How did I find myself travelling in India with kids?
Rewind back, even just to the beginning of the nineties, and you didn’t see many foreign children on the beach here in Goa – but now travelling in India has become so much easier and hotels and restaurants welcome families with open arms. Come sunset you see families with babes-in-arms and teenagers enjoying the beach and the waves.
Traveling in India with kids – the beginning
In 2012 I was pregnant with my first child Ruby and felt very happy to be bringing up my family in Goa. In 2009 I left my life in London as a fashion buyer for Urban Outfitters and started designing my own range with Fumie and selling direct at the fantastic Saturday Night Market. Then both Fumie and I were pregnant and designing our raw silk square tops to make breastfeeding in public easier. With a few conscious adjustments and compromises, bringing up children or travelling in India with kids is simple and rewarding.
India is a very child friendly place and every day I appreciated the abundance of nature that the children get to experience…not only the beaches and rock pools of north Goa but the banyan trees, the jungle, the wandering cows, clucking chickens and chatty monkeys that you find all over Mama India – it really is Nature’s playground.
We launched our first children’s collection inspired by our girls and our love for natural fabrics. This first kids collection was mini versions of four of our favourite styles in the FARA collection. My daughter Ruby’s favourite piece was the kimono as her chosen name is ‘Ruby Sparkly Rainbow Princess Kung Fu Master’, while Fumie’s little girl Shion was in love with the more girly Frill Dress.
As a regular visitor to India for many years, I have naturally learnt a few things along the way about travelling in India with kids. As a long term resident of north Goa, I’ve been able to host friends who have brought their children here on holiday too. We are lucky that there is also a well established, conscious ex-pat scene and some amazingly innovative schools, friendly local doctors and dentists that make living in Goa as practical as it is enjoyable and idyllic.
Here are my top tips for travelling in India with kids.
What to Pack?
Essentials for travelling in India with kids
Bring the tried-and-tested medicine from home that you know works for your child, rather than playing roulette with new brands. For my kids, I always bought baby Nurofen and Calpol for fevers; savlon (the dry spray is good for little cuts on tiny toes if they are in and out of the water) and gripe water for Max when he had colic – although alternatives in India are available.
There is a fantastic ayurvedic (Indian holistic medicine) and homoeopathic pharmacy called Union in Mapusa (see location here); this is a great place to stock up on homoeopathic treatments and creams. My friend Alexandra who is an acupuncturist with a 10-year-old daughter here swears by the Apis Meluca cream and globules for insect bites; arnica cream is great for bruises and they have a good homoeopathic starter kit which is a great travel set. Naveena who worked as a midwife here in Goa for many years recommends a travel kit including Nux Vomica (sickness), hypericum (cuts), arnica (bruises) and aconite (for the onset of colds). And for stressed-out mums, there is always Rescue Remedy! My all-time favourite solution is Kailash Jeevan – an ointment for every cut, scratch, pimple, unidentified sore or rash! It’s available in most general stores as well as pharmacies. People buy it by the armload to take home with them. Calendula powder is also available at the pharmacy for prickly heat or other rashes.
Baby wipes and nappies are horrible for the environment, especially in India where the garbage is such an issue… but I know as a traveller it’s very hard to not use them unless staying put for a while. I used washable nappies with Ruby, but I did have my own washing machine, but the holy bum spray also is a godsend for horrible poo situations!!!
Rehydration salts (or dioralyte) are essential for keeping your kids hydrated – there are some orange flavoured ones here but I found the blackcurrant flavoured ones in the UK went down much better with both my kids. We also swear by coconuts! Wherever you travel in India they are readily available on most streets and markets and there is nothing more fun than trying to find the biggest one in the pile!