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Travelling to India with kids
Friday, August 23rd, 2013

by Sudha Mathew

“Is it safe to travel to India with kids?”

This single question is the reason why many travellers postpone their dream holiday to India for a time when the children are older. Tummy upsets, unknown infections, spicy hot food are the usual worries when the topic of conversation veers around to a tour of India with kids in tow. And each time the plan is nipped in the bud because there’s never an answer that is assuring enough.

Things have changed a lot in the last decade and it is quite safe to travel to India with children. So lets look at the points of concern and see what precautions can be taken so that you don’t miss out one of the most exciting destinations on this planet.

At the very beginning, let me admit that travelling to India with kids is more challenging than a package tour to Spain or France. The diversity of culture in this large country, the infrastructure levels and above everything else the fear of disease definitely keeps you on your toes as a parent. You do need to be on the side of caution most of the time. But if you remember to faithfully stick to a few simple practices then you can keep your worries at bay.

India with kids, Taj Mahal
Monument of Love, Taj Mahal

Your tour to India with kids begins with research

It takes some effort in planning a trip to incredible intriguing India with children and the first step definitely is research. Travelling to India is not like travelling to a European country for an easy getaway. It is more like travelling to another climatic zone, experiencing diverse terrain and exploring a culture that is radically different from UK and the rest of Europe.

Colors and hues of Rajasthan
Rajasthan is royal indeed
  • If I had to arrange concerns in order of importance, this would come first. Change in weather is a major factor that might affect health. Before you build your itinerary, it is imperative to figure out when is the best time to visit India and what kind of weather would suit your children. This also depends on the part of the country you wish to tour. This article that I had written some time back could be helpful to you in planning the best time to visit India.
  • India is not just another country, it’s a different world altogether. There are 29 states in India and each state has something different to offer a traveller. I believe a trip to a new place with children is always more fun if you are aware of its culture. Briefing the kids about the diversity in social customs, the stark difference in wealth and living conditions between the rich and the poor, beggars on the street, the variety of languages that they are going to experience here is a good idea. When they have an idea of the new experiences ahead of them, they will be less overwhelmed and appreciate the differences better.
  • Coming to the not so pleasant part of touring India with children, it is mandatory to consult the doctor and get all the vaccinations needed before you  leave for your tour of India. Ensure the little ones are protected against Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Rabies and of course do not forget to get an anti-malarial drug prescribed. Also check if the kids are up to date with their routine vaccinations. A good resource is the official UK government site on travel advice for India.

Checklist while packing your bags

The kind of clothes you should be carrying depends completely on the season you pick and the places you intend to visit. Pack clothes keeping in mind the heat, the cold or the rains at the time of visit. Unless you are going to extreme climatic regions like the Himalayas, I would suggest cotton fabric for every season. Layering is a great technique to manage the weather in India. You can add or discard scarves, shawls and caps depending on if you are in air conditioning or out in the heat. For the kids particularly, I would suggest you follow these four rules to avoid infection.  In India, the less the skin is exposed to the dirt and dust the better it is.  Of course, the same rules aren’t applicable if you are on a beach holiday.

A brilliant capture in Kochi
Sunset in Kochi

ü  Bring covered shoes for the kids and never let them go out in slippers outside the hotel.

ü  Keep hand sanitiser and wet wipes to clean their hands frequently and especially before eating.

ü  Carry long sleeved shirts and full length trousers for protection against bug bites.

ü  Sunglasses and caps so that they are not affected by the strong sun.

When in India with kids, a well-equipped medical kit is your best friend in need. It makes sense to bring the necessary medicines from your country so that you do not have to grapple with unfamiliar brands and dosage. Do ensure that the stock is good enough to last the duration of the trip. However if you need medical help, your hotel will be able to recommend a reliable doctor and most medication is easily and safely available over the counter in pharmacies. Most large cities in India have world class hospitals with highly qualified doctors, many of them having trained or worked abroad.

List of must haves in the medical kit

ü  Sunscreen

ü  Mosquito repellent

ü  Band-Aids to cover the scrapes that the kids might get

ü  Tylenol or equivalent for quick relief in case a child has raised temparature

ü  Anti-diarrhoea medication

ü  Hand sanitizer

ü  Anti-bacterial wipes

ü  Hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion for bug bites

ü  Any over the counter drugs that the family uses regularly

Steps to be taken once you are in India 

Here are the two things you need to be really careful about during your holiday in India.

Ride of India with kids in auto
India on wheels

First on the list is water. Water borne diseases are the most common ones in this part of the globe. The best way to keep safe and healthy is by drinking only bottled water. In fact, it would be smart to use bottled water even when brushing teeth or cleaning any scrapes that the kids might get.

The next big concern is definitely food. Introduce the kids to the new food slowly; you should limit their intake of spicy Indian food. And don’t worry, there are plenty of options today. Gone are the days when spicy was the only synonym for Indian cuisine. With ever increasing business and tourist travelling both into and out of the country, there are many restaurants preparing the best continental and world cuisines. Indo-European fusion food, a popular trend in urban India will allow the kids to taste Indian food that is easy on the stomach. Stick to upscale restaurants where food is prepared in hygiene controlled environments. Give street food a complete miss when you are traveling with kids, no matter how many people are eating at the stalls.

When eating out at a restaurant that you aren’t sure about, remember to wipe the glasses, spoons and plates with a clean tissue. Avoid cold dishes or uncooked food like salads, cold cuts and juice at such places.

Biriyani in India with kids
The taste of India

There is just one mantra to travel safe in India with kids and that is to ‘be cautious’. Once that is in place, the trip isn’t that difficult. You and your children will be able to pecaefully enjoy a country that is warm and generous with a colourful heritage. Your family holiday to India with the children will turn out to be the trip of a lifetime.

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Is there any other concern that is holding you back from planning the big tour to India with kids? Write to me so that I can help with them or drop in a quick Enquiry.

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Picture Courtesy:

Monument of Love, Taj Mahal- Trey Ratcliff

Rajasthan is royal Indeed- Girish Suryawanshi

Sunset in Kochi- Anoop Negi

India on wheels- Amir Jina 

The taste of India- clicksahead 

Cheers Sudha


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Posted by Sudha at 12:56 pm
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Plan to travel to an Indian holiday destination?

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About me

The wise man travels to discover himself - JR Lowell

 

My name is Sudha Mathew. I'm an ex-banker who quit the rat race after a decade to follow my passion for travel and to combine it with my experience in understanding client requirements and exceeding their expectations.

 

While our content is mostly about the holiday experience, the accommodation and services, there's so much more to a journey. I have discovered a whole new me through travel. So I've reserved this corner of the website to share the unexpected aspects of travel. This space is also to hear from you about your journeys and discoveries. Bon Voyage!

 
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