Readers of this blog may well have read about our incredible family trip to South India in 2008.
Well, five years later, we decided to go back.
Gal, who was 11 then and is now 16, had two major complaints about our last trip. The first was the Taj Mahal – how could anyone possibly plan a trip and not go visit it (like us). The second was that we hadn’t seen a tiger back in 2008, and she had been terribly disappointed.
Well, planning this trip I could guarantee her one thing – we would go see the Taj. Tigers…well, we’d try, but they are wild animals and unless we went to a zoo, it would all be a matter of luck.
For first timers, India seems like an impossibly exotic destination to visit with kids. One thinks of terrible slums, disease, dirt, chaos, crazy traffic, and stuff like that. And yes, India is like that in many ways. But India is huge and developing incredibly quickly, and it is becoming easier and easier to visit the country and avoid most of that bad stuff. You can do it in the South, as we found out in 2008, and you can do it in the North too. It’s an incredible destination for families.
My first visit to North India was back in 1994. India was crazy. Terrible pollution, ridiculous traffic, touts everywhere and terrible transport and communications. It’s become a lot better.
But first things first. When visiting a country like India, you have to be well prepared.
Visas: You need them! This has now been outsourced and so you no longer go to the embassy or consulate. Works fine but it can be very expensive for a family, depending on your nationality.
Vaccinations: You need them! Visit a travel clinic and see what you might need.
Medical Kit – take everything you think you might need. We were very well equipped with antibiotics, creams, ointments, band aids, and everything else.
Malaria Pills – the good news is that Malarone is now available in a generic format. Still not cheap, but so much less than it used to be.
Itinerary – get help! It’s a country that requires expert advice.
Flights: We flew via Korea. When it comes to travel to Asia, I try to fly on Asiana, a wonderful Korean airline. Lots of leg room, great entertainment and they really come across as wanting to do their best for you. One of the very few 5* rated airlines in the world, and often with good rates from the West Coast.
For our family, India is the most exotic country on earth. We couldn’t wait to go back.
With everything lined up and ready, we flew from Seattle via Seoul to New Delhi!
I plan great trips to India. If you’re interested, click here.