India is a popular travel destination for adults, but it can be a daunting place to visit with kids. However, there’s no need to avoid the country just because you’re traveling with children. With careful planning and the right mindset, it can be an incredibly rewarding and educational experience for you and your family. Here are some travel hacks and safety tips for traveling to India with kids.
- Research the Best Time to Go
India is a huge country with diverse weather conditions. Some parts of the country, such as the mountains in the north, can get very cold in the winter months. Other regions, such as Rajasthan, can be scorching hot in the summer. So, it’s important to research the best time of year to visit based on the region you plan to visit and the activities you want to do.
- Pack Smartly
When traveling with kids to India, you should pack smartly to ensure their safety and comfort. You’ll need all the usual items like sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and comfortable shoes. You should also bring mosquito repellent, as India has its fair share of mosquitoes, which can carry diseases such as dengue fever and malaria. Additionally, bring plenty of snacks, especially if your little ones are picky eaters.
- Book Your Accommodation Ahead of Time
It’s important to book your accommodation ahead of time, especially if you’re traveling during peak season. You should look for family-friendly hotels that offer amenities such as a swimming pool and play area for kids. Many hotels also offer babysitting services, which can be useful if you need time alone to explore.
- Take Precautions Against Bacteria
Food hygiene is a serious concern in India, and it’s easy for both children and adults to get sick from contaminated food. It’s best to avoid street food and to only eat fruits and vegetables that have been peeled or cooked. You should also drink bottled water, and avoid drinks with ice unless you are sure that the ice has been made from purified water.
- Plan Age-Appropriate Activities and Tours
India has many age-appropriate activities and tours for kids. Depending on where you’re visiting, there are options such as visiting a wildlife sanctuary, taking a cooking class, or attending a puppet show. Make sure to research and book the activities and tours that match your children’s interests.
- Dress Appropriately
India is a conservative country, and it’s important to dress modestly to show respect for the local customs. This means covering your shoulders and knees at all times, and avoiding revealing clothes. It’s a good idea to carry a light scarf or shawl with you, which can be handy to cover up if necessary.
- Keep Your Kids Safe
India can be chaotic and overwhelming for kids, but there are ways to keep them safe. Make sure that your kids know not to talk to strangers and to stay with you at all times. You may also want to consider using a child safety harness, which can help you keep your children close while navigating crowded areas.
- Learn Some Basic Hindi Phrases
Learning some basic Hindi phrases can be helpful when traveling with kids in India. Phrases such as “Namaste” (hello), “Shukriya” (thank you), and “Kya yeh theek hai?” (Is this okay?) can go a long way in making connections with locals and navigating daily life.
- Consider the Destination
India has a vast array of destinations, each offering its own unique attractions and challenges when it comes to traveling with kids. Consider your children’s ages and interests, as well as your own level of comfort and confidence in navigating India’s diverse cities, towns, and villages. Some destinations, such as Goa, are known for their beaches and laid-back vibe, while others, like Jaipur, offer a fascinating glimpse into India’s rich history and culture.
- Choose Transportation Wisely
India can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to transportation, so it’s important to choose wisely. While trains are a popular way to travel in India, they can be crowded and uncomfortable for families with young children. Instead, consider hiring a private car or van with a driver, which can be safer and more comfortable. You can also use ride-hailing services like Ola or Uber, but be aware that they’re not available in all cities and may not have child seats.
- Plan for Jetlag
Traveling to India can mean crossing several time zones, which can lead to jetlag for both kids and adults. To minimize the effects of jetlag, make sure to get plenty of rest before your trip and adjust your sleep schedule before departure. You can also try adjusting to the local time as soon as you board your flight, by setting your watch to the local time and altering meal and sleep times to match.
- Be Prepared for Culture Shock
India is a country unlike any other, with a vast array of sights, sounds, smells, and customs that can be both fascinating and overwhelming. Even if you’ve traveled extensively before, you may be surprised by some of the nuances of Indian culture, from the constant honking of car horns to the bustling crowds and colorful markets. To prepare yourself and your children for culture shock, read up about the country, watch documentaries or films, and talk to other travelers who have visited India with kids.
- Stay Calm and Flexible
Traveling with kids can be unpredictable, and it’s important to stay calm and flexible if things don’t go exactly according to plan. Allow your children to sleep in if jetlag is taking its toll, and be prepared to adjust your itinerary if needed. Remember that the point of traveling with kids is to create lasting memories and experiences, not to stress out about ticking off every sight on your list.
In conclusion, traveling to India with kids can be a fun and enriching experience with the right preparation and precautions in place. From researching the best time to go, to packing smartly, booking accommodation ahead of time, and planning age-appropriate activities, there are many ways to ensure your trip to India with kids is unforgettable. Remember to stay vigilant about safety, and to be open to experiencing new things. With these travel hacks and safety tips in mind, your trip to India with kids is sure to be a success.