Tag Archives: escape

Sun Temples and Salt Lakes, Gujarat

Driving on the salt lake at Little Rann, Gujarat, India (Februar
Rajastan, the Golden Triangle, and the Taj Mahal are all well known tourist attractions in India. Even Kerala is attracting a following to its backwaters. But India has so much more to offer, that is just a little off the beaten track and attracts far less tourists.
Breathe in a bit of Gujarat
Gujarat is a state best known in India for its industrious people. The home of top Industrialist Ratan Tata (Tata enterprises) and Mukesh Ambani (Reliance Industries), Gujarat has commerce in its blood. It is also the home state of India’s Prime Minister – Narendra Modi. To change the perception that the state is only worthy of traveling there for work, a certain (very big) Bollywood star got paid an obscene amount of money to say the now famous and often repeated words “Breathe in a bit of Gujarat”.
But Gujarat does have more to offer than its industrialists and their money making ability. It is a place full of history, was the home of Gandhi (you can visit his ashram in Ahmedabad) and is worth considering adding onto a longer trip that includes neighboring Rajastan.
The wonders of Gujarat
Bordering onto Pakistan in the north, Rajastan and Madhya Pradesh in the East, Maharashtra (Mumbai) in the South, and the Arabian sea in the West, Gujarat has a variety of landscape, historical and architectural wonders to visit. I am going to focus on the area from Ahmedabad North, known as the Little Rann of Kutch and shown on Google Maps as the “Wild Ass Sanctuary”.
Salt Lakes and Temples

Much less famous than it’s big brother (the Rann of Kutch) my colleagues and even a friendly Gujarati who offered me advice for the visit, assumed we were off to the big brother, despite my protests to the contrary that we were going to Little Rann.

Little Rann lies about 100km from Ahmedabad, through new housing developments, crop fields, and cows. We passed goods trains, trucks and camels as we wound our way through the countryside towards the desert.

Our accommodation was a bit of a surprise. Nestled in the fields down a small road, the dusty entrance wasn’t promising, but a few steps further mud bungalows curled around green lawns. A veritable oasis in the middle of nowhere. While they unfortunately didn’t feed us Gujarati food for dinner, the rooms and lawns at Rann Riders were certainly inviting.

Visiting the salt lakes
From Rann Riders we climbed into jeeps to drive from Dasada to the salt lake and Wild Ass sanctuary of Little Rann.

Barry and Liam walking on the salt lake at Little Rann, Gujarat,

The driver stopped to point out migratory Cranes from Northern India and black winged ducks as we drove towards the flamingos on the drying up salt lake. Hundreds of them stood in the water, but as we tried to get a closer look the dried up mud gave way to slush and our feet got stuck. With a mud bath on our feet we headed off further in the jeep in search of the Wild Asses.

Flamingos on the salt lake at Little Rann, Gujarat, India (Febru

These beautiful white with black accented animals wandered in packs through the brush and sand looking for food. Wild antelope sheltered under a lone tree as the Asses ambled past.

Wild asses walking through the Wild Ass Sanctuary at Little Rann

Further along we came to the salt lakes where local men and women still till the salt by hand. Pulling rakes through the shallow water they spread out the salt to allow the sun to do the evaporation job, and collect up the salt into large sacks using minimal implements. Salt is one of the basic requirements for life, and its taxation and monopolization by the British led to the salt marches of Gandhi, one of the major resistances to British rule, which ultimately led to independence, starting right here in Gujarat.

Man harvesting salt on the salt lake at Little Rann, Gujarat, In

We drove back through traditional villages. Outside mud huts women washed clothes and waved in our direction. Children carried stones on a metal plate on their heads towards men building water lines. A boy on a bicycle tottered to a stop to let us past, his load on the back was too big for the strength of his legs, and he wobbled across the road in our dust as we left. This Gujarat seems a long way from it’s fame as one of India’s best developed states.

Modhera Sun Temple
50km away the Modhera Sun Temple is virtually unknown outside this corner of India. Even a colleague who used to work in this part of Gujarat hadn’t heard of it, or the nearby Patan Temple.

Dating from 1000 AD it features a geometrically carved tank from which worshipers can purify themselves for the worship of the Hindu sun god Surya.

Modhera Sun Temple, Gujarat, India (February 2013)

The temple itself is richly carved and there are also example of erotic art within the carving of the temple. At the time it was built it was seen as an act that brought about fertility and it was neither suppressed nor moralized. In fact it wasn’t until the British reign of Queen Victoria that such things became frowned upon and the long arm of the British empire had its effect in India as suggesting women should be covered, and erotic temple art frowned upon.  Take a look at the exterior walls of the main temple itself to find it.
Detailed carvings adorn the Modhera Sun Temple, Gujarat, India (
We didn’t manage to fit in a trip up to Patan, but the Jain temple of Patan and Rani ki Vav stepwell are both worth seeing if you can fit them into your trip.
Adalaj Stepwell
Heading back towards Ahmedabad, the Adalaj Stepwell in Gandhinagar was built in 1499. Intricately carved, and five stories in depth, it was built by a Muslim king to collect rain water and has long been a stopping off point for travelers to cool down and collect water on their travels. In a state known for its droughts, water collection and protection has long been held high in importance, as the intricate carving on this beautiful stepwell shows.
It is still visited by travelers, although this has now resulted in it being unceremoniously positioned next to a bus stop. Crowds of locals shelter from the heat amoungst the cool shade of the stepwell. Cooled from below by the water, it is a welcome respite from the heat. Behind the stepwell a small park shelters those enjoying a picnic or a game of cricket before traveling further.
Stepwell, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India (February 2013)
To get a little further taste of Gujarat, you can enjoy Big B telling you a little bit more about “Breathing in a bit of Gujarat”
Architecture of Gujarat – including Modhera Sun Temple

Rann of Kutch

Gir Lions

Somnath Sun Temple


Safe Travel for Women in India

Ambassador car on Raisina Hill, New Delhi, India (January 2013)
We lived for 2 years in India. To begin with I felt very safe. I didn’t mind traveling alone for work, I went up to the local mall in the evening, and I caught a taxi by myself on arrival in another city. But I got a lot of reactions from locals when I did that. My boss wanted me to SMS him on arrival at the airport and hotel when I traveled. Another colleague insisted on driving me to the airport himself. Women recounted their stories of “eve teasing” (sexual harassment) on buses throughout their teenage years, but still I felt safe.
I was under the illusion that because people were friendly and hospitable, because there was normally other people around, that I was safe. And try as they might, my colleagues couldn’t really convince me otherwise.
The first year went off incident free (well apart from that guy who liked staring at me rather than the road in Chennai, and the bunch of guys at the local mall who wouldn’t leave me alone, and the rickshaw drivers who looked like they were going to eat me with their eyes…)
But, ever since Nirbhaya (Jyoti Singh) was raped in a moving bus and dumped from it in Delhi (not far from our house) India has gotten its fair share of bad press for the safety of women. I have to admit, that Nirbhaya also altered my feeling of safety, and the way I conducted myself. Up until then I felt very safe, and was even a bit lax on my personal safety. After Nirbhaya I was very vigilant. After Nirbhaya I started listening to some of the advice I was given.
The succession of tourists who were raped while traveling, not just in Delhi but also in other parts of the country did not help. As a result the safety of women in particular has become a cause of concern for many people when considering a trip to India.
But it doesn’t need to be. Like traveling in any big city, it pays to take some precautions. Here are some tips, including ones we were given by locals, for traveling safely in India as a woman.
Taxi driving through Vasant Vihar, New Delhi, India (February 20
Get a local SIM card
Pre-paid local SIM cards are readily available at major airports. This not only means that you can more cost effectively call people in India, but you have an Indian number with which to book taxis. You can’t book with local cab companies without an Indian phone number, and this leaves you with less reputable cab companies and flagging down cars and rickshaws. If you get the attention I did in a cab, you can also pull out your phone and pretend to call someone waiting for you.
Take a reputable cab company
In major cities, Easy Cabs (+91-11-43434343) and Meru Cabs (+91-11-44224422) are a good choice, although the drivers will rarely speak very good English. You will need to get someone at your hotel (the doorman can normally do this for you) to tell them where you need to go, and give them directions on how to get there. Do expect that they will turn up a bit late (getting stuck in Delhi, Mumbai or Chennai traffic is a fact of life) so make sure you order them for half an hour earlier than you actually need them.
Or take a daily car rental
For daily car rentals, Swift has reliable drivers, and you can ask them for a driver who speaks English. (+91-11-48055555). Swift is not only available  in 17 cities of India. I used them in Delhi and Chennai, but I can’t guarantee English speaking drivers in all the other cities.
While the English of the drivers won’t be perfect, it was always good enough to be able to explain to them (in simple language) where we wanted to go, and when they should be back to pick us up. If you do take this option, then make sure you have a local SIM card, and take the number of the driver. They will go away while you have your lunch, and you will need to be able to call them to come back and get you.
An "auto" in Vasant Vihar, New Delhi, India (February 2012)
Take a photo of the number plate 
This is something I had never considered before moving to India, but it was advice that many people were very insistent on. In fact my boss insisted that I SMS him the number plate each time I was collected from the airport when I traveled. Taking the photograph means that he is aware that you are vigilant, and probably also that you know someone else to send it to. There is even an app for Indian Women’s safety that collects this up and tracks them. You are unlikely to use this as a tourist, but they will think you are using it.
Listen to your instincts, but don’t go overboard
If you feel uncomfortable in the car, then pull out your cellphone and make a call – even if it is only to the hotel you are traveling to – so that it appears that you know people and are being looked after. I was once in a car in Chennai and the driver had his rear view mirror trained on me. He spent more time looking at me than at the road. I started giving him instructions on how to drive, and called one of the guys where I was going to inform him that we were not far away so that the driver knew I was being expected. It was enough to get his eyes back on the road.
Driving down Raisina Hill, New Delhi, India (January 2013)
Don’t take a cab on your own at night
Unless you hire a multi-day driver from Swift and are confident in your driver, it is best to avoid traveling at night on your own. Get someone to drop you off at your hotel, accompany you to your hotel before traveling on to their own, or take dinner in your hotel. I created a lot of concern by driving myself in India, but I preferred to drive myself or use my own driver at night rather than take a cab. (I don’t recommend you drive yourself on a visit, the traffic is a real experience…)
If you are traveling from city to city, book a car to collect you
The craziest part of travel in India is often the rugby scrum for a rickshaw or taxi as you step out of the train station or the airport. You can save a lot of hassle by booking a car in advance to collect you – they will hold up a name board – and having a destination hotel for your city of arrival. This saves you getting caught by touts (who earn a commission on the hotel they take you to) and ending up with a driver you don’t feel comfortable with. Often the hotel will send a driver for you (for a fee) if you ask them to.
Take the ladies section
The Delhi Metro is rightly the pride of Delhi, but “eve teasing” (sexual harassment) as it is known in India is a little too prevalent. Avoid this by taking the ladies only carriage. Avoid the buses. The safety record of the green buses is appalling (they run over too many pedestrians) and you are unlikely to be helped if “eve teasing” starts on the buses. In Delhi, stick to the metro and taxis. In other cities, stick to taxis. They are anyway very cheap.
Take a sense of humour with you
Travel in India is an adventure, in so many senses of the word. So many things are not as you expect, and approaching it with a healthy sense of humour will get you through so many situations. Don’t mention that you are just visiting, fake being an expat, say “challo” if you want someone to go away, and enjoy the ride of wonderful, crazy, magical India!
I loved living there. I love visiting there still. I became more cautious about traveling on my own as a result of living in India and Jyoti Singh, but I wouldn’t avoid going out of concern. A lot of people will genuinely offer you help and hospitality too. India is a wonderful place with wonderfully warm people. Enjoy!
Two men on a bus, Nataraj temple, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India

Our favourite coffees of Singapore

cappucinos with latte art
Singapore is a such a stop over destination. On the way between Europe and the Pacific, transit hub between many Asian destinations, and an often visited business destination. What ever your reason for visiting (or living in) Singapore, a mini break to a great coffee bar is a nice way to Escape. 
Here are some of our favourite cafes of Singapore for a great cup of coffee. 
40 Hands (78 Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru ) was established in 2010 (and that is a long time in the hospitality industry), 40 hands was one of the original coffee bars that aimed to bring high quality coffee, or known origins to Singapore. Over this time, its presence has also turned Yong Siak Street in Tiong Bahru into a trendy street that is worthy of an afternoons stroll. Nearby “Books Actually” bookstore is also a great place to sift through the shelves for gifts or unusual books, such as the “Alter SG” guide to Singapore.
La Ristrettos (8th floor, Novena Medical Centre, enter from Novena Square – Square 2 shopping centre) has virtually become our local coffee shop. With coffee roasted on site, the owner really knows his coffee, and makes a great espresso. Located in a slightly strange location on the 8th floor of a medical building, it does share an outside courtyard where you can sit in a little oasis in the sun and enjoy your coffee or tea.
Dutch Coffee Colony (Pasarbella: 200 Turfclub Rd) imports beans from around the world, and uses a number of different types of coffee brewing methods to create delicious coffees. Located within the PasarBella Food Market, it goes from bean to cup to create smooth tasting coffees. You can buy different coffee brewing machines and their imported beans.
Chye Seng Huat Hardware (CSHH coffee bar, 150 Tyrwhitt Road) got its name from the hardware store that stood in this location before it turned into a high end coffee joint. From the same owners as Papa Palheta and Loysel’s Toy. This flagship store features a coffee roaster, an island coffee bar, a coffee school and a private coffee tasting room. It’s a convenient spot to stop for a good coffee when you’re exploring Little India.
Just Want Coffee (1 Everton Park) located in the ground floor of a renovated HDB (housing building), Just Want Coffee is a cosy little cafe to have a chat and watch the world go by. Brewing a nice cup of coffee or tea, it has a relaxed informal feeling to it and music to match. Just what we love in a local coffee shop. 
Just want coffee cafe at Everton Park Singapore
Common Man Coffee Roasters (22 Martin Rd) is the same owner as 40 hands, and you will see their coffee in many other cafes around Singapore. Including a café, coffee bar, and wholesale coffee roasting service, Common Man knows a thing or two about coffee, and it doesn’t brew a bad cup either.
Letoile Cafe (160 Owen rd) is a cute little cafe, with a chill out space on the second floor. A strange combination of Japanese and French influences, it (unlike the rest of this list) is actually a place to go for the food and the ambience rather than the coffee. It can’t compete with the other coffees on this list, but it is a great cafe to hang out in and escape the city. 
Jewel Cafe and Bar (129 Rangoon Rd) is located not far from Letoile Cafe in Farrer Park. With an extensive menu (including the delicious Red Mullet Fish salad), and an industrial feel, it is a great place near Little India for a coffee. It’s a bit on the expensive side though.

The Plain (50 Craig Rd) serving Genovese coffees, The Plain is a great place to sit down while you explore the Duxton Hill and Tanjong Pagar neighbourhood. The menu is not particularly inspiring, but it does do a great cup of coffee. It can be a bit hard to find but it is located next to the antique shop with the large yellow banner.

Stranger’s Reunion (35 Kampong Bahru Rd) was opened by Ryan Kieran Tan, Singapore National Barista Champion 2011 & 2012. In a row of beautiful shophouses and with an adjoining cafe serving waffles, it serves the top coffees you would expect of a Barista champion. It is not far from the Outram Park Metro station.
The Clueless Goat (189 Thomson Road, ) has become our new local. Recently opened in Novena, and across the road from the Novena Square Shopping Centre, the young owners brew a great cup of coffee that has us as repeat visitors. Its relaxed vibe and friendly staff is really refreshing. And our 6 year old son is a big fan of their waffles 🙂
Department of Caffeine (15 Duxton rd) has a great little location tucked away in Duxton Road. With an industrial feel to it, and a short walk from the shophouses of Duxton Hill, it is a great stop off location between Chinatown and Tanjong Pagar.
Department of Caffeine


Snorkeling Pulau Bunaken, Indonesia

Pulau Bunaken is an island off the coast of Sulawesi in Indonesia. Sulawesi lies next to Borneo, and is approximately 1700 km from North to South as you can drive it.

Getting there and away
A flight from Singapore or Kuala Lumpur (Silk Air, Air Asia, Garuda) into Manado leaves you a half our drive and 40 minute boat ride from the island and some of the most spectacular diving and snorkeling in the world. Boats to the island can either be arranged through your hotel, or there are both private boats and a regular ferry service from the Manado harbour to Bunaken and Siladen.

Accommodation options are available on Bunaken, Siladen or on the mainland in Manado. We stayed at the “4 Fish Hotel” in Tongkaiana which allowed us to go over to Bunaken and Siladen, but also explore the volcanoes and markets around Manado. The 4 Fish can be booked through Booking.com or Agoda. We also had lunch at the Siladen Resort Hotel, and if you are looking to go a bit up market, then this is a beautiful choice with a very nice pool, spa and close to the Siladen reef.

Where to go snorkeling
Pulau Bunaken and Pulau Siladen are small islands, surrounded by coral walls. These walls house drop off to around 30m, and house an abundance of life. They are inhabited by a myriad of fish, turtles and sharks. Sea snakes can also be seen amoungst the reefs.

Lekuan 1, 2 & 3, Tengah and Bunaken Timur 1 & 2 are the best places for Snorkeling on Bunaken. For Siladen, jump off the jetty and follow the current down the wall to the old jetty. It is quite a distance and there is an abundance of life in the shallows above the reef, and along the wall. Be conscious of the currents (especially with children) as they can be quite strong when the tide is turning.

If you are looking for even more diving or snorkeling options, you can also head across to the other side of the peninsular to the lesser visited Lembeh Straight, which also has spectacular diving spots.

Dive sites bunaken siladen and manado

What to pack
We were traveling with 3 children this time – 12, 8 and 6 years old. For our 6 year old son we had flippers, and this helped in the stronger currents. It also helps to get them confident swimming in a snorkel in a swimming pool before you go.

A rash shirt is essential to avoid sunburn and avoid touching the corals. I also wore yoga pants while snorkeling as I am prone to burning. If you have your own snorkeling gear then it is a good idea to take it with you as the gear available for hire is not necessarily the best quality.

Please be careful not to touch the coral. It is not stone and you will damage it, but  there are also fire corals that leave your skin very swollen and itchy if you brush against it. “Mopiko” anti itch cream which you can pick up in the pharmacy at Singapore Airport is quite effective against the itch if you do end up touching the fire coral.

Plastic pollution is a real problem in Indonesia, please don’t add to it by throwing your plastics into the sea. Take your rubbish with you back to your hotel rather than leaving them on the boat.

We had an absolutely brilliant time snorkeling around Pulau Bunaken and Siladen. Swimming hand in hand along the reef with my 6 year old son, with a myriad of fish around us, in a life sized aquarium was an experience that will be long remembered.

Snorkeling Pulau Bunaken Sulawesi Indonesia

Time for a virtual holiday

Little island in the Secret Gili Islands, Sekotong, Lombok Islan
As part of its annual Travelers Choice Awards, Trip Advisor has released its list of the top 10 islands to visit. 

Here are the Top Travelers’ Choice Islands around the world:

  1. Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
  2. Maui, Hawaii
  3. Roatan, Honduras
  4. Santorini, Greece
  5. Ko Tao, Thailand
  6. Madeira, Portugal
  7. Bali, Indonesia
  8. Mauritius, Africa
  9. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
  10. Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
We miss a few in this list, and have a little question on Santorini. Sure, you can take amazing photos of the beautiful white buildings that tumble down the hills, but you are also sharing it with those who step off their cruises and overtake the island each day.
We’d love to see some more off the beaten track experiences included, so we’d love to hear your suggestions for Top 10 islands to visit. 
From Cherry Chuleekorn for Thailand:
1) Ko Kood island, Trat province – my recently new favorite island. They have many local hotels and resorts, the most popular is Captain Hook resort. They selling package of 3D2N all included i.e. speedboat from land, all meals and tea breaks (it’s not a soft break, it’s a hard break hahaha) and including activities like Kayaking and snorkeling (good for first timer because the underwater is not great for those who have already been snorkeling in other good places before). It is definitely good for families, groups but not recommended for those who are seeking privacy and quiet.

For privacy, very quiet and cool and creative place, I would recommend to stay at Baan Makok! It’s a small place (5-8 rooms) located deep down the canal which connects to the sea. Quiet, peaceful and canal is clean. I love swimming in the canal in front of hotel. You can also kayak to the end of canal as well. I like this place so much. and sure that you will like it too. The hotel’s owner are advertising people, you can imagine how chic they are?

For premium person… Tingle Bell is a good choice, they have good standard of hotel service and amenities. Located next to the beach. The best sunset view is here!

2) Similan island in Krabi province. My all time favorite island. Best view over both the sea and underwater. Here you need to book the room or tent from National park organization. Good season is October – April. During June-Sep, the island might be in the closing period.
From Fabia Bueno Tetteroo for Brazil and Philipinnes: 
In Brasil, not a so secret one, super protected but wonderful is Fernando de Noronha.
Also, in between Rio and São Paulo there are many small islands that you can go for a day trip. Departing from Ilha Bela is an option
In Philippines, Camiguin and Busuanga. Very reserved. Not many tourists
From us: 
We love Indonesia, and with over 7000 islands to explore there are so many different options that you could choose from. We loved snorkeling in Pulau Bunaken (off the coast of Sulawesi island), but the secret Gili islands off the coast of South Lombok or the Gili islands between Lombok and Bali are also good choices.
For the secret Gilis we stayed at Cocotinos Sekotong hotel. From here you can do diving trips, or you can hire a local boat to take you to the islands snorkeling. From the wharf (photo below) you can also snorkel amoungst fish. 
For the Gilis islands we stayed at Mahamaya Resort on Gili Meno – you can snorkel off the beach to see turtles and coral. It is an eco-resort which harvests rainwater. The party island of Gili Trawangan is a 15 minute boat ride away if you feel like a night out, but we preferred dinner on the beach with the superb cooking of their restaurant and watching the sunset. Bliss!
We can’t wait for our next excuse to visit Indonesia!

Cocotinos Sekotong, Indonesia

Traveling with kids, 2-5 years

Liam playing football at Phanom Rung Historical park, Khymer rui

Let me start by being honest. We have ended up traveling far more with our son than we ever expected to, and we have taken him to far more “adventurous” places than we had ever expected to before he was born. My husband and I met traveling, and it is something that we enjoy doing together. But there were trips that we thought we should do before we had children – like going to India.

When we moved to India when Liam was 2 ½ years old, we blew that perception out of the water. As a result, living in India changed our boundaries of what we were prepared to do with him. Each trip got us more creative and taught us more about how to do it so that he also enjoyed it, and it was safe for him as well. As a result Liam can now write a list of the 21 countries that he has visited, and we keep planning the next vacation.

So let’s get traveling – these are our top 10 tips for traveling with a 2-5 year old.

1) Travel light

Traveling with a 2-5 year old is a handful. Possibly even more so than when they are younger. The more active they get, the more that they want to run at the airport, explore at the hotel reception desk, and find out what is going on just around that corner where you can’t see them anymore.

Traveling light means that you can divide and conquer – one of you looks after the luggage, and checking in at the airport and hotel, while the other keeps the kid(s) entertained. Consider critically what you can leave behind to get it down to 2 bags – one for each hand. I leave it up to you how big those 2 bags are, but for us they are 2 cabin bags (55cm) – one for him, and one for us that we share for a trip of up to 2 weeks.

2) Pack a selection of small toys

Packing light means getting creative on what toys to take with you, and which ones to leave behind. We have a small zip up black bag (about A4 in size) that Liam is allowed to pack on his own. We encourage him to fill it with cards, matchbox toys, and puzzles (which we take out of the boxes and pack in zip lock sandwich bags).

Next to his special pouch of toys we have an A5 size bag which holds a couple of colouring books, paper and crayons or felt tip pens for him to draw with. Taking drawing materials is really versatile, because he can use it in the plane, a restaurant, or a hotel room. We also take a small football (15cm diameter) everywhere that we travel too. It is amazing how many hours a ball can fill at a hotel, and how little grass it takes to create a game.

Maybe this is a little controversial, but he also has an IPad with games on it to play with. We try to limit its use to 30 minutes per day, but on travel days – when he is in a plane or a long car ride – we are a little less strict in how long he is allowed to play on it.

3) Take books for take-off and landing

Whether you agree with taking an iPad or not, there is one time it absolutely can’t be used – and that is the 30 minutes each side of take-off and landing. We always have a selection of 10 small books with us (Thomas the Tank Engine) that we can read to him while we are taking off and landing. He can choose which one gets read next, and it keeps both of us distracted for the first hour of the flight.

4) Explain to your child where you are going and what is special about it

Lots of people are amazed at the places that we have traveled to with Liam, and I admit, trips around India, Nepal and Oman were not what we were expecting to do with a child. However, they were all possible and safe, and enjoyable for him and us, and he has the most amazing understanding of Geography as a result.

But he hasn’t enjoyed the trips and learned this on his own. We have made a conscious decision to use our travels as a way to teach him about the world. We tell him where he is going, we show it to him on a map, we explain to him what is special about where he is going, and why he is so lucky to be able to go there. As a result he excitedly talks about trips he has taken to Mumbai and Dubai long after the trip instead of complaining that he didn’t get to go to the pool or the beach like the other kids in his class.

It doesn’t matter whether your next trip is as exotic as Mumbai or Dubai or not, the idea is just that you talk to them about how lucky they are to get to travel with you, what they are going to get to see, and how that is special for them.

5) Let them know what is in it for them

Kids (at least our one) are amazing little negotiators. They can bargain and blackmail us from the time that they can talk. With Liam we make deals. Each day he will join us to do things that we want to do, and then we will do one thing that he wants to do. It goes a bit like this “Yes, you can play in the pool this afternoon, but first we are going to go and see X, Y and Z in the city. We will be back for your swimming by 4pm.” Or “Today we are going to see X, Y, and Z, we found a great park in between where you can play with your ball after lunch before we go from Y to Z.”

6) Get a collapsible stroller

Our first trips were done with a big stroller that was difficult to check in, and even more difficult if we had to take a taxi somewhere. That was something we were prepared to manage in the 0-2 age group, but after his second birthday we traded it in for a smaller model. We bought a