India with its diverse colors, smells, languages and peoples is an extravagant experience for anyone. But it can be a little too overwhelming if you are traveling with children, so a few preparations made in advance will stand you in good stead. Here are a few suggestions to make the most of a family traveling to India with kids.
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Follow these tip to traveling to India with kids
Children are required to have their own passports. There should also be a passport for baby. For any child too young to sign their name the thumbprint needs to be on the visa application. The guardians need to sign on the applications, in accordance with the specifications mentioned by the Indian consulate. Within India, travel for children below 12 is half the adult fare, on flights and train journeys.
Read - Plan a trip to India
Traveling with baby
It is a good idea to have baby carriers that you can strap on, instead of prams to push around. For one, you won’t be able to manage pushchairs if the road or footpath is uneven, and more importantly, there will often be people bustling around. Make sure of the medication requirements, and ask your doctor about medicines you need for kids. Also, stay in a hotel with good safety and hygiene standards. Dettol, Savlon etc. are available in India so you may not need to carry these in your luggage.
Warding off mosquito bites
Mosquitoes can be a trouble throughout the day and especially when the sun sets. For very young kids, long-sleeved clothes, mosquito nets and mosquito repellents should work. Be careful with using repellents though, as chemical-based ones such as those with DEET are not recommended for use around babies. Look for organic or eco-friendly repellents. You can also use those with cortisone cream, available over the counter in India.
It is a good idea also to hire private transport, such as a comfortable air-conditioned taxi or car during your sightseeing with kids. Even if a place has many sightseeing options and you want them see them all, it is best to stick to a few major ones, clustered in one area. It is less hectic and overwhelming for kids this way.
Food – The generally spicy fare in India may be one of the toughest shocks for kids.
The youngest ones of course have their baby food – you can carry stocks of whichever processed food the baby is used to, or pick up fresh stocks in India. Major pharmacies may have the branded processed foods for babies that you use back at home. Avoid buying milk in India, and bring along powdered milk supplies.
For slightly older children, curd, breads and rice are easily digestible options in the heat and humidity. You can also feed them on fresh fruits, making sure they are washed properly with clean distilled water. You can also mash up fruits and freeze them, to make quick snacks between full meals. Most cities have the big fast food outlets which older kids may enjoy.
Indians tend to generally be warm towards children and may try to approach your kids to pat them affectionately etc. If you do not like this kind of attention, say a firm ‘No’ and teach your kid to do the same. If you are more comfortable with the people chatting up your kids, you can take photos with them, adding to your stock of memories on family vacations.
Introduce kids to India
Children are usually a curious lot, and will have many questions on the trip. For growing children who may want to know more about the country they are visiting, it may be a good idea to prepare an introduction. Before the vacation, you can pick up an easy travel guide to India for kids, in a book/CD format.
India is a big country with many people. If your kid is old enough to understand, tell them that India is a big country with many people. They may expect to see a huge number of people on the road, in buses and the different places they tour. Even though the crowds come as a shock for most foreigners when they first visit India, still, knowing about this in advance is better than no mental preparation.