Before a trip to Europe with kids there are no fears. Even before a trip to America you have a clear head. But most other places make us, the parents, to hesitate, rethink.
How can I decide if I’ve never been there? Is it safe enough to travel with the kids in India?
That doesn’t have just one answer. The decision has to depend first and foremost on your personality, your limits, and your style of education. The fact that your neighbors just returned from a family vacation in India and had no problems at all shouldn’t matter to you in the least. All you need to do in order to make your decision is to go over the different issues involved in a trip like that and see where you stand in comparison to them:
Low sanitation conditions- in most places in India the sanitation conditions are much lower than what they are in western countries. And there’s nothing to be done about it. Filthy toilets. Filthy kitchens. Stained sheets. Rats. Mice. Monkeys. Cows. And of course Cow shit… that’s India and that’s a part of the experience. If you’re going to try to travel in India without seeing the dirt you shouldn’t even bother going… on the other hand- you can take steps that help in dealing with it.
∴ Bring sheets from home.
∴ Sanitize the toilets and showers yourself.
∴ Apply hand-sanitizer before eating.
∴ Take your shoes off before going in the room.
If you find it hard to deal with filth, and you don’t think you’ll be able to enjoy a trip where it’s not always pleasant going to the bathroom or seeing the kitchen where your food was cooked, don’t go.
Exposure to diseases– especially stomach illnesses and Mosquito transferred diseases. If your children’s health is a sore point for you, think hard before going to India with kids. It’ll be a shame if you’ll be constantly scared throughout the whole trip. And yet, once again, you can take measures to (mostly) help you relax.
∴ keep to the rules of safe eating in Southeast Asia. No half-assing it.
∴ Protect yourselves from Mosquitoes- put on Mosquito repellents, wear long clothes (even of thin material), spray your room.
∴ Mosquito transferred diseases aren’t common in all of India. You can limit your trip only to ‘safe’ places. Basically, you can say that in the north there’ll be less Mosquitoes, starting from Manali and higher. (North India is the perfect destination for a summer vacation).
Driving and transportation– in India they drive differently. In my opinion, the truth is, their way is much better and more considerate than other places, but westerners that land right inside the mess of India will take a while to see the logic behind it. In addition- the roads themselves are sometimes extremely frightening. The drives in India take hours and sometimes days. In most vehicles you won’t find a seat belt…
Beggars and homeless children– the sights of India leave you speechless. People missing limbs, thrown in the street, stinking and covered with flies. Wild haired, rag wearing street children running wild. Tin shacks. Skinny mothers of soft babies sleeping in the temple door.
Chaos and masses– in some cities there are huge masses, noise, honks, and chaos. When you’re travelling with kids, and especially with little kids, that is something that anyone might be scared of, and rightly so. Too many people in one place, that requires maximum attention on the kids. Take that under consideration.
Faraway isolated places– in the other side of the scales stand the isolated spots, the little villages you sometimes find yourself in during a trip to India. You should think about those too, and prepare yourselves to the challenges that places like that might set.
To travel in India without letting it go really deep into you is a waste. True, it doesn’t make it easy. It overflows the senses in every possible way. But if, after you take everything under consideration you’ll decide to go- go with all your heart. And let the kids be there with everything it means.
Need help planning your trip? Send me an email and we’ll coordinate a call where I’ll answer all your questions, fears, and queries. And tell you all the little things you need to know before setting out.