India family holidays
Many of our most well-loved stories are full of Indian imagery, conjuring up jungles, elephants, spice trails and palaces that fire children’s imaginations. Family holidays to the real India are even more unforgettably vivid, brimming with history, wildlife and kaleidoscopic colour.
Follow in the footprints of tigers, and lose yourselves in fortified cities. Explore Kerala’s enigmatic backwaters, discover mouth-tingling new flavours, and rumble through rolling landscapes by train...
Our individually tailored family trips navigate you through the sensory overload to the heart of India’s compelling culture, giving this phenomenal country a family focus, and letting the wonder speak for itself.
Highlights of a family holiday in India
- Watch rainbow-hued kites soar into the skies over Jaipur. Settle into the rhythm of the rails rumbling between Delhi and Agra by train.
- Imagine yourself in the historic courts of Rajasthan’s aristocracy as you wander through magnificent palaces.
- Get heart-racingly close to majestic Bengal tigers, sloth bears, crocodiles, elephants, leopards and more...
- Boat beneath palm trees as you navigate Kerala’s evocative backwaters.
- See streets from Jodhpur to Goa sparkle with a thousand lights during Diwali season and beyond.
With a UK based team of Destination Specialists with offices and partners across Asia, ensuring we focus on staying really local in our approach. Our specialists have travelled extensively in India and throughout Asia, many having also lived in the region.Along with enjoying great travels, the team regularly inspect the best hotels, seek out new activities and design new routes – for inspiration we’d suggest taking a look through some of their Favourite Journeys. The weather during any of the kids' holidays is always an important consideration and we have that covered with our best time to visit India section.
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How to spend your time...
Three of our favourite family-friendly itineraries in India
..and where to rest your head..
Three of our favourite family-friendly hotels in India
India with kids: what to expect?
No two family holidays to India are ever the same; it’s a vast country that gets under your skin, drawing travellers back time and again to see more.
One of our favourite areas in India for a family holiday is the northern state of Rajasthan, which offers a huge variety of family-friendly adventures in its magnificent fortified cities.
Explore Jaipur’s elegant Pink City, defined by towering architecture and rooftop bazaars. Journey out to see cheeky rhesus macaque monkeys at the Galtaji temples, or explore the intriguing Amber Fort. The ramshackle rooftops of Jodhpur’s Blue City are dwarfed by the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort rising above them. Budding historians can learn gripping tales of Rajasthan’s regal past within its ancient walls.
Become enchanted by the twinkling reflections on the water in Udaipur, the ‘City of Lakes’, and let the kids run off steam between the elephant statues in the Garden of the Maidens. Make young wildlife enthusiasts’ eyes widen at the sight of panthers, birds and, of course, tigers on safari in the easily-accessible Ranthambore National Park.
If wildlife watching is top of your family’s list, head to Madhya Pradesh, which leaps straight from the pages of Kipling’s Jungle Book. Baloo-like sloth bears stumble through dense vegetation peppered with ruined temples, while Shere Khan’s real-life descendents can be spotted prowling through Bandhavgarh or Kanha. Chambal National park is a haven for birdlife, a world away from the tourist trail, where you can listen to tales of pirates and crocodile encounters as you boat out on new adventures.
Uttar Pradesh offers a glimpse into an India of legend, from the eye-widening wonders of the Taj Mahal, to the moving spirituality of Varanasi. Take a train from Delhi to Agra to enter the state in old-school style.
Delhi is most peoples’ entry point to India, and is just as much of a cacophony of sights, sounds, smells and wonderful chaos as you’d expect! It’s very easy for kids to get overwhelmed, so pace yourselves. Perhaps take a calm wander through New Delhi’s deer park, make time to marvel at the modern splendor of the Akshardham Temple, or visit the rather eccentric-sounding toilet museum!
Goa’s blissful beaches are still the place to head if you’re craving some relaxed hippy vibes. Explore inland waterfalls, go wild with watersports, or keep comic-crazy kids happy with a visit a museum dedicated to Goa’s renowned cartoonist, Mario de Miranda.
The last word in this whistlestop snapshot of India for families goes to Kerala. This sultry southern state, where the region’s famous spices seem to infuse every breath, offers a different perspective. Sail through the atmospheric ‘backwaters’, relax on coconut palm-bordered sands, or catch the excitement of festival season. Settle down in a welcoming waterside homestay, feast on fresh fusion cuisine, and watch fireflies dot the star-filled southern skies.
Our India Specialists' top tips for families
With quite a few parents among our well-travelled Destination Specialists, we know how important it is to get the finer details sorted before travelling with kids, and we always go the extra mile to make sure they are. We want everyone to enjoy each moment without sweating the small stuff.
If you have any questions, or want to have a chat about planning your family holiday to Laos, we'd love to have a chat. In the meantime, here are a few FAQs to help you get started…
- Where to go?!
India’s vastness poses the same question for every visitor: which slice shall we see this time? The choice can be mind-boggling! Take time to pinpoint your family’s needs and priorities, whether that’s watching as much wildlife as possible, exploring as many forts as you can, or finding and unwinding with the very best cuppa in the country. Then, we can craft an India family holiday that suits you down to a [chai] T!
- Will we be travelling long journeys?
Even though travel times are kept to a minimum, some long journeys are usually on the cards. Take a supply of books, games and activities to keep kids engaged on the road.
- Where in India is best for a family holiday?
India is, obviously, huge, and it’s not a country you can see all of in a couple of weeks! When travelling as a family, time is precious, and keeping transfers to a minimum is often a top priority. We often recommend that families focus their visit on Rajasthan, especially if they’ve not been to India before, as it ticks loads of boxes for family-friendly hotels and activities, great wildlife watching, interesting history and culture, and relatively short transfer times between centres. Goa is another popular spot for families, especially those craving that dedicated beach r&r, and is great both as a main destination or added onto an itinerary based elsewhere in India for some relaxing days of sun and sand.
- When is the best time of year for a family holiday to India?
As a result of India being so vast, when it's tipping with rain in one area, there's often bright sunshine in another. Generally, the best time to visit India is December through to March during the cool, dry season, when most of the country basks in bright, warm sunshine and rain is almost non-existent. Do keep in mind, however, that India is a large country with a diverse climate and varied weather conditions which can be changeable. The monsoon drops rain on large parts of the country from mid-June to early September making central and north east India in particular very hard going, with flooding a real risk. The shoulder season months of October, November and April either side are a good second bet for large parts of the country. Though there’s more risk of the odd shower, and both temperatures and humidity are usually higher, you'll often find far fewer tourists and lower prices for accommodation to balance that out.
- How do our guides work in India?
Having experienced, knowledgeable and welcoming local guides on hand during your trip is absolutely invaluable. They’ll be able to meet you upon arrival, liaise with your local drivers, act as translator, and generally make everything go as smoothly as possible. In India, you’ll usually have a different local guide in each place you visit, with detailed knowledge and experience to give you the best experience of that area. They can leave you to your own devices as much or as little as you wish, but we think a good guide is essential for a successful family holiday. We pride ourselves on using only the best guides in a given region. All our guides are trained to the highest level, and fully certified and licensed. The feedback we get from our clients is that the guides make a great trip into an outstanding one. Find out more about our brilliant guides here
- Is India safe for families?
India is a dream destination on many families’ wish lists, and, though family travel there does take careful consideration, has so much to offer. Over recent years, India has become more accessible to families, and there are now many more areas of this vast country open to travelling with kids. Several of our Destination Specialists have travelled in India, and found it welcoming, supportive and reassuring. Its size and scale, especially in the big cities, can feel overwhelming to anyone, kids in particular, so the advice is always to take things at a gentle pace. It’s still a developing destination in places, so some aspects of life will be different to what you’re used to, but the infrastructure in a lot of accessible destinations now has tourism as a major influence, making things ever smoother. If at any time you’re unsure of anything, our fantastic guides and specialists are always on hand to help.
- What vaccinations do I need for India?
When planning a trip to Asia, it’s important to consider the possible requirements for vaccinations and immunisations. Most importantly, we stress that you should contact your doctor or medical practitioner well before you depart to get their advice on any vaccinations you may need for your trip. If you’ve travelled recently and believe that you are already up-to-date, it’s still worth checking as vaccinations have a varying life span. Most of India is designated as low to no risk for malaria on the NHS Fit for Travel website , and it’s worth checking out the NHS Travel Vaccinations site for extra health travel information.
- Do I need a visa to go to India?
All foreign nationals visiting India require a visa, with the exception of Nepalese, Bhutanese and Maldives passport holders, and this must be arranged in advance of travel. Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from your arrival date into India, and must have at least two blank pages. In 2014, the Government of India launched an e-Tourist Visa, which can be used by nationals of 113 countries to enter India at 26 airports. There are three durations available: 30 days, 1 year or 5 years. The e-Tourist visa is valid from the date of issue. The 30-day visa is issued for a double entry; the long term visas are valid for multiple entries. Visit the following website and complete the online form for an e-visa. Give yourself plenty of time as it’s a lengthy form! It’s important that you apply at least 4 days in advance of your arrival date, giving enough time for visa processing. Confirmation of your e-Tourist Visa will be emailed to you. You will need to print off this confirmation and produce it on arrival into India.
- What should I pack for a trip to India?
Light, long sleeved shirts, a light scarf or two, and long trousers or skirts will mean that you’re prepared for any eventuality, including modest dress codes at sites of religious significance. They’ll also help provide valuable protection against strong sunlight and mosquitoes. We’d recommend bringing your own supplies of any essentials, such as nappies, formula etc.,as well as your preferred brand of sunscreen and a good insect repellent, as it might be tricky to get hold of certain things. If you’re travelling with tinies, consider taking a really good baby carrier, as push-chairs might be a pain to get around with.
- What’s the best currency to take to India?
You can’t obtain Indian Rupees outside of India. You can change money on arrival at the airport, in larger hotels and major banks. Banks and ATM’s are widely available in all cities, towns and tourist areas. India is still very much a cash society, so we would recommend always carrying some cash with you, especially lower denominations. One tip: don’t accept damaged bank notes as you’ll have issues trying to pass them on. Credit cards are not widely accepted. You will be able to pay with plastic only in major hotels, high-end restaurants and some shops. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards. Towards the end of your trip do not withdraw large amounts of cash as you will need to change it back before you leave the country and it will inevitably be at a poor exchange rate.