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Travel: New Mumbai-based firm curates kids-only tours

A new Mumbai-based travel firm that curates kids-only itineraries wants to take the tiny traveller to offbeat destinations, and introduce him to the learning-by-doing concept

  “We never carried Indian snacks on our trips! We’d always eat what we got,” shares 35-year old city-based entrepreneur Prachi Kagzi, recalling her travels as a kid in the 1980s. From visiting offbeat locales in Greek Isles and Papua New Guinea with her parents to later, diving in the Red Sea and chasing the Northern Lights with her husband, Kagzi has ticked off nearly 45 countries on the map.

A visitor encounters a Polar Bear at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium at Tacoma in Washington, USA
A visitor encounters a Polar Bear at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium at Tacoma in Washington, USA

She even took her three-year old son, Arsh, to China for his first overseas trip. “My friends thought I was crazy but after hearing our encounters, they were keen to go,” she says. This led the travel evangelist to start Little Passports that curates tours within India and overseas for children between three and 13 years. “Indian parents prefer if kids fly solo to increase their independence. We also welcome them to accompany us if they feel more comfortable. Our USP is to introduce children and parents to offbeat destinations. The concept will resonate with parents who value ‘learning-by-doing,’” she says.

Travel the world
The firm makes its debut next month with a five-day trip to China, organised for kids between three to six years. The highlights include visiting a circus, a safari park and an aquarium. “Since it is for pre-schoolers, we have curated a package for moms and kids,” she elaborates. Having received six sign-ups for this trip already, she has also plotted Slovakia on the firm’s tour map. “It’s been planned in December for kids above seven years. This is a kids-only tour; however, parents can join. The itinerary includes winter activities like skiing, snowboarding, husky dog sledging and snow shoe hikes,” she informs.

Prachi Kagzi, founder, Little Passports
Prachi Kagzi, founder, Little Passports

Unless it’s a school trip, we found that Mumbai’s tour operators don’t curate kids-only travels. Biggies like Thomas Cook and Cox & Kings prefer to offer family packages. “In India, it’s rare for kids to travel solo, especially internationally. So, we design our packages such that the itinerary appeals to kids and parents,” informs Karan Anand, Head, Relationship, Cox and Kings Ltd, adding, “The demand for kid-friendly packages is more during Diwali and summer vacations.”

Safety matters
City parents are divided on whether it’s safe to send their children for solo trips. “I wouldn’t send my daughter for any trip until she is 14 due to safety issues. Even post that, I would prefer school trips than travelling with unknown operators,” reveals Manisha Pachchigar, mother of a nine-year-old. In contrast, Meenal Jain, Mumbai-based artist and mother of an 11-year old daughter, has warmed up to the idea.

“I’m keen to send her on a solo trip so she learns to be independent, to cooperate with other children, and be punctual,” she says, but not without having a checklist at hand. “I would need a detailed itinerary from the operator and prefer only female attendants to accompany kids. The food should be like home-cooked fare,” she states.

To allay such anxieties, Kagzi has ensured that every trip is one that she has personally taken with her child. Plus, she aims to keep the tour strength from 10 to 30 and has arranged for two more attendants for each trip. “We will be staying in luxurious hotels and meals will include non-spicy, Indian food with options for Jains too. The itineraries are also devised according to the energy levels of the kids,” she concludes.

TRIP DATES: November 12 to 16 (China)
CALL: 9820121110
COST: Rs 1,21,000 for mother and child (exclusive of airfare and visa)


Where are the kiddie hotspots?

India: Ooty, Jaisalmer, Darjeeling, Ajanta and Ellora Caves in Maharashtra, Gir National Park in Gujarat, Shillong, Auli, Kaziranga National Park in Assam and Andaman and Nicobar Islands

*Information courtesy:
HolidayIQ

International:
Amusement parks such as Hong Kong Disneyland Park and Sentosa Island in Singapore (popular among families with children between nine to 18 years)

*Information courtesy:
Neelu Singh, Director and CEO, Ezeego1.com

1) Hong Kong and Macau
>> Enjoy a city tour of Hong Kong and Macau along with Disneyland Tour with this package.
COST: Rs 65,815 onwards (per person on twin sharing basis, inclusive of return Economy Class airfare)
LOG ON TO: www.ezeego1.com

>> The seven-day trip package includes visits to Victoria Peak Top Level, the famous Repulse Bay, Madame Tussaud's wax Museum, Disneyland, Ocean Park, the Mineral museum where you can see the World Famous Terracotta Warriors, Bamboo market as well as city tour of Macau.
TILL: December
COST: Rs 54,321 onwards
CALL: 18001200660
LOG ON TO: www.coxandkings.com

2) Singapore
>> Enjoy a city tour, night safari, an afternoon at Sentosa Island and a visit to Universal Studios with the popular S.E.A Aquarium.
COST: Rs 55,980 (per person on twin sharing basis, inclusive of return Economy Class airfare).
LOG ON TO: www.ezeego1.com

>> Sign up for a five-day trip to Singapore that includes a visit to the Universal Studios as well as the S.E.A Aquarium – the world’s largest aquarium where you can come face-to-face with over 200 sharks or tour an underwater reef community.
TILL: March 31, 2016
COST: Rs 39,597 onwards
LOG ON TO: www.coxandkings.com

3) Malaysia
The highlights for this trip includes visits to the famous Petronas Twin Towers, the King's Palace, Sultan Abdul Samad Building, the Cricket Club, a ride up by cable-car at Genting Highlands 6,000 feet above sea-level as well as a visit to Genting Indoor and Outdoor Theme Parks.
TILL: June 30, 2016
COST: Rs 10,755 onwards
LOG ON TO: www.coxandkings.com

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