First outstation trip with my toddler – winter travel tips
We had not taken any vacation trips for almost three years. Since I got to know that I was expecting, we stopped going out for any excursions. Then the baby arrived and it became more difficult to plan any trip considering her safety and comfort.
When she completed 18 months in the month of August 2016, we started planning our much-needed vacation for the month of Dec 2016 (She had completed 21 months by that time).
I checked for few packages online and offline and decided for a South India trip as the December month’s weather was in favor of it. South India promised a pleasant trip for this season. After checking various travel portals I landed on the page of a travel network Hello Travel and submitted an inquiry for a South India trip.
Within an hour or so hello travel assigned a few travel agents to my requirement. And I selected one agent out of it which I found the best of all. This way my travel plan became very convenient.
I told Anupama, the lady from Grazia Holidays, to suggest me some good places for Tamilnadu and Karnataka. But it was the period when Kaveri river fights were going on and she suggested me to hold the plan for a while or to head for individual state plans as combining a two states plan may give issues in border areas.
I appreciated this initiative taken by Grazia holidays and thankful to hello travel for assigning such a genuine travel agent to me.
As per her advice, we waited for a while. When things got sorted out, she offered me various packages considering my convenience as we were going to travel with a toddler and a senior citizen along with us. She skipped all the tiring excursion activities, like trekking. She made the plan extremely convenient for 4 of us and my priority of baby care was kept on the top. I selected the stay and sightseeing package and excluded flight from the package. One special request I had submitted to her was, we needed a very decent driver as our past experience of Kerala trip was too bad due to a bad driver. Anupama ensured the same and provided a very good driver to us who was quite sincere in his job.
I did some research for winter travel tips and travel tips for India with a toddler. Found numerous useful info on the web. A web research is highly recommended for any travel plan to get a rough idea about the destination.
While packing my bags, I ensured few things are in place for the toddler as baby care is an essential part of any travel plan:
- Lot of disposable diapers
- Wet wipes
- Anti Rash Cream
- Hand Sanitizer
- Baby Blankets (recommended as winter travel tips)
- Light clothes for hot places like Bangalore and Mysore and warm clothes for cold ones like Coorg and Wayanad
- Regular medicines like paracetamol, cold and cough medicines, colicaid etc
- Shoes and socks
- Plastic bags (for throwing diapers and any kind of litter)
- water bottles (no milk bottles as I still prefer to breastfeed her)
- Finger foods like chips, roasted makhana, peanuts, homemade laddus etc
- Cap, hat and monkey caps
- Few packets of ORS (to keep her safe from dehydration)
- First aid kit
- Baby’s favorite toys
Our travel plan started like:
Day 1 – Mumbai – Bangalore
We left from Mumbai and caught a flight for Bangalore. I was allowed to carry some snacks and a water bottle for my toddler in flight. The Go-Air flight was not that comfortable (was booked by me only 🙁 )
The flight attendant guided about the essentials of baby care while traveling by plane and told me that how to make my baby comfortable while taking off and landing of the flight as the air pressure may give her severe ear pain and discomfort. I followed the instructions and preferred to breastfeed her during the take-off and landing periods. It eased her first flight experience and she was quite comfortable during the same. After a while, she had become a bit cranky and all the fears started surrounding us if she is going to be all okay during the next 7 days journey. Fortunately, she fell asleep after an hour’s time. And our journey was better except for the discomfort of due to the congested flight.
Reached Bangalore airport on time (within 2 hours), but it took 3 and a half hours to reach the hotel in Lalbaug from the airport due to heavy traffic in the city. We checked into the hotel by 7:30 and hurriedly got to freshen up as we wanted to go to MTR restaurant for their famous dosas.
But finding addresses in the city without a GPS service is a headache. Nobody gave us the right directions and after a lot of struggle, we reached MTR by 8:15 pm. They took the last order from us and then no order was entertained. We experienced the real meaning of IST over there (Indian standard time 😀 ).
Their dosas were extremely delightful. loaded with pure ghee, served with two types of chutneys and additional ghee. Forget the calories and have the yummiest dosas here made in pure ghee.
Raagi dosa has unmatched texture and taste. Served as a set of two
Overnight stayed at the hotel and next morning we left for Mysore after having breakfast.
Day 2 – Bangalore to Mysore
On the way we visited Lalbaug garden in Bangalore, Enroute visited Srirangapatna – Tipu Sultan’s palace and fort. Then visited Vrindavan gardens and enjoyed the musical fountain show.
Day 3 – Mysore to Coorg
On day 3, we visited beautiful The Mysore Palace. Witnessed its elegance and beauty. The beautiful paintings made by Raja Ravi Verma, are a must see. The paintings give you the feel as if they are live, are done so precisely. We were stunned to see the Royal heritage of the Mysore Kingdom. (Their Dussera celebration is a must visit.)
Then we proceeded to Coorg. Had lunch on the highway. Reached Coorg late in the evening. Visited Golden temple, Dubare elephant park on the way and checked into our serviced apartment. Headed to a nearby Udipi restaurant to have delectable vegetarian dinner. We preferred a Punjabi thali in an Udupi restaurant, but it was a great choice.
Day 4 – Coorg
After having delicious south Indian breakfast made by the host of our homestay, we left for local sightseeing like Abbey falls, Omkareshwara Temple which is built in 1820 and Madikeri fort.
Post that we enjoyed some shopping of homemade chocolates, spices, honey, tea, and coffee. Winded up our day a bit early to take a rest at the apartment again. Late in the evening, we headed to the Udupi restaurant again to have a South Indian thali, and again it was one of the best choices. I can give a 5-star rating to this Udupi gem of the Coorg town.
Day 5 – Coorg to Wayanad
After Having heavenly breakfast again (And noting down the secret recipe of the yummy dosa and sambar) we bid adieu to the caretaker and her family. Proceeded to the other state, Kerala which was approximately 127 km far from Coorg.
Visited Tholpetty & Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuaries. Unfortunately, couldn’t see too many wild animals except few deer in both the sanctuaries. We shared our disappointment with the driver, and he promised us to show wild elephants before reaching the hotel. We kept on thinking now which sanctuary he is taking us to. But on the way to the Sultan Bathery city, he showed us wild elephants roaming freely on the roads. In fact, the forest department had put notice boards on the roads stating “let the elephants roam freely, don’t come in between their paths. Forest belongs to them and not to you”, wow, it made us too happy to see this freedom given to the wild animals and not to the humans.
We stayed at our hotel and had yummy Wayanad special dinner at Jubilee restaurant. We asked the manager to suggest some local menu to us and he ensured to serve the best food ever.
Next day we visited Edakkal Caves. It was a unique experience to walk and climb it up. It was a tough job to climb up till the caves with the toddler. But we did it. Especially my husband did it. The path to the caves is very tough to be walked by old people and kids, but we witnessed many kids (a school picnic) and enthusiastic old people climbing this trek like climbing till the caves.
At last, we reached to the caves to witness thousands of years old Neolithic art. It is carved on the stones at least 6000 B.C. years ago. Technically saying, these are not exactly caves but a cleft or rock shelter around 96 ft X 22 ft. A 30-feet-deep gap caused by a piece of rock splitting away from the core body.
Wayanad is surrounded by dense forests, and the climate remains pleasant throughout the year. Vythiri is a nearby place which has beautiful resorts to stay in. And we found the best homemade chocolates in Vythiri village on the way to the Calicut airport.
We bid adios to the beautiful trip to South India and headed towards our return journey to Mumbai. The coffee, spices, honey, tea and homemade chocolates kept us reminding the sweet moments of an amazing expedition for several days.