India with teenagers
How to make it work!
India is enthralling and eye-opening, with something different and fascinating to see at every turn. With its rich cultural heritage, lush jungle, abundance of wildlife and beautiful beaches, all set against a colourful and slightly chaotic backdrop, it is the ideal destination for a family adventure.
India can be overwhelming as a destination, there is so much to do and see that visitors often end up trying to do it all and doing far too much. Unless you want some seriously grumpy teenagers, we would suggest doing the opposite. Take your time, have a well-planned itinerary allowing plenty of opportunity for relaxation and time by the pool, and incorporate a good mix of activities.
So what would we recommend in an itinerary for a family?
- Exploring the historical sites of India’s Golden Triangle – Delhi, Agra and Jaipur
The look on your child’s face when they set eyes on the Taj Mahal for the first time will be a moment you’ll never forget. Our advice would be to pick one or two main sights per day, head out early in the morning and late in the afternoon when it is cooler, and where possible, use the middle part of the day for enjoying the hotel pool.
- Get out of the city for a few days to discover India’s wild side
An easy detour between Agra and Jaipur, a safari in Ranthambore National Park, in search of tigers and a host of other diverse wildlife, is a fantastic family friendly activity, and a welcome break from the busy cities. There are some charming properties on the outskirts of the park, Khem Villas being a particular favourite, where you can stay in safari-style luxury tents, or thatched roofed cottages.
- Explore India’s rural areas
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and slow down for a day or two whilst exploring India’s beautiful countryside. Village walks, bike tours, camel and camel cart rides, are wonderful ways to see village life and meet the locals. You can also take a hot air balloon ride for incredible views from above, and we’d highly recommend spending the night in one of India’s many old Forts and Palaces.
- Get to the heart of India’s culture
Explore the markets, interact with locals, try different cuisines, learn traditional arts and crafts, and watch traditional dance or music performances. A rickshaw ride in India is a great way to experience to hustle and bustle of the Old Cities, and something the whole family will love.
- Travel by train
India has an extensive rail network with carries over 23 million passengers a day! Ditch the car for one leg of your journey, and hop on a train for a fascinating experience.
- Finish your trip with a stay on the beach
For a total change of pace, combine a trip to Northern India with the tropical southern state of Kerala. Here you’ll find beautiful beaches, enchanting backwaters, rolling hills and spice and tea plantations. For active families, there are some wonderful hiking, cycling and nature trek trails, and the kids will love spending a night exploring the backwaters on a traditional rice barge. No trip to Kerala is complete without a stay on one if it’s many palm-fringed, white sand beaches, with swimming, water sports, yoga, meditation or just pure relaxation.
Where to stay?
Hotels in India are generally really family friendly, children are welcome everywhere, and the choice of hotels is excellent. Whether you prefer to stay in a heritage style property or a modern hotel, almost all of our recommended hotels have a good sized swimming pool, good Wi-Fi, and many have a choice of restaurants offering an excellent selection of Indian and International cuisines.
Any final tips?
India has varying climates, so check each destination you are travelling to before you pack, depending on the time of year, you may find some places colder than expected. It is recommended that you dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites, and take comfortable walking shoes.
India can be a sensory overload with its bustling cities, diverse traditions, and unique customs. A sense of adventure, a lot of patience and an open mindedness to embrace the new experiences are all highly recommended!
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