India is a family-friendly destination with plenty to offer to kids — from safe beach destinations to adventures in the jungle and wildlife encounters. Minors will need to apply for their own Indian visa and parents should prepare for their trip to India by packing accordingly and reading safety advice.
Do children require a visa to travel to India?
All travelers need a visa for India. Minors (including newborn babies) are no exception. This means that travelers must complete a separate visa application for India for each child. Parents will need to make sure to submit all relevant documentation and comply with the visa requirements for India.
You can apply for different types of visa for India depending on the purpose of your trip. Fortunately, there are several visas for India that can be obtained entirely online. The online tourist visa for India will allow you to stay in the country for 90 days (180 days for holders of certain passports) and engage in tourism activities as well as visit friends and relatives and attend yoga retreats in India. Holders of business eVisas can remain in the country for up to 180 days while a medical online visa allows its holder to enter India up to 3 times for a total of 60 days.
Remember to take all relevant documentation for traveling with children with you. This may include:
- The minor’s ID and birth certificate
- Medical information such as allergies, vaccinations, special needs
- A consent letter signed by the child’s parents or guardians if you’re traveling with someone else’s child
Places to visit and activities for children in India
India is a vast country with plenty to offer to visitors of all ages. Depending on the type of holiday you prefer, you will need to plan ahead and find out the best areas to visit in India with your children. The following is a list of kid-friendly destinations in India sorted by activity:
- Beach holidays. India’s 7516 km of coastline offer a great number of safe and guarded beaches. Most families head to Goa (Palolem and Patnem especially) and Kerala (Kovalam and Varkala).
- Fun outdoor activities. Kerala is the ideal place for boats and kayaks with stunning canals and rivers surrounded by lush vegetation. The UNESCO World Heritage Darjeeling Himalayan Railway provides a safe and spectacular antique steam locomotive journey that kids will love. Horseriding, cycling, and hopping on a rickshaw are all fun activities that can be experienced everywhere in India.
- Wildlife. Few things fascinate children like meeting tigers, elephants, and monkeys. In Madhya Pradesh (the original land of The Jungle Book) you’ll find a great number of tiger parks, while wild elephants can be spotted in Kerala and dolphins in Goa.
Is it safe to travel to India with a child?
India can feel vast, crowded, and overwhelming for parents coming from abroad. However, discovering Indian culture and natural beauty will easily turn into an unforgettable experience for the whole family.
India is a safe country with relatively low crime rates. Important safety advice when traveling to India with children include:
- Be aware of traffic. Traffic in India can be chaotic and you’ll often find that pavements are insufficient. Using pushchairs can be a real challenge and most parents avoid them.
- Be prepared. Bring extra formula, diapers, napkins, medications, and everything you may need. You may find it hard to find new ones when you need them — which may result in a frustrating experience for both you and your child.
- Embrace the local culture, but be firm. You will probably be surprised by the number of strangers that will approach you to socialise with you and your family — and countless of times, even to take pictures with them. Although this is not considered unpolite according to Indian culture, you can and should say no and be firm if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe at any time.
- Avoid food and water contamination by not buying food from street vendors and always drinking bottled water. Avoid raw meat and fish, and only eat fruit and vegetables that can be peeled.