India has long been a popular destination for British tourists. Before the coronavirus pandemic, around a million tourists travelled from the UK to the Indian subcontinent every year. While the pre-pandemic levels have not yet been reached, the number of tourists is rising rapidly. Because of the long distances to travel to the diverse locations and the different social norms, India can be a challenging destination, especially if you are travelling with children. Nevertheless, thousands of families go on holiday to India every year to experience the charm, the amazing food, the colour and the atmosphere. Read more here about how a trip to India with children can still work well and what to watch out for.
A culture shock cannot be avoided
India can feel overwhelming when travelling with your family. Even upon arrival at the airport, there is a bit of a hecticness that you may not be used to. This definitely adds to the charm of the country, and it is to be welcomed, but you do want to prepare a bit. You would therefore do well to book your first night’s accommodation well in advance in a highly-regarded hotel, so that you don’t face any unpleasant surprises. While it is common to haggle for everything you buy, including short taxi rides, there are also taxi companies for tourists for which you pay a flat rate. This might cost a bit more, but it also saves a lot of hassle, especially on arrival. This way, you don’t have to spend too long wandering around the city with your children and can get a quick rest. Also, don’t be shocked by the constant background noise you will hear in the city, even well into the night. So be sure to bring earplugs so you can sleep peacefully at night.
India has a diverse cuisine and cheap, amazing food can be found on every street. It is common for western travellers to get sick from the food, but it would be a shame not to try anything authentic because of this fear. If you want to be extra careful, it is best to avoid meat dishes and eat vegetarian. Since many Indians are vegetarians themselves, it will not be difficult to find delicious authentic meals. Are your children not such foodies? Then make sure you always carry pre-packaged food from a supermarket as well.
What specifically should you pay attention to when travelling with children?
Of course, your children’s health is your very first priority. You don’t want your child to fall ill during the trip for any reason. During the summer months, for instance, there is a greater chance of getting infected with mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria. So always wear covering clothes and take malaria pills just to be sure so you can protect yourself and your children from a serious infection. Sleeping under a mosquito net is quite commonplace and is ideal for a good night’s sleep. The best way to avoid other infectious diseases is to watch what you and your children eat. If you do not trust something, it is better to leave it alone. Before your trip, also check if any vaccinations are recommended for your children.
Travelling through India is an unforgettable experience, but it is definitely recommended to educate your children about the country well in advance so that they are not too shocked by the differences in daily life. For instance, poverty is much more pervasive in the big cities and hygiene leaves much to be desired. If you travel in more remote areas, you may encounter Indians who have never seen European tourists before. So keep in mind that your children may get a lot of unwanted attention as a result.
Apply for a visa in time for your trip
Before you can start your trip to India, you will need a visa. Nowadays, you can easily and quickly apply for an e-visa. Your children will also need an e-visa. Thanks to a straightforward application process, you can apply for the visa within 20 minutes. In any case, keep your passport details close at hand. You will also need to provide a scan of your passport, as well as a clear photo. This does not have to be a professional passport photo, a selfie will do as well. It takes an average of 72 hours for your application to be processed.
Travelling as a family to India, you can easily apply for visas for your whole family as a group. With just one main point of contact, you remove the need to fill in tiny details over and over again. It also helps to have one person control which visas have been approved. Each application is approved on an individual basis, so having one person receive all of the information makes it easier to keep track of all the visa approvals as they come in.
All of these steps lead to a memorable, once in a lifetime holiday that your family will never forget.