By Anita Badhwar
Just the thought of traveling to India with children for the first time can be overwhelming. I personally put it off for several years, but I wanted my children to experience the culture and heritage of India first hand. Thus, with some motivation from my parents and friends, when my children were 10 and 7 years old, I finally decided to take my children on a tour of northern India.
Here are some useful tips to help plan your trip.
Vaccinations & Medicines – Consult with your health care provider about the recommended vaccinations for traveling to India. In addition to consulting with a physician, I packed all medicines that my children used in the United States, along with a thermometer and a small first aid kit.
Visas – Contact your local Indian Consulate to find out about visa requirements, types of visas, and visa fees. Leave yourself enough time to get your visa processed.
Flights – If your journey to India includes two flights, make sure you and your children can realistically handle the wait time in between flights. To keep them busy during wait times, we packed playing cards, coloring books, and crayons. These items also were helpful in keeping them occupied when it came to shopping time!
Tour – As part of choosing a tour package, we made sure that our itinerary included visits to famous monuments, palaces and UNESCO sites in New Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Udaipur. We also made sure that the tours would be offered in English so that my children could fully understand the history and the significance of these places.
Snacks – Fortunately my children did not have any trouble with adjusting to the food. In some cases the food was better than in the United States! But I ended up taking some American snacks to help them transition to the food in India, which worked for us. I packed some lightweight individual-sized snacks such as crackers, cookies, peanut butter, and milk boxes.
Hotels & Food – All the hotels we stayed in were either four or five star, and were impeccably clean. After touring all day, we were so tired that we often ended up dining in the hotel itself. The hotels offered a wide assortment of cuisines ranging from Indian, Chinese, and Italian and were quite reasonably priced.
Restrooms/Rest areas– Ensuring that there is access to rest areas while you are traveling on the highway can be a real concern, especially if you have young children. I was pleasantly surprised to observe that there were several rest areas along the highway, which gave us the convenience of asking our driver to stop if needed.
The planning that went into the preparation for the trip was definitely worthwhile. Not only did it help me become mentally prepared for the trip, it also provided an opportunity to discuss with the kids about what to expect when travelling to India – a great teaching moment. Looking back, I have absolutely no regrets in the decision that I made to travel to India with the kids. I look forward to exploring and experiencing another part of India, hopefully in the near future!
About the Author
Anita Badhwar holds a M.Sc. from the University of Florida and is an International Educator. In 2012, she decided to pursue a lifelong dream of creating a series of children’s books. In particular, she was interested in writing and illustrating a series that focused on connecting kids to Indian culture and Hindu festivals. In 2013, she published her first book, Rani Saves Diwali in the Little Princess Rani and the Palace Adventures series. Since this time, the series has grown to include six books. Anita was born and raised in Toronto, Canada but now lives in Florida with her husband, two children, and of course, her lovable dog Buddy. For more information, visit www.littleprincessrani.com.
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