Founder of Mumbai-based Little Passports Prachi Kagzi believes in the parenting dictum ‘In the end, kids won’t remember the fancy toy or game you bought for them, they will remember the time you spent with them.’ Little Passports organises curated trips for children within and outside India. Though a parent accompanies the child, the trips are planned from the perspective of children and follow an itinerary customised for children so that they get to do things that they truly enjoy. Food and accommodation is also child-friendly, and care is taken to ensure that the outings suit the energy levels of the children of that age group and that the child is not exhausted.
Being the daughter of avid travellers herself, travelling was a well-entrenched part of her childhood, and a way of life for Prachi and her brother. It was only as an adult that she realised how educational her early exposure to travelling was. As a little girl, Prachi travelled to such offbeat destinations as Papua New Guinea, and her parents never carried Indian snacks during their journeys. They would eat the local food everywhere, and hence, Prachi developed an appreciation for global cuisine.
“My mother would point out things to us, like exotic plants, trivia about the wildlife we were seeing and the interesting histories of the places that we visited; it never seemed like we were being taught anything. When the learning process is so interesting, the things you learn stay with you forever,” 35-year-old Prachi explains.
Having travelled across the length and breadth of India and more than 45 countries across the world, Prachi is a true globe-trotter. She wanted her son Arsh to have the same unconventional upbringing that she did, and the tiny four-year-old has already done his fair share of travel. Prachi says, “Arsh enjoys travelling and probably due to his exposure to various cuisines and cultures, he is not fussy when it comes to food like most children of his age.”
With a corporate stint and a successful plastic manufacturing startup (which she sold off) behind her, Prachi wanted to explore a new and interesting segment. She realised that her friends would always turn to her whenever they wanted to plan their vacations. She would recommend unexplored, quaint little places, but her friends would often hesitate to plan such trips with their children and would stick to safe options like Disneyland. She realised professional support could make all the difference and was inspired to embark on Little Passports in October 2015.
Prachi started off with about Rs 35 lakh in capital for Little Passports, and although she has been approached for funding a couple of times, she wants to establish the brand before getting funded. “The revenues are increasing substantially, as more trips are finding takers and each tour is getting larger in size. Our international tours especially bring in higher revenues and margins,” she says.
Little Passports was launched with a five-day trip to China, organised for kids between three to six years of age. The highlights included visiting a circus, a safari park and an aquarium. Past expeditions have also included a safari at the Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh and a school excursion to Uzbekistan, where the highlight for the children was getting to go backstage after a ballet performance and meeting the ballerinas. Another interesting tour was to the Tadoba Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra, which included a guided nature-walk with a naturalist, a safari and star-gazing, which the children enjoyed immensely.
Prachi plans the trips to coincide with short school breaks and vacations. Many schools have started approaching her to plan their school excursions, and that is a new and exciting path for the startup.
Prachi is currently excited about the upcoming tour to Slovakia in December. “It’s for kids above seven years. The itinerary includes winter activities like skiing, snowboarding, husky dog sledding and snow shoe hikes,” she shares.
The number of participants in each trip ranges from 10 to a maximum of 30, and includes attendants to help take care of the children. The prices range from Rs 25,000 for two nights on a mom-and-kid sharing basis and can go up to Rs 1 lakh for overseas trips.
The parents who have taken their children on the Little Passports trips range from mothers looking to spend quality time with their children on a well-planned and safe vacation with a bunch of like-minded people when the fathers are busy with work, to single fathers vacationing with their children. Some trips also saw a grandparent or an aunt tagging along with the child.
When she was studying abroad at Cardiff University, Prachi started travelling on her own. Later, she was lucky to find the perfect fellow traveller in her husband. “I met someone who had an even more eccentric travel map and wilder 'places to go' list,” says Prachi. Favourite vacation memories include diving in the Red Sea and chasing the Northern Lights with her husband.
Proficient in Kathak, Indian folk, contemporary jazz and Latin dances, Prachi is truly multi-faceted and is passionate about art (charcoal and acrylic on canvas), music (keyboard and Hindustani vocals), photography and writing. She has shared her travel experiences on various publications, including Baby Chakra, a popular parenting blog.
Prachi says her biggest aspiration is that Little Passports develops into a model that can be replicated across the globe. She signs off with,
Two of the greatest things we can give children is roots and wings. Little Passports helps parents in giving their children both!