Families are often intimidated by traveling with their kids to developing countries. When we told some of our friends about our visit to the Indian cities of Mumbai and Delhi with kids back in 2016, they were impressed by our adventurousness.
For the most part, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in India. I love the food of Delhi and the historical beauty of Mumbai. And for me, being in a tropical climate always reminds me of my childhood in Indonesia.
But my kids, on the other hand, did not enjoy India. It was too hot (with temperatures of over 110 degrees Fahrenheit in Delhi every day!). The food was too spicy and the streets too chaotic. Adjusting to the time difference was also a challenge for our kids, and we were constantly combating jet lag through the trip.
This post was updated on April 16, 2020.
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Things to know before you go
Delhi, also known as New Delhi, is the capital city of India. The city is located in the northern part of the country, and is home to 18.9 million people. This means things are pretty crowded in Delhi. Population density is roughly 29,000 people per square mile, which is just a little bit more dense than New York City.
The best time of year to visit Delhi with kids is between the months of October and March, during the autumn months, when the weather is fairly pleasant. The winter months can get pretty cold. And the summer months, between the months of April and June, can get unbearably hot. The months of July to September are the monsoon months, and rains can often cause serious delays in flights and trains.
The Lonely Planet Rajasthan, Delhi, and Agra guide book have great suggestions for what to do around the area of Delhi. If you’re planning a visit, take a look at exploring some of the places around Delhi, like the Taj Mahal in Agra.
Getting in and getting around Delhi with kids
The main airport is Indira Gandhi International Airport. This airport services many international destinations. It also services domestic destinations too. You can get flights to other Indian cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, and Kolkata.
In terms of getting around Delhi, families have several options. They can opt to use public transportation, such as buses and trains. We found this to be challenging for our family since we don’t speak Hindi. Another option is to use taxis and Uber. And you can also opt for the three-wheeled auto rickshaws.
For our family, we found that using Uber overseas in Delhi was a pretty convenient option for getting around the city. One benefit is that since you pay with the app, you don’t have to
Tips for a successful visit to Delhi with kids
In hindsight, a trip to India might have been a bit too adventurous for my family, especially in the heat of summer. With more planning, we probably would have chosen a much cooler time of the year to visit India, and also chosen to stay a bit longer than a week and a half. And I think we might have done a better job of preparing our kids for what to expect when they arrived in Delhi.
With that said, taking a trip to Delhi with kids was definitely worth it. Our kids still talk about this trip, even years later. And exposing our kids to a culture that is so different from their own is such a great way to encourage learning through travel.
For families planning a trip to Delhi with kids, you don’t have to worry too much about what to expect. I’ve compiled a list of tips to help make your Delhi visit a memorable one.
Tip #1: Stay at a place with air-conditioning
This is a must! Almost every hotel has air-conditioning. However, if you’re staying at more budget places, you may want to check ahead of time. This is especially true if you’re planning on doing Airbnb family travel or other types of vacation rentals. Always ask the property owner if there is air-conditioning in the place where you will be staying.
Tip #2: Find a local swimming pool or water park
One of the things we love doing is going swimming. And since our Airbnb didn’t have a pool, we went to a local recreation area to get our swimming fix. Fitternity has a list of easily accessible swimming pools in Delhi that families can visit, along with their entrance fees.
Another option for families is to visit a water park. We like visiting water parks with our kids where ever we are in the world, whether it’s Great Wolf Lodge in the United States or a water park in Indonesia. You can check out this list of water parks in Delhi from Holidify to get some ideas of where you want to go with your kids.
Tip #3: Find a museum to spend an afternoon
Delhi has some pretty unique museums. Some of the ones I like visiting are the Gandhi Museum and the Nehru Planetarium. Allot at least a couple of hours for your museum visit, so that you don’t wear out your kids. Traffic around Delhi can get busy, so you also need to account for travel time to and from the museum.
Tip #4: Seek out unique neighborhoods to explore
We like visiting all the interesting neighborhoods in Delhi. During our stay, we stayed in a neighborhood called Green Park, which is within walking distance of the trendy Hauz Khas neighborhood. Another fun neighborhood to visit is Connaught Place.
Tip #5: Spend some time at the mall
I actually don’t enjoy frequenting malls when I’m in the US. But when I’m traveling in another country, malls are one of the places I enjoy visiting. In developing countries, this is usually where the wealthy families shop. So it gives a nice contrast to the clientele you would usually see at a local market.
Malls also serve another purpose when you’re visiting a hot climate: they provide an air-conditioned break from the heat! Malls usually have indoor play areas. This is good a chance for your kids to get some play time and interact with local kids. We found a nice indoor play are at Ambience Mall in the Vasant Kunj neighborhood of South Delhi. However, there are plenty of other great indoor play areas around Delhi that you can take your kids to.
Tip #6: Visit the monuments and outdoor attractions in the early morning
We love being outside as much as we can. This is especially true when we travel. I think that’s why this trip was particularly rough for us. Since we were visiting in the summer, the heat really prevented us from spending too much time outside. One thing that really helped our family out was to plan our outdoor attractions in the mornings, before the heat of the day.
Delhi has a number of outdoor attractions like the Lotus Temple, Red Fort, and Qutab Minar, as well as gardens that are open to the public. Nearby our apartment rental was Deer Park, which the kids enjoyed.
But our favorite outdoor attraction was Lodhi Garden, which was peaceful and surprisingly shady, even by 11 am! If you’re visiting Delhi with kids in the summer, planning your outdoor attraction visits in the morning is the way to go.
Tip #7: Introduce your kids to the cuisine a little bit at a time
My kids had a hard time with the food in India. Even when we would ask for no spice at restaurants, our kids’ food would arrive too spicy for them to eat. Our kids essentially subsisted on bread, mangoes, and yogurt the whole time we were there. If you’re traveling to Delhi with kids, be patient with introducing your kids to Indian cuisine. The combinations of flavors and spices may not always be easy for young kids to accept, and that’s okay. Over time, they’ll come to appreciate the unique flavors.
Tip #8: Bring your own water filter and purifier to stay hydrated
Don’t forget to stay hydrated when you’re traveling in Delhi with kids! Since the tap water in Delhi is not safe to drink, bottled water is pretty cheap. But if you’re an environmentally conscious family like us, you’ll want to carry around your own water filter and purifier to avoid creating more plastic waste. We like using the Grayl water filter and purifier.
Tip #9: Limit the number of activities you do in Delhi with kids each day
Our big advice to parents who travel with kids is to take it slow. This is especially important when you’re traveling to Delhi with kids. Between the heat and the jet lag, the days can get pretty challenging. Adults have an easier time pushing through the heat and jet lag, but kids wear their emotions on their sleeves. If they’re hot or tired, they’ll let you know with fits of crankiness!
Save yourself the stress of dealing with a heat-induced meltdown by limiting your activities to one per day. For us, we did our activities in the morning, and spent the afternoons back at the apartment rental relaxing in the air-conditioning.
Suggestions for places to visit in Delhi with kids
There are so many things to do in Delhi with kids. It could warrant its own blog! Since we only had a short trip to Delhi, we didn’t have enough time to cover all the things that families can do while visiting the city. However, here are a handful of my suggestions for family friendly places to visit in Delhi.
In terms of gardens and outdoor parks, our family really enjoyed visiting Lodhi Garden. There are thousands year old ruins scattered throughout the beautifully well-kept gardens. And plenty of shade to keep kids cool even in the heat of the day. I also like visiting the Garden of Five Senses, and Deer Park.
For museums, the Nehru Planetarium is a great option for kids who are into science and space. The planetarium has shows to teach kids about the night sky. Families will also enjoy visiting the Gandhi Museum. I learned a lot about this national hero, and what he symbolizes for India and the world.
Delhi is home to some amazing monuments and temples as well. For families visiting Delhi with kids, set aside some time in your itinerary to visit Red Fort, India Gate, and Humayan’s Tomb, and Qutub Minar. Additionally, consider visiting the Lotus Temple, a Baha’i temple shaped like a lotus flower. And if you have time for an excursion, plan a day trip to Akshardham Temple, just on the outskirts of Delhi. Or make a trip to Agra to visit the iconic Taj Mahal.
Getting your family ready for a trip to Delhi with kids
Traveling to Delhi with kids doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, it can actually be quite fun. While Delhi may be a big change, culturally, for many families, it’s certainly worth a visit. Especially if you’re bringing your kids along.
Hopefully, these tips will help you prepare for your own visit to Delhi. As with anything else in family travel, a bit of planning and prep goes a long way. And once you come to Delhi, I’m sure you’ll find reasons to come back again!
Have you explored Delhi with kids? What are some tips you have that I missed in this post. Share them in the comments!
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