In February of this year we took our young son Feliks (age 3) to India and Sri-Lanka. We were, as it happens, quite daunted about this - as even the most strong and sturdy adults can have issues with food and water and thus tummy troubles when traveling in these parts not to mention the hassle of travelling independently around the Indian subcontinent. We didn't want a package tour as that would mean following someone else's itinerary which we thought might not work should one of us fall ill or should we find something/somewhere that we (or Feliks) liked and wanted to spend more time. At the time we tried to find as much information online as possible about travelling around that part of the world with children and found very little, hence this article in the hope that it helps others. However, we took the decision to go and to book into nicer, though affordable, hotels and only eat in recommended restaurants before we went.
The first port of call was the doctors for inoculations. First crisis - no Typhoid vaccines for 3 year olds. The vaccine is recommended for India however no injectable vaccine exists at present (all stock recalled) and only tablets for adults are available. So - do we risk it or not. Reading the news bulletins from the previous 24 months showed very very few occurrences in the areas we were visiting and then none affecting tourists. We made a call to go.
We travelled first to Kandy in Sri Lanka - traveling for 13 hours plus a 4 hour taxi ride into the hills. Our son, ever the superstar, travelled very well - we took a tablet device, loaded with his favourite shows and games to entertain him on the plane. In Sri Lanka we made a point of including as many child friendly parts to the trip such as spotting monkeys at the Buddha tooth temple, washing and riding elephants at a sanctuary etc.
From Kandy we returned to Colombo and took a 4 hour flight to Delhi to begin the obligatory Golden Circle tour. We hired a driver to take us around, as we decided that it would be simpler to let someone else take the "strain" as it were. This was the best decision as it gave us compete control over our days and our little boy could not get enough of the scenes playing outside of the car window as we moved along ie camels, elephants, painted trucks etc etc. Our idea of staying in nicer hotels was a great idea as we ate a hearty breakfast (croissants/bread, jam and milk for him, curry for us) before setting off for the day. Lunches were eaten in Lonely Planet/TripAdvisor advised places, or places with a smattering of tourists. Again, our little one was well and fussed over everywhere! We visited the sights of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur before returning to Delhi airport to go back to Sri Lanka for the return leg of our break - a beach break on the southern coast of Sri Lanka (Unawatuna) before heading home. Our son, as he was small and blonde, with a penchant for wearing a Superman t-shirt, was on practically every passing Indian family's photos!!! Although fun at first this was the only tiresome aspect of the trip but all was friendly and a smile does get you a long way.
Traveling with a small one to India/Sri Lanka is not only totally do-able, it is great fun as it forces you to slow down to a pace where you actually enjoy and engage with your surroundings more. The trip was so successful that we are now planning to take him to Vietnam and Cambodia next February !