India families travel guide

INDIA FAMILY HOLIDAY TRAVEL GUIDE


2 MINUTE SUMMARY

India doesnít compromise; it flows, carrying recognisable little bits from the West and turning them into something else entirely. This is why an India family holiday makes sense. There are plenty of experiences to approach with trepidation, but just as many to enjoy with a smile, safe in the knowledge that this is something special, a unique experience to enjoy together. Dig deep and explore one state or city or national park at a time. Homestays and volunteering in Kerala help you appreciate what you have and maybe envy what you havenít. Rajasthan is just right for newbies looking for a fantastical introduction to palaces and maharajas, whilst Kashmir presents tiny unassuming gompas in Himalayan foothills, far from life on the streets of Mumbai, Delhi and under-rated Kolkata. Pack your patience, your sense of humour and feel the flow, as a family, because India is unbreakable, even for the most rambunctious of offspring.

Find out more in our India family holiday travel guide.
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What does a family holiday in India entail?


Small groups, private tours & age ranges

Small group tours are ideal for families looking to make friends with likeminded parents and similar-aged children as you all get to experience India with the added security of a tour leader and planned itinerary, which will include optional extra activities and free time to explore independently. Group sizes generally range from three to five families, to a maximum of 20 people, and holiday companies will try to create groups with children of similar ages. Accommodation features different sized bedrooms, including twin rooms for two-person families. Small group family tours are more affordable than tailor made alternatives and give families the extra assurance of day-to-day guidance as well as the security and social aspects of being part of a group.
Balance and flexibility are key to tailor made family holidays in India with a blend of guided tours, free time to explore or relax, and chauffeur-driven private transport or overnight sleeper trains, ensuring experiences are designed around specific needs, likes and dislikes. Tailor made tours tend to be for families who have either been to India before and feel more confident in finding their way around, or for those who prefer to have the freedom to choose travel dates, accommodation standards and activity levels, depending on the age and ability of their children.
The recommended minimum age for children on a family holiday in India is around five years and upwards although organised trips will have their own minimum age requirements that need to be adhered to.
You know your child's limitations, apprehension levels and physical ability better than anyone else. Yes, travel broadens the mind, for all ages, but don't be too impatient to discover India, warts and all, before you feel confident that your family, all of you, is ready. Some private tailor made tours, including tiger safaris, have no age limits. Does this mean your three year old can go? Maybe. But ask yourself whether they'd be happy undertaking daily game drives or would they prefer to be by a pool or based by a beach? Small group family holidays in India are more likely to come with a minimum age requirement so perhaps use this as a guideline before you commit to taking your kids to India for the first time. Ask yourself what your child will get out of an experience where poverty, temples and wildlife watching all require certain levels of maturity. What will they gain from the experience? What will they enjoy? Would it be better to wait before they've been at school for a couple of years and understand the value of listening, just as much as not running off whenever they fancy?

INDIA FAMILY HOLIDAY MAP & HIGHLIGHTS


MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME

Indiaís largest state, Rajasthan, features forts, lakes and palaces within Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur, and Ranthambore National Park; fabulous for first-time families. Adjoining Rajasthan, the central state of Madhya Pradesh tempts with tigers in Kanha and Bandhavgarh National Parks via slow sleeper trains from Delhi, to the northeast of Rajasthan. Towards the Himalayas, the region of Ladakh, within Jammu and Kashmir, expresses Tibetan culture in remote mountain monasteries whereas in the southwest of India the states of Goa, Karnataka and Kerala highlight Hinduism on the beach alongside houseboats and homestays amongst back waters and rural villages.
Delhi Jaipur Kerala Ladakh Ranthambore NP Udaipur

Delhi

Remember when a walk to the shops with the kids was an adventure in itself? Well now it's time to rekindle those long-lost trials and tribulations as you unleash your little ones on the organised (is it?) chaos of Delhi. Modern metros and cycle rickshaws spare little legs whilst tour guides point out the mosques and markets, fortresses and gardens, which turn Delhi into one heck of an intro to India.

Jaipur

Sit your little maharani and maharajah on a hilltop beside Jaipur's Amer Fort and it won't be just the views over the saffron island on Maota Lake that fuels their imagination. Located just 12km outside of Jaipur, the Amer Fort is just one reason for families to visit the Pink City with backstreet cycle adventures, the royal city palace and tented camps in nearby Samode, inviting a few more.

Kerala

From beach proms and Chinese fishing nets in Fort Kochi, to tea plantations and hill stations in Munnar on the Western Ghats, a family holiday in Kerala isn't just about cruising the backwaters on converted rice barges, although it would be a shame not to whilst you're here. Fill 'em up on spicy fish and coconut treats as you keep your eyes peeled for parakeets, hawks, kites and eagles.

Ladakh

Make sure you visit a monastery in Ladakh to observe morning prayers or head off track to discover an unassuming gompa where Buddhist practices are part and parcel of day to day life. This region of northern India places your family close to Tibet where the Himalayas dominate and remote village communities inspire respect as you interact with life that's way beyond the Indian mainstream.

Ranthambore NP

There's nothing like a creeper-draped fortress inhabited by monkeys to get young explorers revved up for Ranthambore, and as you embark on an exciting animal adventure, within one of northern India's largest wildlife reserves, thoughts of Shere Khan, Bagheera and Baloo immediately spring into life. Play at park rangers as you follow a guide through one of India's few natural habitats for tigers.

Udaipur

Set against a backdrop of grandiose gardens and the Aravalli Hills, the pearl palaces and temples of Udaipur reflect upon Lake Pichola with ethereal reverence before splash time at the bathing ghats turns the water into a wave of activity. Brightly coloured costumes, spicy street food, tuk tuk tours, and hardly any bars staying open later than 9pm, make Udaipur extremely family-friendly.

Photo credits: [Topbox: Mike Prince] [Entail pic1: Sam Hawley] [Entail pic2: Suddhasatwa Bhaumik] [Map topbox: Alex Graves] [Delhi: meenakshi madhavan] [Jaipur: Juan Antonio F. Segal ] [Kerala: Espen Klem] [Ladakh: Sayantan Bhattacharya] [Ranthambore NP: Julian Mason] [Udaipur: Jeff Hart] [Helpdesk: Juan Antonio F. Segal]

Written by: Chris Owen
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