Vacations are here and most of us have our trips well in place – researched, planned, booked and ready to take off! It may have taken us a few months to get everything done and now we cannot wait to take the yearly break we are so looking forward to. Yet, there are so many of us who have not been able to plan as much, research as much or have even thought of going someplace out of town. With the school vacations well into its second week, children are engaged in activities where they learn a new skill, a new hobby and make more friends. However, it is still difficult to shrug off the feeling of taking time off to explore a new place, take the children out of their comfort zones and help them discover newer and unknown places. Is it possible without having planned much? Is it possible to take off in the last moment where resorts, hotels, and retreats are full and the airfare has skyrocketed?
Social Media, friend requests for last-minute vacation ideas or weekend getaways can be seen doing the rounds. So how does one look at places that can give one the comfort of enjoying a new destination? An unexplored place, which has a balance of touristy yet offbeat and interesting experiences, especially for kids.
People in Gurgaon and Delhi are lucky to be located close to many popular destinations. Choosing one may not be so difficult, but having a different experience is challenging.
I am the co-founder Unhotel and suggest that making one’s mind is the most important part of choosing the destination. Kids, being the core of vacations, the choice obviously moves to places that would excite and interest them. While families may want to give a luxury holiday to their kids, it is the joy of exploring newer aspects of holidays that really makes a difference. Nature, art camps, trekking, bird watching and most importantly a free flowing holiday is best suited for children. Exploration of a new culture, engagement with locals, understanding lifestyles of the place allows children to be open, observant and real thinkers.
The concept of boutique stays and home stays have become very popular in recent times. On a family holiday, every member has his/her own requirement and this customization becomes easier in boutique properties.
Some places which you can definitely explore….
Away from the very touristy places of Nainital, Bhimtal is a tourist friendly place. On first look, the place looks wonderful but the overcrowded tourist season could take the charm off the place. Look for places which are away from the main commercial center. You would definitely find some very nice and cozy cottages. Tucked away places offer a retreat to unwind as well as indulge in boat rides, paragliding, shopping in and around Nainital and Bhimtal. Nainital is just 45 mins drive and can be visited for a day trip. Don’t miss the café Sakleys and I Heart..Your kids would thank you for the delightful treat.
A jungle in the summers does not sound like a great idea but forests are much cooler than the mainland. You might be late for safaris but the forests and few nature lodges offer bespoke birding treks, walking safari and peek into the local lifestyle. Kids enjoy the meditative and natural setup of the forests. A dip in the serene Ramganga river is so much cooler than the chlorine infested swimming pools!!
An offbeat destination close to the very popular Mussourie, people fall in love with the way it sounds. Old cafes, nature trails, British Raj history are some cultural experiences that the children get. Landour is a hill town straight out of your dreams. Landour always stands in our mind for the town where the likes of Ruskin Bond, Stephen Alter, and Bill Aitken live. Landour has some nice hotels and private cottages. An easy trek, a visit to the local bookshop, the famous Chaar Dukaan and Landour Bakehouse. Time is spent amidst nature and exploring the cantonment town on your own. Surprisingly, the kids are always excited about the fact that they could do things on their own.
Dalhousie is a perfect hill station to spend a summer vacation. Located close to the Dhauladhar range, Dalhousie is nestled amidst snow clad mountains. Easy treks, local temples and a stroll in the woods sound lovely laid back vacation. Palampur, another sleepy town is close to Dalhousie. Pottery in Andretta really excites kids. Living with the locals broadens perspectives. Children are by nature amiable and friendly. Spending time with people from different cultures sensitizes them from childhood which today is a trait needed the most. Storytelling, pottery, nature walk, star gazing are some of the popular kid activities.
Young Ranger Program
When one looks at what interests kids, it has to be something that is unique and must pique their curiosity. The Young Ranger program is just one its kind. Led by Shilpi, the program aims to sensitize kids to our forests and ecology, a peek into the tribal life and local Gond art. Music, play, fun, treks are part of this unique program.
These are some of the many places that you can choose to holiday in especially in the last moment. It is a known fact that last moment itineraries and tariffs are higher but the benefits that come from traveling especially for children is priceless.