India with kids - could someone in the know have a look at our itinerary(39 Posts)
DC are 8 and 6. We've had a lot of "I can't believe you're taking your young DC on a trip like this" but we have thought it through, got a lot of planning advice from someone over there, had our jabs, and will have a guide with us for some of the time. However, DH has a habit of trying to fit a wee bit too much in on holidays (understandably - we'll only be able to do this trip once and he wants us to make the most of it), and the kids, though very good travellers are still pretty young.
I'd appreciate some advice from anyone who knows these areas well and can tell me if there's anything we're missing or should miss IYSWIM. The plan is Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Madhar Predesh, Jaipur. And here's the breakdown (sorry rather a lot of detail but just thought I'd chuck it all in) - thanks for taking the time to look.
Day 1: Holi Day, Gandhi museum, music concert or poem singing at Nizamuddin complex
Day 2: old Delhi - kite flying - Gulab Singh Johari Mal curiosity shop, old Delhi wander (Chandni Chowk), rickshaw journey (wounded bird sanctuary), Bollywood cinema or theatre
Day 3: Lutyens Delhi - India museum and colonial centre, Lodhi gardens, Khan market, cricket in evening
Day 4: train to Agra, Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, 8 pm train to Varanasi
Varanasi: [these days still a bit up on the air in terms of itinerary]
Day 5: The ghats and temples
Day 6: Boat ride on Ganges at sunrise, the Tower of Zarathustra, hotel
Day 7: temple visit
Day 8: visit tiger reserve
Day 9: Boat ride and cooking class
Day 10: Hiking and bird watching
Day 11: train to Jaipur
Day 12: Temples and palaces; puppet show in evening
Day 13: Shopping day (visit jewellers?), drive to elephant camp
Day 14: Morning with elephants
I've been to Delhi, Agra and Jaipur of the places you mention, and this does sound quite full on (and I travelled without children). India is exhausting if you're not used to it, trains can run very late, and at least one if not all of you will probably get the shits at one point.
I'd make sure you have some rest time scheduled in, or keep your planning flexible so you can cancel things at short notice if possible. (I'm sure you'll have a fantastic time, though.)
I think it sounds a bit full on with children to be honest - India is incredible but a constant assault on the senses, I'd want to build in more downtime. Maybe staying in a homestay on a plantation or farm for a few days.
I wouldn't hesitate to take my 3 year old DD to India but I wouldn't attempt your itinerary - I don't have experience of travelling with older children though so they may be fine with it.
What have you researched about train times? Some of those trips are long, bone rattlers. I would not do all that with kids. You will need downtime (shits time) even if you are scrupulous about hygiene. Drop Varanasi. Be prepared to queue in Agra. Also what time of year?
Thanks v much to those who've answered. All advice much appreciated.
Travail we've actually booked the train travel, so all the time is factored in, and the Varanasi bit is already scheduled. Have taken on board what you've all said re building in time for illness - other than the actual days we are travelling and the cities etc that we'll be in, the rest is still pretty flexible
No advice about India as I've never been there but please try to ignore people who try and put you off trips with kids. I took my 3 and 1 year old boys to Burma in December and people acted like we were taking them to Syria!
Have fun, sounds amazing!
My experience with those ages is that they tire easily and are more vulnerable to illness.
And make sure they like spicy food.
I think your kids will have a fantastic time.
I do think it sounds a bit full on though - I've been a couple of time (once to very chilled Kerala and then to the incredibly full on Delhi, Agra etc) went without kids and really appreciated a couple of rest days where we chilled out once somewhere with a pool and second time just with a terrace where we could sit and watch the world go by without being 'in it' if you see what I mean.
E.g. your cricket day - probably just the cricket would be enough! Don't overestimate how long it takes to get between places too.
I would really recommend putting in some slack for a rest day or two where the kids can relax and regroup and so can you. It's a really fantastic place but while you might expect the heat, food, crowds to be tiring - just being there is kind of overwhelming at times as well. And yes, you are likely to get ill - make sure you are all drinking enough and also having enough salt, it's incredible how much salt you lose in sweating!
My husband got very ill, cramps etc and it was dehydration - wiped him out for the day and with kids its really easy to get dehydrated.
It will be fine. The Bollywood film sans subtitles may be very long and boring (sitting through something you don't understand for 3 hours is not fun). Agra in one day sounds manic. Especially since it is already quite hot. The rest is fine. I am Indian. We have taken DS4 'home' quite a few times. If you have questions, do ask.
Oh, and eat masala dhosas - they are the best thing in the world for breakfast! And Lassi to wash it all down.
If you stick to food that is freshly cooked and vegetarian you should be fine (unless somewhere you trust) but even that can have an effect on your tummy just due to being different!
Notquite- I can't offer any advice on this but it's something I've frequently thought about doing with my DC. Would you consider posting a blog or something when you get back so those of us that are less brave can get some tips and maybe get the guts to do it too.
Have a good trip, I'm sure the dc will enjoy the adventure. As other have said it's full on, India is an experience within itself - the itenery may distract from the actual experience if you're not careful..?
I went to India for 4 months a few years ago and agree about having a bit of downtime and factoring in how you may feel if any of you get ill - which is fairly likely
Also try and avoid eating ice creams, power cuts are quite common in India and so ice creams that may have defrosted and re frozen a couple of times are not safe to eat. Take Imodium and rehydration salts, cover your arms and legs in the evenings ( mozzies )
Also a lot of toilets are the squatting type so you will need your own loo paper and baby wipes/ liquid soap/ anti bac gel.
It will be brilliant but you are doing too much. Just being there is enough tbh. Whenever I've been to Delhi I've done barely anything but look and listen and absorb. Just getting in a rikshaw will be all the adventure you need for one day . The children will find it all fascinating. What I remember from visiting the places you are visiting is just glimpses from a train seeing children in villages washing their hair under the tap. The amazing trucks and lorries all decorated up. Wildlife wandering into the road. It's all absolutely fascinating - there's no need for all the museums etc.
Sounds a wonderful outline! I have travelled in India many times and am dying to go back! I would say, though, that it does sound a bit packed in terms of how much you aim to do each day. The heat and overall bombardment of senses is often such that lots of cool drink cafe stops are required, and siestas too! Have you got a 'settling in' day planned at the start? That might be a good idea. Wishing you a fabulous trip - even just being in India and seeing day to day life is a wonderful experience in itself, and you have some fab ideas, so provided you are happy to be a bit flexible and adaptable if needed, you won't go far wrong.
Can I come too?
Also remember the jetlag - the first few days in India I kept feeling like I was about to faint! Don't know why but it took about 4 days to feel right.
Agree with backing vocals, you just need to be there. I think walking through the streets will be more interesting than getting taxis between places, which you would need to do to fit all that in.
Day 1,2,3 seem wildly unrealistic and you'll be rushing about to fit it all in! What about eating, down time, loo breaks, travel time.
I know you what to make the most of it, but you need to cancel some of those activities or you'll be done in!
Grab a cold drink and watch the world go by, schedule one actual activity each day and see how you go.
One tip I was given on my second trip, always use any bac liquid gel on hands before eating and after going to loo.
There were 14 of us and we had bum bags with liquid gel and just past round the liquid gel every time we stopped for a tea break or meal - it just became habit.
We all had a dicjy tummy at some point, but nothing to impressively bad.
I would certainly take liquid gels again.
I would also be aware of the begging children, the homeless that live at the train stations and wonder myself how I would explain this to my dc? Your family are going to be hassled by begfers and begging children so just think about how you are going to deal with this.
You need less
We have done these type of trips with our two since they were months old. However the first week you have too much on.
We always plan one fixed activity only per day, with the he other flexible.
So museum morning, then afternoon is free to nap, wander, swim, local area. Next morning lie in and relax, head to castle in afternoon.
The evening stuff is ok if there has been time to relax in between. For example your day one I would do holi day or the ghandi museum not both. And then you have a few hours in the afternoon unscheduled before the theatre in the evening.
Ours are now 5 and 6 years.
Oh and my eldest is the Sam wage as your youngest. On trips like this he takes a nap almost every afternoon still to cope. Then he's good to go out again in the evening. He would be shattered if full on all day and couldn't cope to go out late to see stuff and eat. On a typical day abroad especially when hot they both nap abroad for 2 hrs sometime between 2-6pm. Then good to stay out until 10-11pm
It will be amazing but yes this is full on for an adult never mind kids!
I've been to India about 10 times and only got a bad stomach once ... but oh my god it was like nothing I've experienced. If one of you gets ill expect that person to not leave the vicinity of a bathroom for 24 hours!
I travel regularly in Asia with my 9 and 7 year old - I usually plan to a one day on, one day off so if day 1 is a full day tour, day 2 is a short local trip with the rest of the day chilling. The heat can wipe out any enjoyment on long days, I find it better to do short trips then retreat to a pool or shade.
Have an awesome time but also dont be disappointed when in 2 years time you ask the kids their favourite bit and they say something like 'the rice at the hotel buffet'
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