These two mothers are curating travel experiences for moms and kids across India
Founded by two mothers and avid travellers–Dr Saakshi Gulati and Dr Nikita Mathur–in 2021, Travel with kids organises trips for moms and kids, encouraging mothers to fulfil their travel dreams with their children.
Varsha Aiyer, a 33-year-old resident of Chennai, has had a deep passion for travel throughout her life. Even after having a child, her fervour for travelling remained unwavering. She not only maintained her love for travelling, but also extended it to her six-year-old daughter.
However, in her journey of combining motherhood with travelling, ensuring their safety is paramount for her to create memorable travel experiences for both herself and her daughter.
As such, when she went on a solo trip to Andaman Islands with Travel with kids, a startup that organises trips for mothers and children, she knew she had discovered a safe space for shared travel experiences. She says she could forge deeper connections not only with her child, but also with fellow mother travel enthusiasts.
Founded by two mothers–Dr Saakshi Gulati (38) and Dr Nikita Mathur (34)–in 2021, the startup wants to encourage mothers to fulfil their travel dreams with their children. Both Gulati and Mathur are dentists by profession and avid travellers. Currently, they have an Instagram page with 77.4K followers.
In 2021, Aiyer initiated her journey by joining a group of mothers on a trip to Puducherry. Since then, there has been no looking back for her. This August marks her seventh trip with Travel with kids, as she eagerly prepares to explore Mysuru and Bandipur.
"Traveling with kids arranges trips for moms and children. It lets me travel with my child securely, fostering bonds with fellow mothers, and exploring the world together," she shares with HerStory.
Gulati, a Chennai-based professor at a dental college, has always loved travelling. After she became a mother around four and half-year ago, people told her that it would be very difficult to travel with a baby. However, she wanted to prove them wrong.
“After the initial three months, which were tough, we started travelling slowly. Since then, there has been no looking back. When you are travelling with a child, it is not the same as travelling alone, but it is a whole new experience” she says.
Mathur, on the other hand, hails from Bengaluru and is a Dentist by profession. She too has been a keen traveller. As such, she keeps travelling with her two children within as well as outside India.
Gulati and Mathur, who are Instagram creators who make content around travelling and parenting, stumbled upon each other’s profile in 2019 and started talking. A common profession, children of the same age, and a shared love for travel soon turned their bond into a friendship.
One day, while discussing travelling, they both thought that there are travel groups for women, solo travellers, senior citizens, couples, etc., but nothing for mothers and kids. And this was their ‘aha moment’.
Initially, they thought of making a community of mothers where they could provide suggestions of travel destinations, but later they decided to curate these trips by themselves. This led to the birth of Travel with Kids (India) in 2021. The startup’s first mother and children trip was to Puducherry in the same year.
“We planned the first trip to Puducherry as I am very familiar with the place. Since it was our first, we wanted to be dead sure that everything happened correctly,” says Gulati.
She shares that when they posted the details on their Instagram page, they got sold out in two days. “We took six moms and their children with us, and everyone had a blast,” she shares.
Both mothers believe that motherhood can bring a lot of changes as many times women forget to prioritise themselves. “Many moms lose confidence in travelling alone with their kids. We just want mothers to realise that they can still travel with them,” says Mathur.
Gulati adds, “Many moms want one-on-one bonding with their kids and yearn to explore new destinations together. On our trips, we plan everything to ensure that mothers do not have any problem managing the child and can have fun while bonding with other mothers as well. Additionally, there are so many kids that they themselves bond with each other so well.”
Mathur remembers a time when two moms from Bengaluru joined them on a trip and became close friends. “They now hang out in Bengaluru and whenever we plan new trips, they check with each other first,” Mathur adds, highlighting the strong bond they have formed.
Balancing their roles as working professionals and entrepreneurs, Gulati and Mathur find the task of juggling their jobs, household responsibilities, and the business quite challenging. Nonetheless, Mathur has taken a break from her profession, which has granted her the flexibility to dedicate substantial time to the startup.
Taking mothers on the road not taken
The duo has so far planned 20 such trips spanning five destinations: Puducherry, Coonoor, Varkala, Goa, and Mysuru. Additionally, they've also curated all-women’s trips to Lakshadweep, Andaman, and Puducherry.
The duo selects a destination and share it on their Instagram handle. Once they receive confirmation from those interested, they craft a comprehensive itinerary, soon followed by the distribution of a Google form. This form is thoughtfully designed to gather pertinent information about the child's sleeping routines, dietary preferences, potential allergies, and any other special requirements.
Taking all these details into consideration, they proceed with making the necessary bookings. Once all the particulars are finalised, they hold a video meeting with all the mothers to talk about the travel plans comprehensively, providing a chance for the mothers to meet each other before the trip. They also form a WhatsApp group wherein they send a list of essentials that the travellers should keep for the trip.
“We give a certain time by which mothers have to reach the airport. From airport pickup, stay, food, local sightseeing, etc., is all planned by us,” says Gulati.
The USP of their startup is that one of the two founders is always present on the trip. “We want to make the whole experience personalised for them. Also, since all the mothers do not know each other, we tend to break the ice and make the trip more fun and comfortable for them,” says Mathur.
Mothers are given separate rooms with their children and they usually take homestays or boutique hotels to ensure safety. As such, the trips usually cost around Rs 20,000 – Rs 25,000 for three to four days.
So far, mothers from Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Kochi, and Kolkata have joined them on their trips. However, they say that since both of them are from South India, they have not planned much in the North.
As such, the duo is looking forward to planning trips in North India and even to international destinations soon. They are also planning to hire interested mothers to lead their trips.
Edited by Megha Reddy