India with an almost 2 year old...in july/august(30 Posts)
We're travelling to South India in a few weeks, with 21mo DD - will stay there for a month, then fly up to Delhi and take a train through Rajasthan for 2 weeks. Has anyone done something similar? Or have any cracking tips for us? Any advice would be very much appreciated especially as, though we've both travelled pre DD we've only gone as far as Italy with her, and neither of us have been to India....<hyperventilating>
Be prepared for delays, be prepared for curiosity, be prepared for people wanting to touch your DC.
I've only spent three weeks in India and it was long before DD was born. I do remember the heat, poverty and stray dogs vividly.
I also remember the kindness and humility of the Indian nationals.
I presume you've had all your injections and have a really good travel insurance policy? And make sure you have with you phone numbers of the British High Commission (embassy) in case you need help along the way here
We took our DC (then 9 and 10) to Kerala at Easter a couple of years ago - it was fantastic! We saw lots of families with young children and everyone was lovely to the children.
DH and I also travelled in India before the DC - did the Delhi/Rajisthan Golden Triangle. We travelled independently with the DC, backpacking on buses and trains, though we stayed in nicer places than we had pre-DC
What do you need to know?
What are your plans?
Both immunisations, and detailed advice on malaria prophylaxsis (which will depend on your itinerary within India) are vital. You need to make sure these are completed for all of you well before departure, in case any of you react to any of them.
Important tip is to use bottled water for absolutely everything, even teeth cleaning, and get it from somewhere you can trust (your hotels, perhaps).
Great, thanks guys. Good tip on taking the numbers for the Embassy, and reassuring to here that others have not only done, but enjoyed similar trips!
We'll be staying at a college in bangalore - taking long w/ends into Kerala and the countryside, and then once we've flown up to Delhi, backpacking trains through Rajasthan. We've almost completed our jabs, and we're not taking any anti-malarials, as our travel will all be in low risk areas, so lots of repellant, citronella and mossie nets.
For those who have been, is there anything that didn't occur to you before you went, that you wish you'd known/taken? Are there any great places you found that children could chill out/let off steam (thinking particularly in the North)?
I guess I'm just looking for reassurance as we were quite blase when booking, but the practice nurse scared the shit out of us, and some of the responses we've had (but what will she eat?! (the fact she's been eating indian food since she was 8months is inconceivable apparently...)) have made me wonder if we are doing the right thing.
Not sure I'd want my DD on a backpacking train (unless I've read that wrong). I would ensure that any repellent has DEET in it rather than rely on natural stuff.
Also, in the unlikely event that you need to see a doctor, try to get to a hospital rather than a village GP.
The one I saw diagnosed ear infection, tried to clean it with a pair of forceps wrapped in gauze and rammed into my ear canal, then gave me some out of date antibiotics.
Simla in the north - in the foothills above Rajasthan - is lovely. Like Wales in the 1950's Well, it was nearly 20 years ago....
In Kerala, try Varkala - great chilled beach vibe, and Peyriar in the foothills.
Trains will be fine if you are going first class - we once did a long journey in cattle-class and whilst it was fine for us as fit healthy adults (and really educational), I'm not sure I'd take a baby/toddler in with all the potential health risks.
We didn't have any illness whatsoever when we took the DC, but when DH and I went BC, I was hopitalised for 24 hours with extreme dehydration due to dysentry (no idea how as we had both eaten the same stuff and DH was fine) - hospitals, are not (as you would expect) to western standards and it was quite an experience. Not one I'd want a toddler to go through, so be extra cautious!
Travelled around south India several years ago and had a great time, but that was in January.
Isn't July/August the monsoon season? I would not want to be in India during the monsoon, especially with young DCs, so that will be worth checking. Apart from anything else it can sometimes cause travel delays.
Obviously be very careful with water and stick to freshly cooked local food.
Take one of those mega first aid kits that have hypodermics and IV lines in them.
Yes it is monsoon season - was in Rajasthan/Goa when we were there IIRC.
It didn't affect us at all TBH, but maybe we were lucky!
Dh and I were both brought low by constant diarrhoea and vomiting, despite being completely anal about drinking water. I suspect the hygiene standards in restaurants leave something to be desired.
If I ever go again, I am eating nothing but biscuits for the entire trip.
Don't eat salad and always specify no ice in drinks (as the ice is probably made from tap water). Be warned that it's not considered impolite to stare, and you will get a lot of attention, especially if your DD is blonde. Dress modestly (no shorts or strappy tops if not on a beach in Goa).
I've only been to Rajasthan pre-children, but I remember Jodhpur as being a really nice laid-back place set around a beautiful lake. You can go on camel rides, if your DD is OK with that.
If you google the expat websites in Delhi I think you'll find advice on child-friendly places there.
Lived in Delhi for 3 years when our DSs were 4 and 6 as expats with my DH job. Kerala is amazingly beautiful as is Goa. Rajasthan is amazing make sure you visit Jaipur and Jodpur. My fav place was udaipur. And of course visit the taj mahal - best time is to get there is when it opens at about 6am to see the sun rising over it and then head back to hotel for breakfast. It also means you miss the crowds.
You should miss the monsoon in the south then. But to be honest my kids loved rain it was just like taking a shower and then the sun would come out again! Indians are the friendliest people and love kids so you'll never be short of attention.
Just a few health tips. Make sure you have rabies shots. Because we lived there we didn't do marlaia tablets just were precausious I.e deet spray, burning coils, plug in replenants. And it sounds weird but we all ate marmite on toast for 3 years and hardly ever got bitten by mozzies aparently they hate marmite!!
Also ice, don't have it in any drinks outside of the big 5 star hotels. Make sure if you get water the bottles are sealed before you open them. It'll bad water rather than food that will give you an upset tummy.
We travelled a lot by train, 1st class is cheap and comfortable but you must make reservations as they get busy. Have an amazing time. It's a fantastic country
Wow, that sounds great.
Where are you staying in South India.
I have taken my Dc when they were a year old and use to bathe them in bottled water!! You do get distilled filter bottle in 5, 10 litre quantities.
We go quite regularly to South India ( family live there) - If you are into cultural/ architecture don't miss Mahabalipuram( near chennai) , lots of really good temples( you don't have to be Hindu) ,Hampi, Ajanta and Ellora.Forgot to mention the boat trip in the backwaters of Kerala ...bliss.
People are extremely friendly. Don't buy anything at the quoted price. Are you sure about the Malarial prohylaxis?
Don't take many clothes so you can buy lot of good quality cotton clothes, Pashminas etc.,
Have a good time. We are hoping to return this Christmas.
Pm me if you want any further or specific information
Highly recommend the local insect repellent Odomos, which is available as a gel and a spray and easily obtained from pharmacies and supermarkets. The stuff I bought from the UK was useless against local beasties. Second going native and buying kurtas and light cotton trousers while you are there. Kids clothes (western style) are also excellent value. I've been to India 3 times and always eaten vegetarian food which has kept me healthy for the duration and on some hectic itineraries.
These are all great tips, thank you everyone. Will have everything crossed that DD doesn't get sick, but if we are super vigilant, there's very little else we can do.
Both dd and I are vegi so hoping that might help...
For the people who have been with children, did you search out a list of hospitals/drs in the area before you left, or relied on local knowledge? I'm thinking if DD gets sick we take her to a hospital w/in 24hours, or do you think I'm being hysterical or sensible?
I really appreciate all the advice!
These are my tips:
- Take some oral rehydration sachets and some Imodium in case of getting sick
- let your little carry their own mini backpack with a few favourite toys in and a thin snuggly shawl that they can curl up in / hide under when they need a nap
- If you get sick eating plain rice and curd (plain yogurt) can help settle tummies
- consider staying in a homestay - I guarantee you'll be taken much better care of than in a hotel. It will be a family atmosphere and they'll probably dote on our little one
- when you're buying bottled water check the seal on the bottle very carefully - if there isn't one or it looks tampered with don't buy it - it might be tap water.
- if you fancy a change from spicy food look out for German bakeries. There is a fantastic one by the sea in Kovalam, Kerala, and I think you get them all over.
- carry a small bottle of hand cleaning gel and use it frequently.
Have a great time, and report back when you return
As far as the doctors are concerned - your best bet would be to go to hospital like Apollo and it is nationwide chain of hospitals. Maybe you can ask for a doctor / paediatrician trained in Uk or US and you are likely to find one who is trained here.
Good luck and some great advice here - I'm envious of your trip! I travelled independently by rail a few years ago and loved it!
Yy to everything mentioned above. I got very ill in Delhi and am vegetarian. I've heard that handling money can be a risk for illness so do wash hands regularly/use antibac.
Also take some toilet roll/wipes, especially on trains. You can go native to some extent but it's useful to have wipes too.
Be prepared to see a lot of poverty - you may want to talk to your children about this in advance - I.e why you can 't help everyone and why you need to be careful of your things. (I had my phone and mp3 stolen on the sleeper train).
Splash out on aircon rooms and transport!
you will have a great trip. We spent 3 months in Nepal & India with DD1 when she was rising 2.5 years. She didn't get sick once
because she didn't eat anything that wasn't chips Always have snacks with you - cereal bars were our standby. First class on trains & you will be fine, there is plenty of space to roam around up & down & the beds are a novelty to explore for the first 30 mins.
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