friends on Veena World tours, making their holidays enjoyable and fulfilling. And the Veena world tour manager is the binding force that Keeps the tour enjoyable and fun for all with various games and activities for all generations.
In the end, a successful family holiday is about balancing everyone's desires, planning thoughtfully, and being flexible enough to adapt to the unexpected moments that make travel so enriching.

June 29, 2024


Sunila Patil
Sunila Patil

Sunila Patil, the founder and Chief Product Officer at Veena World, holds a master's degree in physiotherapy. She proudly served as India's first and only Aussie Specialist Ambassador, bringing her extensive expertise to the realm of travel. With a remarkable journey, she has explored all seven continents, including Antarctica, spanning over 80 countries. Here's sharing the best moments from her extensive travels. Through her insightful writing, she gives readers a fascinating look into her experiences.

More Blogs by Sunila Patil

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