Tips for India travel with children
– Gregor, Sarah and family from Canada are travelling with their children aged 12, 10 and 5 for a year across Europe and Asia. They used our help to plan parts of their India trip and are guests authors for a series of blogs on travelling in India with children.
“Keep the kids happy, everybody is happy.” These wise words were spoken by my mother-in-law and traveling in India from early January to mid-March, we experienced both the sweet fruits of our observance of this wisdom and the rotten fruit of forgetting it. It is hot, busy and very different from home (Canada) and you need to take time to just relax, unwind, digest (both exotic foods and all the impressions) and escape. Our tendency is to want to fill our days with meaningful cultural visits, to maximize the time we have and see as much as we can of this exotic new land before we head back home where everything is so familiar. With children this does not work! As cool as it could be to climb to the top of Peak in Sri Lanka with all of the other pilgrims to witness sunrise, these will be the kids crying and acting out and miserable for the rest of the day. So many beautiful temples, so little time… After two or three, the intricacies of when they were built and how Buddha is holding his fingers is lost on the small people. We dropped our kids in at the deep end, arriving in India in Mumbai and heading to Aurangabad to visit the Ajanta and Ellora caves. They were little troopers, but we quickly saw that we needed to leave them in the room (our eldest daughter is 12 going on 17!) while we went out to buy some fresh fruit or to do a little shopping close by.
Nature and small towns is also a key to happiness. When we arrived in Hampi, the kids were jubilant: “This is our favourite place in India!” Life slowed down, there was much less pressuring to buy things (I received daily offers from one man to have my ears cleaned and he even had testimonials sorted by country of origin), and it was possible to rent scooters and enjoy getting around by ourselves. Any beach we visited offered the same thing in addition to the breeze that invariably comes with being right on the ocean.
So, I would say that India is an amazing place to visit, but with kids, you must pace yourself. One temple, not four! Some city time but not much! Nature, fresh air and some beach time is an important way to break up some of the heavier experiences and of course, it gives us all time to digest what we have seen and done. When the kids have time to recuperate and chill- out time, they seem to be able to just take everything in stride and a large part of the enjoyment on our trip has been watching the kids go with the flow!
More Blogs from Gregor and Sarah on travelling India with children