I recently hopped over to Hong Kong (booked the holiday with Makemytrip, their Simply Hong Kong package) with my niece aged 9 and my daughter aged 6. I was the only adult on this trip, I am the only one who is mad enough in the family! I have taken out my daughter alone and my niece has stayed with us in her school holidays. Before the start of the trip there were jitters all around.I heard that my brother-in-law wanted Vasu (my niece) back just before the start of the trip, but then he somehow managed to let go. Some of the lessons I learnt after traveling with kids:
Keeping their stomachs full: If you have raised a child, you already know this. They are at their crankiest when they are either hungry or sleepy. Having two kids meant they would fight with each-other as well in such scenarios. I knew this from my previous trips. But on the trip to Hong Kong, there was an added issue. We didn’t try too much to get Indian food. I want them to experiment with different food. I had a stock of chips (which my sister supplied) and in addition to that we had a lot of fast food. We tried Starbucks (my niece wanted to go there), we tried Burger King but in the end the kids did miss familiar food that they are used to. At home they take it so much for granted. They enjoyed dragon fruit a lot. Pizza was the biggest hit with them.
Kids are perceptive: Within a few hours of landing in Hong Kong, the kids declared that the country was much less crowded and it was quite clean! They also said people were not honking. I never expected such wisdom in first few hours!
Standing in a queue: I guess we imbibe it from childhood. In Hong Kong we have to queue at so many places. Both the girls wanted to go and stand just a little ahead in the line, they were not jumping the queue but they would just stand a fraction ahead of me in the line! It was quite a task to make them stand in a straight line!
It is easy to teach not to litter when no one is doing it: I found that as Hong Kong was quite clean, the kids automatically started throwing everything in the dustbins. Both the families have a strict no littering policy but the kids try to test our patience in India. But when they felt that no one else did it, they automatically starting throwing things in the dustbin.
When to play and when not to: For the kids everything was an occasion to play, be it the sensor activated water taps or soap dispensers. I had to continuously tell them not to treat everything as an object of play!
Kids love simple things: If I was on my own, I would hardly spend anytime inside the hotel room. But the kids loved to play inside the two bedroom suite we had at the Royal View Hotel. They would invent games on their own and spend quite sometime playing it!
No TV was a good thing: There were not many cartoon channels on the TV and after an initial token protest, they didn’t even ask for TV! At home they do watch a lot of cartoons.
Deciphering advertising: As the kids watch a lot of cartoons they were quite excited about the visit to the Hong Kong Disneyland. In reality we went there on hot Sunday with every other ride having a wait time of 60 minutes. By 4.00 pm they had enough and they demanded to be taken back to the hotel! Later they said they would give only 5 out of 10 stars to Disneyland!
When photography took a back seat: I consider it was quite an achievement that even when I was standing at the Central Harbor at Hong Kong during the golden hour, I was more glued to the kids than to clicking pictures. Vasu and Chhavi wanted to jump into the water from the platform as it looked attractive. With such ideas being floated and voted for regularly, photography took a severe beating.
We had a lot of fun: We actually had so much fun! On the last day my daughter came and asked if we could stay for a few more days! Now if only they study well, I am quite willing to take them out next year again to another country.