Travel to India With Kids: Our Tips After Living There For One Year

When my oldest children were 3 and 1, our family spent a year living in India. Traveling to India from the US with kids was a big feat.

We discovered many cultural differences from the US. Some were expected, and others caught me by surprise.

Sharing the beauty and culture of India with our kids is something we don’t regret.

READ: Flying With Kids: Tips & Activities
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TRAVEL TO INDIA WITH KIDS – THINGS TO KNOW

Indians Love Children

Luckily, I was warned about one specific cultural difference that I found very surprising: young Indian men love babies.

Our year in India exposed the kids to different cultures at a young age. I hope it fosters in them appreciation of the world’s diversity. One thing that makes India special is their LOVE for children. Children are welcome everywhere. It’s understanding and navigating everything else in the country that makes visiting the country difficult! This guide also includes how to plan a trip to India with kids. Don't forget to save this to your travel board!

In the US, the stereotypical baby lovers are old ladies and pre-teen girls. I had plenty of grandmas cooing over my young children in Southern California grocery stores.

But in India, for some reason, it’s the young adult men adoring babies and young children.

My son, Dalton, turned one just before we moved to India, and spent his toddler year there. He is very fair, quite blond, and extremely friendly, especially with adults. All of these attributes made him an instant favorite in any public place.

In contrast, my daughter Maggie, who was three at the time, was much less friendly. Soon after arriving in India, she began to scream anytime someone approached her. Too many ladies peppering her with well-meaning but painful “you’re-so-cute” pinches made her very un-friendly. But Dalton loved the attention and easily made new friends.

Everywhere we went, crowds would form around the kids. Dalton would happily let anyone hold him and pose for photos. Most of these people were either groups of school kids, or young men.

Our year in India exposed the kids to different cultures at a young age. I hope it fosters in them appreciation of the world’s diversity. One thing that makes India special is their LOVE for children. Children are welcome everywhere. It’s understanding and navigating everything else in the country that makes visiting the country difficult! This guide also includes how to plan a trip to India with kids. Don't forget to save this to your travel board!

I wore him in a pouch sling most of the time, to keep people from trying to grab him out of my arms (this happened frequently), but generally he was happy to make friends.

A lot of Americans would consider this kind of attention from a young man creepy behavior, which is why I’m glad I was warned about it. 

It’s just a cultural difference.

READ: Breastfeeding While Traveling | Travel Toys for Kids


Photos With Kids

Besides wanting to hold and touch our little blond baby, everyone wanted to take pictures with him. He started asking to look at people’s cameras or cell phones to see his picture with them afterward.

Our year in India exposed the kids to different cultures at a young age. I hope it fosters in them appreciation of the world’s diversity. One thing that makes India special is their LOVE for children. Children are welcome everywhere. It’s understanding and navigating everything else in the country that makes visiting the country difficult! This guide also includes how to plan a trip to India with kids. Don't forget to save this to your travel board!

Sometimes it wasn’t just the baby. I went to visit some cultural sites with my sister-in-law when she visited, without the kids, and we were surprised by how often young men asked to take photos with us.

Our year in India exposed the kids to different cultures at a young age. I hope it fosters in them appreciation of the world’s diversity. One thing that makes India special is their LOVE for children. Children are welcome everywhere. It’s understanding and navigating everything else in the country that makes visiting the country difficult! This guide also includes how to plan a trip to India with kids. Don't forget to save this to your travel board!

Dalton had a consistent fan club at church, a group of young adult men who entertained and played with him during meetings.

He was also such good friends at our regular McDonald’s that the manager took him behind the counter to show him around.

Our year in India exposed the kids to different cultures at a young age. I hope it fosters in them appreciation of the world’s diversity. One thing that makes India special is their LOVE for children. Children are welcome everywhere. It’s understanding and navigating everything else in the country that makes visiting the country difficult! This guide also includes how to plan a trip to India with kids. Don't forget to save this to your travel board!

We went to many other Asian countries and found they were all more conservative in their baby adoration. No one tried to take my baby from my arms, and sometimes we were even asked permission before photos were taken.

Nowhere else did we experience the enthusiasm for blond babies as we did from young men in India.

Our year in India exposed the kids to different cultures at a young age. I hope it fosters in them appreciation of the world’s diversity.

One thing that makes India special is their LOVE for children. Children are welcome everywhere.

It’s understanding and navigating everything else in the country that makes visiting the country difficult!

READ: Overcome Language Barriers When Traveling


PLAN A TRIP TO INDIA WITH KIDS

Take your time – India moves at a different pace and you cannot do as much in a day as you can in your home country.

Keep bugs away – Focus on keeping covered with mosquito repellent to avoid bites.

Eat what you can – Indians are so open to children and almost every restaurant will make you something to order for your child.

Prepare for poverty – The sight of children weaving between traffic begging, skinny stray animals and the multitude of people sleeping on the streets is common throughout India.

Embrace the differences – The rules are different in India – embrace this. Yes it is not that safe to let your 4 yr old drive an auto rickshaw, but it is allowed and accepted and your kids will LOVE it and remember it forever.

Our year in India exposed the kids to different cultures at a young age. I hope it fosters in them appreciation of the world’s diversity. One thing that makes India special is their LOVE for children. Children are welcome everywhere. It’s understanding and navigating everything else in the country that makes visiting the country difficult! This guide also includes how to plan a trip to India with kids. Don't forget to save this to your travel board!

INDIA CITY GUIDES WITH KIDS

Best Places to Visit in Jaipur – “At first glance, it doesn’t seem like a city made for families, but surprisingly, there’s a lot of things to do in Jaipur with kids. Beyond the busyness, the city itself is an ideal starting point for any family adventure in India and the best places to visit in Jaipur won’t disappoint at any age.” – whereistheworld.ca

Top Places to Visit in Jaipur – “We loved Jaipur and I think because we had no expectations we were pleasantly surprised. There are so many beautiful places to visit in Jaipur, I think it was the perfect place to be introduced to India.” – our3kidsvtheworld.com

Bangalore: 5 Fun Family Activities “This “Garden City of India” is a great place to experience India. With a population of 8.4 million, it is the country’s third largest city and the capital of Karnataka. Its official name was changed to Bengaluru in 2006, but its new name is not commonly used.” – wegowithkids.com

Kerala Highlights“Houseboat tours through the backwaters are the most popular tourist attraction of the area and one of the main reasons we chose to travel to Kerala.” – wegowithkids.com

Things to Do in Fort Kochi“Fort Kochi (or often called Cochin) is often visitor’s first stop when visiting the southern Indian state of Kerala.  While the Taj Mahal beckons in northern India, Kerala offers travelers a slower pace of life in the lush waterways, tea fields and beautiful beaches.” – 5losttogether.com

Northern India Itinerary“Think of Northern India, and the grand palaces of Rajasthan and the iconic Taj Mahal probably come to mind. However, travelling with our 2 and 3 year old boys, we were conscious that a full week of touring palaces and forts may be a bit much.” – travlynnfamily.com

Pondicherry: Top 5 Things to Do“What a lovely surprise this little coastal town was. Whilst there is no mistaking you’re still in India, every now and then a little bit of the past will appear from around a corner, transporting you to a quaint French village, complete with patisseries, colourful colonial architecture and beautiful churches.” – travlynnfamily.com

Explore Adventure, Yoga & Wellness in India – “India is a land of Yoga where travelers enjoy rejuvenation of body, mind, and soul.” – travelwithme247blog.com

 

WHERE TO STAY IN INDIA

While travelling with children, do not compromise with the accommodation.

Book a hotel in advance and choose a one that is kids friendly.

It’s nice if the hotel has a kids playing area and a 24 hours doctor’s facility. You never know when your child will fall sick; a doctor in the vicinity can help you get the medical attention at earliest. 

 

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India with Kids: Travel Planning & Tips   

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18 comments

We have been in India for a few days, the people here are so friendly and we have been in a lot of photos already. I have a very cute 3 year old but for once she is not the only one to get asked for a pic!

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Ha! You do feel ‘famous’! Enjoy your time there!

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You have done an excellent work in passing out the message through this blog, it was really helpful information traveling to India with kids. keep up the good work!

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We are happy to hear it was helpful, thank you!

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The Indian men whom you talked about are probably wanting to settle down and have kids. I read that 25 years old is the ideal age for Indian men and women to get married. Aside from that, they are probably just super friendly to Western families. Dalton looked so happy.

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What a great age for your kids to be there and great that he liked the attention, not so for your daughter though. I haven’t made it to India yet so I had no idea that young men loved kids so much. I have been to countries before when kids and adults have wanted pictures with me because I am so white!!! It can get tiring but if it makes them happy when they have so little then I am all for it 🙂

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It must be awesome to walk around with a little blond photo magnet, although you must have been warned indeed. The photo with the manager at Mc Donalds is really amazing. Although it is just a cultural difference I would be on high alert the whole time, but with all good experiences it must get comfortable.

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I think the “high alert” thing is more of a cultural differ nice in western cultures, where we worry too much. There were definitely some grabby strangers that I was wary of, that’s when I held him close.

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What a great post, thank you! I have considered taking our kids to India but wasn’t sure how kid friendly it is. Boy, it sounds like the complete opposite!! What an interesting cultural difference. I never would have guessed. My kids have dark brown hair so I’m not sure they would be quite as interesting as a lovely blonde baby 🙂 which certainly is a little more unusual to see there I guess. Do they fawn over older children, too, or just babies? Love this cultural difference.

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I think it was mostly babies and toddlers, even the Indian ones. But my four year old was so unfriendly there, I don’t have personal experience.

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I am so glad to hear that you have had such a wonderful experience in India. Yes, lovely to see how so many people just want to take pictures with you, I am sure you felt like a celebrity isnt it? 😛 haha
Meanwhile, your tips about traveling with kids are very well thought off and definitely seem to be a result of your experience.

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I love how much kids are loved in Indian culture! But I would be pretty freaked out if people were coming up to me trying to take my child out of my hands! Thank you for sharing this information because now I will be prepared like you were.

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Once you’re prepared it wasn’t as big of a deal. There were a few time ago I definitely didn’t let him go. But when people are just being f i.e. sky, and he didn’t mind, Dalton loves going to strangers.

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India is a fascinating place and I’m not at all surprised the attention your youngsters got. I received a similar warning/advice before my trip in my mid-20s, that I would be stared and and followed, not because they are stalking you in creepy way, but just a cultural difference and I was going to stand out with my fair skin and blonde hair. What a great place to raise children though – certainly eye-opening but an incredible culture to experience so young.

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Wow, good thing you were warned! That would have creeped me out. I didn’t go out without my kids a lot, except in my own neighborhood where people were familiar with us. And we didn’t go out at night very often at all.

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Wow, Dalton is a star in India! I’m sure if you guys live there long enough when he grows up he could be a Bollywood star. It is a completely different culture there, I would not be happy with people taking my daughter, although the tour of McDonald’s must have been pretty cool.

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