These videos and articles focus on things that fuel my energy- global experiences, loved ones, and life learnings.
We did it! We went on our first international trip during COVID to Costa Rica. To summarize it in one word-- "exhilarating."
While countries have various restrictions (many are closed to travelers from the US)- I have to say that I felt extremely safe and a lot of precautions were taken, even more than I experience in my home city.
My perspective- As I have shared before, I think that everyone has to do what they feel is right for them based on personal values and lifestyle choices. Even though we went on this trip with concerns (which can be uncomfortable), it did not stop us from living our best lives and reconnecting us with something we love.
Lakshmi's Learnings: Here was our experience in Costa Rica-
I wish everyone appreciation, reflection, and joy. A time to remember those we lost and a time to treasure those we can hold. While “Thanksgiving” means different things to different people... I think we can all agree on these two “g’s”- “gratitude and giving back” as universal forms of love that we should do everyday!
Part of Travel Plus Them is just that- the two “g’s”. Being a global citizen is not just experiencing the world... it’s also sharing all that you can with others. Thanks to our friends who make this an annual tradition, we too were able to experience this while on vacation!
Shyla and Shriya packed an entire suitcase of clothes, toys, and books and donated to the local orphanage in Costa Rica. Due to COVID- we were unable to go inside and play. While my girls were saddened by the tears they heard, they were overjoyed by the hands the kids held out through the gate to hug them!
To protect the...
Question- How do kids remember all the family visits at such a young age... why not wait until they older so they remember all their relatives?
Lakshmi’s Learning- People (even my parents) say I am crazy for the nonstop travel and for taking my kids to India. They even advise me against it... saying to wait. Of course I rarely listen. And, you know what... it is ALWAYS worth it for time with family- near and far. The relationships that my children have built with their great grandmother, aunts, uncles, extended grandparents, cousins, and friends are absolutely priceless. The reason they remember all of them is because of the effort we, as parents, have invested in those relationships.
And for me family is everything so even through the stomach sickness we all just experienced, I do not regret one moment! We saw all the elders- which is very important to me. They may not be around the next time.
So- don’t wait to visit your loved ones wherever...
So, how many parents can relate to the “moments of madness”? What do you do?
Question- What do I do when my child has a tantrums in public on our vacation?
Lakshmi’s Learning- Many people asked me if my kids cry and scream? Of course there have been many tantrums over the years while we travel (and more at home too)! I don’t always have time to capture on video as I am trying to calm the children... but this time I did!
So the answer is not a one size fits all approach, but here is one approach I started more recently and it has worked.—— In this situation, I forgot my daughter’s stroller in our Air BnB home. Oops! Nothing I can do! The irony is that she has not used it for one year at home. But it was her “comfort” while traveling - even though she doesn’t sit in it most of the time....she still just wants it.
What did I do? —- One piece of advice- Remain calm!!! Even when she was screaming and on the floor-...
Question- I was asked by some of my followers to sum up Bali in one word. Is it worth visiting?
Lakshmi’s Learning- Answer is yes! But just one word is not possible- I say “Beautiful temples and people!” As for places of Worship- Bali has 20,000 puras (Hindu temples on every street)! It was amazing to see how Hinduism is practiced there. People from around the world come for this cultural experience. This is Gunung Kawi in Ubud- as you can see, three generations of Natarajan women climbed 350 steps each way to the temple in the river valley.
As for people- everyone we met was just so happy and helpful! Of course, nice people are everywhere... but when they are genuine, it holds a special place in your experience.
Thank you to IBali Tours for the amazing “Bali in a Day” private tour!
Question- How do we manage kids jet lag with a time zone difference? How long does it take?
Lakshmi’s Learning- We have done this many times during our travels which have included everything ranging from: -3 hours to +16 hours... and of course, made mistakes and learned along the way. Here is an “optimal” way... and we adults have to do it too. (We are in Australia now +16 hours from US eastern time zone)
The recommendation is simple- once you are in the new time zone- everyone stay on that new time zone! Even if everyone is exhausted and it’s 5pm- do not go to sleep. Stay up, walk around, do fun things, exhaust yourselves and the kids! IF everyone needs a little nap after lunch time- then fine (2-3 hours max). But do not make that 5 hours- then you will struggle with waking up in middle of the night (I learned this earlier this year while in Dubai- I too took a 5 hour afternoon nap with the kids and they were up in the middle of the night).
A throwback to Shriya’s first birthday.
We spent time in Barcelona with the Amruthur family and of course, the Natarajan parents! Family is awesome and it’s a blessing to travel together for birthdays.
Question: Can toddlers/kids enjoy “famous sights” such as monuments, places of worship, and museums?
Lakshmi’s Learning: Yes, they can! We found that monuments (e.g. structures like the Colosseum in Rome) and places of worship (churches, temples, mosques) are a hit.
From their perspective, these places are open areas to walk around versus paying attention to a tour. Trying to formally tour a museum (e.g. Louvre in Paris) requires more of an attention span. It’s definitely doable, but will feel rushed!
And when none of this works, I am sure the kids will find pigeons to chase and be very happy!
What are your favorite travel experiences with your family?
One of the questions I always receive from EVERYONE I speak to is... “How do you and the kids survive the flights - whether short or long?”
My Insights: Here is an introduction of a series of videos that I will share on how my kids prepare for their flights and do not act out on planes. They have been great (majority of the time) and I do consider them “experts”. They have been on hundreds of flights across the US and 5 continents! Longest flight to date was 20+ hours to Thailand.
You may wonder, how is this possible? Welcome to the airplane game which we have been playing for years!
So, who wants to learn more???
A throwback to our first international trip with a newborn!
At only 6 weeks old, our first daughter, Shyla visited the US and British Virgin Islands. I often receive questions from many parents on how we (and me alone) travel so frequently with our toddlers - what to pack, where to go, what medicines should we take, do we need a car seat, first class or economy, entertainment on the plane, managing jet jag, controlling tantrums, and the list goes on!
Guess what - you will be able to manage all of this and create these experiences for your family too!!! Stay tuned for insights to all these questions plus so much more!
Remember, traveling doesn’t stop when you have kids, it actually has a new beginning!!
Download this FREE CHECKLIST on guidelines for traveling with children on a plane during the pandemic.