February 27, 2012
Often parents limit their holiday plans more than necessary for their children. For example, many think trekking in the Himalayas is completely out of question, too strenuous or dangerous for their offspring. That’s not quite true: Most children absolutely love the experience of a trekking holiday, a fantastic opportunity to strengthen family bonds and get to know different cultures. Have a read what a trekking holiday in Nepal with children could look like and what’s to consider:
The most important thing is, to take the trek slow. There are a number of great easy routes in Nepal that stay at altitudes below 3,000m, such as The Royal Trek or Ghorepani Trek. Stick to short days of about 5 hours walking, on a longer trek you might also want to have a rest day somewhere. Keep your itinerary flexible, if you realise your child can’t keep up or wants to walk more than expected. Young children can be carried by porters in special carrying baskets for parts or all of the way.
Trekking in remote regions and at higher altitudes is possible, but keep the risks in mind: A remote region will mean it is more difficult to reach hospitals quickly in an emergency. Altitudes over 2,500 metres pose the risk of altitude sickness, which can be difficult to detect in children. Also children are more prone to hypothermia than adults, so when trekking at higher and colder altitudes make sure they are always dressed appropriately. Read the CIWEC Travel Medicine Centre’s statement about trekking with children for more health advice.
In Nepali culture children are much loved, and children of trekking travellers will always be the centre of attention, even your guide and porters will make wonderful companions and babysitters for them. The ever-changing scenery, many things to discover and people to meet will not let any boredom come up – and for breaks and early evenings with too much energy left, take some card games, pencils and paper and your child’s favourite cuddly toy. If you can, try to travel with another family with children of the same age, maybe even friends from home. Sharing their experiences with a friend will make them even more valuable for your child.
Before setting off on the trek, do speak with your children about what they are likely to see and experience. Drum it into them to not touch any animals, especially stray dogs, to wash their hands regularly and keep them out of their mouth, and to only drink purified water and eat safe (= peeled or cooked) food.
If you are thinking about going trekking with your family, drop us a note for more information and to organise your perfect family holiday!