If we were to be brutally honest, India would not top the list for being the most child-friendly destination to have a family holiday in the world but it could be an enriching experience for young travelers. Even though travel times in cars or trains are long and uncomfortable, food might be too spicy and there aren’t many child-centred activities, there are great options for family holidays to India : Safaris in National Parks, overnight-experiences in the dessert with camel rides, exploring ancient forts and even hot air balloon flights.
What do you need to know for your family holidays to India?
Indians love children and especially children from abroad. They receive a lot of attention – sometimes a little bit too much. But a firm but polite NO is enough to keep shy kids out of reach. But the attention is mostly harmless, just a simple appreciation for the different looks and cuteness of foreign children.
We often recommend small-personalized hotels and homestays that are spacious and enjoyable for children and recommend and pre-book activities for your family. Very rarely hotels in India don’t allow children but babysitting or day care facilities or are uncommon. Most hotels allow young children to stay for free in the same room but charge for an additional mattress.
Food can be very spicy in India. More in the north than in the south. But all tourist destinations have western style restaurants or at least food options. You can always get fries but also fresh fruits, sandwiches and simple bread. If you decide to travel overnight on a train pack some snacks beforehand as we do not advise to eat the food on board.
The roads in India aren’t the best and distances between cities are long. Therefore, keep travel sickness issues in mind and plan some games kids can play on long car journeys.
India has many facets and one of them often overwhelms children: the poverty and harsh living conditions. We believe that if explained in a responsible and educating way kids can learn a lot from those experiences which can shape their sense for compassion and empathy. Reality Tours & Travel offer socially responsible and educating slum tours in Delhi and Mumbai and invest 80% of their profits in social activities in the slum community.
For many of our guests the family holidays in India have been a moving and memorable experience for each member. At times tiring, but very rewarding. Well-traveled families find India a lot easier than others.
What are the best destinations for family holidays to India?
North India and Rajasthan in particular offer a lot of activities that are great fun for children but one must bear in mind that distances between destinations can be quite large. Multiple drives of over five hours long or train journeys equally long (sometimes overnight) have to be included to explore the region. We think it is good fun to travel in overnight trains with tier beds (air-conditioned) with kids as there are also many Indian families on board and the risk of getting travel sickness is smaller but this depends on your preferred style of travel.
Families will enjoy the sheer beauty of the monuments in North India: the gorgeous unique Taj Mahal, the massive Amber Fort in Jaipur or Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, the old fort town of Jaisalmer and the lake palace of Udaipur. All sights come with interesting stories of big battles, heroes and princesses – we are sure your kids won’t get bored.
But Rajasthan also offers great child-friendly activities for your family holidays like hot air balloon flights in Jaipur and Pushkar, camel safaris and dessert tent stays in Jaisalmer, bicycle tours or horse riding in Udaipur, tiger safaris (with good not uncommon sights of tigers) in Ranthambore, zip lining from the fort in Jodhpur and cooking classes.
In the foothills of the Himalayas children can look forward to white water rafting, zip lining or bungee jumping (if they are old enough) but also hiking or just the great views over the snow-peaked mountains. But travelling from A to B can be very long and exhausting up here and the accommodations are often simpler than south of Delhi.
The beaches of Goa are warm even in the winter months and safe for swimming, with a wide availability of western food and fun beach activities and therefore make a great destination for your family holidays to India. There aren’t any big cities and mad traffic so your kids can take a break from the overwhelming impressions. There are also fun activities like hiking, spice farm visits or dolphin spotting boat rides. Water sports like kayaking or paddle boarding are also widely offered.
Kerala is another very interesting destination for family holidays to India. In addition to countless activities and the natural bounty, the driving distances between places is much shorter, all around 2-5 hours long. In the Backwaters you can stay at homestays and explore the fascinating landscape with boat rides or kayaking. You can also stay one night on a houseboat – a fun experience for kids of 4 years. In Munnar and Thekkady you can hike in national parks and explore tea and spice plantations. At the beaches of Marari, Varkala and Kovalam kids can enjoy the sea or the pools at more expensive resorts. But be aware that the current in Kerala is all year around very strong and not suitable for small kids.
We’ve planned family holidays to India with children involved and we know to keep both their safety and their entertainment at the forefront of our itineraries. Across a couple of emails, we can figure out what sights and travel plans best suit your individual family needs so you can have the holiday of your dreams, stress-free. Plan your family holidays in India with us now and make sure every member of your clan enjoys the trip.