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Family Time In India

Discussion in 'Travel advice' started by susieqanderson1, Sep 5, 2015.

  1. susieqanderson1

    susieqanderson1 New Member

    Hi Everyone,

    My family of four from Texas are strongly considering a trip to see India. What should we see? Where are the best places to stay on a budget? One thing I am very concerned about is the seeing so many children in extreme poverty. I will want to take them all home. Any advice on how to deal with that aspect of the trip.


  2. susieqanderson1

    susieqanderson1 New Member

    I have been thinking about it more. We will probably take the trip after all. Just like traveling in Mexico, you have to realize that your mere presence is helping the local economy.

  3. Sramana

    Sramana Member

    Hi @susieqanderson1,

    Please check my reply on the 'Best way to see India' thread for suggestions on popular places to see. If you would rather just unwind and spend time with your family, I would suggest the beaches of Goa or Kerala.

    For staying on a budget, you may know that the US dollar as greater purchasing power than the Indian rupee. So you may be able to stay in pretty nice hotels quite comfortably. I would suggest going by Tripadvisor reviews. Generally you won't go wrong with places with 3 stars and above. Some establishments may be marked 'family friendly', usually those are decent places.

    I understand that it can be distressing to see children in miserable conditions. I felt quite the same way when I spent a few days in Brooklyn, NY or when I passed through the more run down parts of Detroit, MI or some parts of Mississippi. Unfortunately, all over the world, some people (blacks, Dalits, aboriginals) are more disadvantaged than others. And equally unfortunately, 'taking them all home' is not the solution (although more humanitarian immigration policies is one way of taking them all home).

    So how does one deal with it? I think that is one of the best parts of travel: seeing how people all over the world live so that we can examine our own lives in perspective, and understanding that our humaneness can transcend boundaries of class and race. I personally think that it is not about "oh, thank god my life is so much better than theirs." I think it is about understanding that we human beings can survive so much, we can keep our humanity intact even in the midst of unimaginable hardships. I think that such introspection is the best thing one can do in such a situation. Most of us are trying to live our lives in the best way we can within the circumstances that we are in. Nobody wants to be an object of pity or to be talked down to. There are actually 'tourist tours' in Dharavi, Mumbai that caters to westerners who want to 'look at a slum', stare at people and take pictures. Imagine how we would feel if people peeked into our windows and took pictures just as we were sitting down to dinner. These are real people! I am of the opinion that such poverty porn is vulgar. Most people just want empathy, to feel that they belong to the larger march of humanity. So if I were you, I would see if I could treat the people I meet as my equals and talk to them as such.

    If you feel like you want your personal actions to make a difference in their lives, rather than donating money, may I suggest a volunteering? For longer vacations, perhaps an organization like Slum Aid might be right. Other organizations like Voice, Reality Cares etc. have programs where volunteers can work with kids and bring them up to speed with reading, writing and arithmetic. If you may not be able to volunteer, sign up with such an organization and find out if you can make a difference in a child's life in the long run - support their education or finance a medical treatment. Another way to make a difference is to take your meals at local establishments, shop where the local people shop etc. I understand that it can be hard as someone new to the country, but that might be more rewarding in the long run.

    Please come to India with an open mind - not just to help and be of aid, but also to learn and to be helped. We love visitors :)
    BadBoy likes this.
  4. nomad

    nomad New Member

    @Sramana has made a great suggestion regarding getting involved with local charities/aid organizations. There are so many you can get in touch with, even before you leave your home country. If you are involved with any charitable organizations at home (even a local church or similar) they may also have suggestions.

    Regarding where to travel within India, there are nearly limitless options really! I would suggest initially flying into a large city (for example Mumbai) in order to get your bearings well. If you spend a little time in a large city initially you'll find more things you are familiar with to help you adjust to the country. I would recommend having a look online to learn a bit about India. You might find yourself especially interested in particular festivals or local cuisine. This would assist you with your decision-making. Once you decide which places you most want to see you can start exploring accommodation options.

    How old are your children? This might affect how much you want to travel around the country, although my friends did take their two year old on a 3 month trip all over India. For some families this might not be ideal though.
  5. dylan

    dylan New Member

    To see the real India you have to escape the major cities as quick as possible because they are very crowded and unhygienic.Than get yourself a local guide (it will be very cheap).Than move on to the mountain areas like Shimla,Manali,Leh Ladhakh,Nanital,Darjeeling and many more(Rajsthan,utharakhand,kerela,kashmir,shillong,).You can get these information from a local travelling agent.
    you can donate money to a foster home,charitable organizations
    best of luck
  6. Alexandoy

    Alexandoy Member

    This thread is giving me an idea. In November, we are going to Singapore with 2 teenagers. Now if ever we get plane tickets for a trip to India next year, we probably would bring along those 2 teenagers - a nephew and a niece. I'm sure they would love the zoo particularly the safari where we would ride a caged jeep and drive to the savannah where the wild animals are waiting. Not the beach though but they have to also enjoy the temples particularly the Taj Mahal. It would be a family trip then for 4 people.
  7. nomad

    nomad New Member

    @Alexandoy that sounds like a great idea! You'll be able to use the Singapore trip as a practice run for a potential India trip!

    I really enjoy things like safaris and there are plenty of opportunities like that in India. Zoo trips are a great experience for families especially I think. Do you think the teenagers will enjoy visiting the Taj Mahal? It is very impressive! There's nothing like being there, photos really don't do it justice.
    Alexandoy likes this.
  8. Alexandoy

    Alexandoy Member

    Hmm, I'm not sure if the children would like Taj Mahal but for pictorial purposes, I'm sure they will. And to consider that Taj Mahal is a world renowned place so anyone, even adults, would be proud to say that they had been there. A few years ago, there was a movie shot in Taj Mahal. It was made by a popular action star here named Robin Padilla. It was a love story that featured him and his real wife Mariel with the proposing shot in the grounds of Taj Mahal. That movie made the place more popular.
  9. travelguide

    travelguide Active Member

    I am sure your kids would love it if you tell them the story behind Taj Mahal before going there. They will definitely love the ambiance, especially the lush gardens and the enormous reflecting pool which enhances the beauty of Taj Mahal. As you rightly said it is one of the wonders of the world and they will never forget this epic beauty in their life.

    If you are planning to visit Taj do not forget to see Agra Fort which is very near to Taj Mahal. It is made of entirely red sandstone and a beautiful example of Mughal architecture.
  10. Gabydi

    Gabydi Member

    I think that all the amazing experiences you’ll have in this trip will make up for whatever heartache you could feel. It’s also important to remember that this world is made up from different people and cultures. Just because someone seems poor to you does not mean they are suffering and in pain. But in case you still feel your heart aches you can become an active member of a charity organization. Also what you said is true, your presence helps everyone in a country. Tourism is important for every country in this world, not just for Mexico or India.
  11. pwarbi

    pwarbi Active Member

    Visiting other countries does open your eyes to a way of life you may have only ever seen on TV and broadens your horizons, makes you think and gives you ideas about your own life.

    While you will see first hand how people live their life day to day, unfortunately, it's the way of the world that you're going to see the bad aswell as the good.
  12. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    I don't know if this will help or make it worse, but when I have traveled to countries that had varying levels of poverty, I often checked to see if there was an orphanage or child center that I could volunteer at for the day. It was very rewarding and before I went on trips I would collect things that the schools/orphanages were in need of - things like school supplies (notebooks, pens, colored pencils) were all helpful.

    It made me feel like I was giving back to their community but I will say it is an emotional experience. It might be worth looking into though, if you think it could help.
  13. baldyhead

    baldyhead New Member

    Some really helpful insight, we're looking to do a family trip too. I'd really like to pick a few safe small villages to visit during their Pawgwha or Diwali celebration.
  14. Ritika Sharma

    Ritika Sharma Member

    Starting from Chhattisgarh Waterfalls, temples, sculptures and wildflife sanctuaries are some of the best places to visit and for stay there are number of resorts available at an affordable cost with quality service.