India is a country that many family travellers are apprehensive about visiting. Let's be honest - travelling in India is not always easy. It’s crowded, noisy, chaotic and dirty. Poverty, death, birth, starvation, hunger and disease will be in your face, and in your children's faces.
But India is also exotic, sensory rich, vibrant, beautiful, historical and completely rewarding.
We haven't been to India yet. Every time I get out a map and guidebook to start planning a trip to India I end up completely overwhelmed.
"Am I ready to tackle India yet? What if I get there and I'm not ready? Will the kids be able to handle the chaos and the scary scary toilets? Will I for that matter?"
But mostly: "Where on earth do we start our trip? And how do I narrow it down from 'all-of-India to a realistic 2-3 month trip with kids where I see everything I want to without spending weeks on trains and buses burning out the whole family?"
Honestly, with a country as large and amazing as India, how do you work out where to start and narrow down where to visit?
We've thought about heading to India a number of times on our travels and almost had cheap flights booked at least twice. When we first started travelling with the kids we didn't feel ready for India. We wanted to get our travel legs in 'easier' countries like Thailand and Malaysia. Then we were tired and not really in the 'right frame of mind'. At least that was our excuse. Now I'd be on the plane next week if I could just work out where to start!
Inspiration time! If you would love to take the family to India but a little unsure for one of hundreds of reasons, or like me have no clue where to start, here are 6 blogs 8 blogs (it was 6 but thanks to suggestions from readers I've included more blogs!) from travelling families who have spent time in India over the past few years to inspire you. Every time I start planning a trip to India I find myself re-reading these blogs, so I hope they will help you too.
With Two Kids in Tow, It's Backpacking We Go
Jess and Jim took their two young daughters to southern India last year. And we're not talking package tours and nice hotels. They spent 3 months backpacking on a budget of less than $50 per day. They visited some amazing locations and I really recommend reading their wrap up post from their three months there.
If you are trying to convince yourself that visiting India will be completely worth it despite (or perhaps because of) the challenges, plus get an idea of how slow or fast to travel with kids, this article is a great place to start.
Kristy and Jeff from Vagabond Kids took their two children to Kerala in southern India last year. Their trip included spending time on beautiful beaches, getting stuck in a hotel thanks to strikes and backwater boat cruises. They have some great tips on their site for trip planning and family travel in India.
Kristy has also done a few solo trips over the past few years to other locations in India. A few weeks ago she got to see the Taj Mahal by herself. I'm more than a little jealous! To show my children the Taj Mahal would be wonderful but to have time there by myself to enjoy it and take photos at my own leisure ... until then I'll just have to enjoy Kristy's post!
Snaps and Blabs
If beautiful photos inspire you more than words, be sure to look at Snaps and Blabs posts from India (although often her words and stories are just as beautiful as her photos). The writing and photos will transport you directly to India.
My favourite is her post of from Kullu in the far north of India. Not a town I've ever heard of or considered visiting, but oh these photos make me want to go there.
Rymans At Large
The Rymans finished their big trip a few years ago now but they were one of our inspirations when we first considered starting to travel. We've met so many other families that were inspired by them as well. The number of times we've been talking about Cambodia and someone has said 'oh did you read about that family's motorbike border crossing from Cambodia into Vietnam' ... that was the Rymans (and if you haven't read it you really should - here's the link)
Anyway, enough about funny border crossings, the Rymans also spent time in India. Their blog updates from India are funny, honest and wonderfully descriptive.
Christine and Drew spent two months living in Goa with their one year old son before travelling around India. Drew actually did more travel than the rest of his family with a mammoth 16 day train journey around India. Was he insane to do it? Quite possibly. 16 days on Indian trains sounds like my own personal hell but as I was reading Drew's account of the trip he almost had me convinced to follow the same journey myself ... almost. I think I'll stick with an overnight train for starters and then I'll decide whether to commit to a more ambitious trip!
Their adventures around India are documented on Almost Fearless with equal amounts of humour, beautiful photos and honesty about their experiences and travel mistakes ... a little too much honestly at times. I'm not sure I will ever recover from the visual images that they both painted of their bouts with Delhi belly. If you're not quite ready to deal with those visuals, try this story instead of one of their most memorable travel days in India. Like the rest of their tales from India, I like that they haven't sugar-coated their experiences so that I can get a good sense of what challenges I might expect if we were to go there, as well as the amazing experiences too!
Discover. Share. Inspire.
The Dennings spent time in India in 2010. On their blog they've uploaded several videos from their time there. From 10000 ducks to kids playing in ancient temples the videos offer a different insight into a family trip to India from your usual written blog post.
Letters from the Larmours
This family has been to India three times with their children. According to to Kirsty, India can be challenging for parents because things don't always go to plan but they love going there as a family. Their children love India because it's vibrant and exciting, and as parents Kirsty and her husband see a completely different side of India thanks to the experiences and insights of their children than when they visited there pre-kids. Kirsty is a photographer so her photos of her kids from India are gorgeous.
Noi6 Around the World
This inspiring family of 5 are almost one year into a 15 month round the world trip. As part of their travels they spent 5 weeks in India. Theirs posts are amusing and insightful, and have lots of fantastic photos. A great resource for anyone wanting to spend time in India with older children. I really enjoy reading their post India, my love where Illeana opens up about the things that initially confronted her about India but how she decided to accept not judge, and how this allowed her to see the beauty and people.
Spent time in India? Share your blog
If you've spent time in India with your family and would like us to include your blog in this list please let us know and we'll add your details.