India is rarely a top travel destination for young families. The ever-jostling crowds, the incessant honking, the haggling, the selfie requests, the red tape, the litter, and the infamous ‘Delhi Belly’. It’s certainly an attack on the senses and travelling India can hard work at the best of times, let alone with little people along for the ride. So travelling India with young kids, is it worth it?
For those families that take on the challenge, the rewards can be great. Check out our post: Twelve Tips for Travelling India with kids. India truly is incredible and you will experience adventures like nowhere else on the planet. Although for some, understandably, it’s just too much and there are so many other places to explore in this world for half the hassle.
So we reached out to some top family travel bloggers who have also travelled India for their honest thoughts, and we asked them the all-revealing question: would you go back?
Katja from Globetotting
Age of kids: 18-months when the family moved to India and their daughter was born in India. They lived in India for three years.
“During our three years living in India we travelled a lot, both to explore the country and to escape the craziness of New Delhi where we were based. Many of our trips were incredible such as our stay at the Glenburn Tea Estate in Darjeeling and the RIFF festival in Jodhpur. But there were also moments when we wished we had never left home, such as the time we waited for hours with a toddler and a baby in 35deg heat on the platform at Old Delhi Railway Station for an overnight train that never came. But this is India – a country full of amazing highs and crashing “what on earth are we doing here” lows.”
Would you go back? “Absolutely!”
Dawn from 5 Lost Together
Ages of kids: 5, 6 and 8
“We spent a month in India with our three kids and both the highlight and low light occurred while on trains.
The lowlight was my 5 year old coming down with food poisoning on the train. The night before we had been having dinner at a local restaurant. They had brought metal cups full of water, which we usually put aside as we always drank bottled or filtered water in India. Before we could put the cups aside, my five year old took a drink. No big deal, we thought; the restaurant was a pretty nice local place. In the night he woke up sick, but we had to board a train to get to an airport in another city. On the train the vomiting turned to the other type of sickness and the poor kid only had a hole in the train’s floor as a toilet. That trip I learned how well Imodium works, but it was a rough couple of hours.
The highlight occurred in our first week in India and is one of my fondest memories of our time in India. We ended up in a carriage where you needed a reservation, which we didn’t have. A large extended family took us under their wings, squeezed us in between them, gave up their seats for the kids and bought us chai from the chai vendors that roam the trains. We talked about India, we talked about Canada, we talked about their lives and they doted on our children. We kept in touch with them throughout our time in India. It was serendipity that we met them at the airport when we were leaving as they were meeting an uncle there. To be befriended by strangers in a foreign country is one of the most precious parts of travelling.”
Would you go back? “Definitely! We spent our month in India in the south and we are eager to explore the North next”
Ian from The Travelling Page Family
Age of kids: 3 and 5
“Family travel in India with young children has been amazing so far. Our best times have been our kids playing with local kids, and attending a Hindu wedding in an ancient temple. The spectacular sights and delicious food are nice too. Our worst time was definitely the whole family being sick on an overnight train. Our strangest times are what we call the selfie-storms. Imagine dozens of young men and whole families surrounding you and wanting to hold your kids for selfies. Now I know what it feels like to be facing the paparazzi.”
Would you go back? “It’s been a really great experience so far; we’re halfway through our 2 month visa and we’re already planning a second visit next year.”
Sara from The Wheelers on the Bus
Age of kids: 5 and 8
“Having been on the road for 9 month, Northern India was our hardest destination so far. Why? Well we decided to go at the height of summer for one, which was particularly stupid. It was HOT and low season, so transport was limited but mainly because TOO MANY SELFIES. Our dream trip to the Taj Mahal ended abruptly with hysterical children. People were lovely one-to-one, but the intensity of all of the attention was just too much and followed us everywhere.”
Would you go back? “We wanted to love it, but would you flog a dead horse? No, we won’t be going back.”
Susannah at Our Tribe Travels
Age of kid: 5
“A day doesn’t go by where I don’t have to ask my 6 year son to stop shouting. In his excitement to tell me about what happened in the latest Ninjago episode, or what he did at school with his friends, his volume is always set to loud.
So when we arrived in India, hot humid and sticky, my son was in his element. India is often described as an ‘assault on the senses’. Before living there I used to picture the colourful saris and temples and imagine the strong scent of spices and fresh fruit, but I’d never considered the sounds associated with this vibrant country.
Cue LOUD. EVERYTHING is LOUD. The music is always turned up to the max, the horns beep incessantly, warning of their presence even though the traffic has ground to a halt, and the live drumming and street parties should come with a health warning.
“Mummy, Mummy, MUUUMMMMMMY”
“Sorry Alf, but you’re going to have to speak up. I can’t hear you.”
Only in India “
Would you go back?: “Yes. I would love to go back to India. It’s really got under my skin.”
Click here for Susannah’s video for how loud India really can be!
To read more about travelling India with young kids, head to our India page.
The India Lonely Planet is an excellent guide to purchase for further research.