India, I love you!

It’s been an amazing few months for us! We’ve worked on some really interesting jobs and eaten far too much airline food!

In March we had two development jobs in India and they were incredible to work on. But before I tell you about them, I want to share about the little holiday we had for two wonderful weeks in that unforgettable country.

We met up with our gorgeous friends Jean and Quigley over in India. (You can see Quigley’s website over here.)¬†Between us, we were traveling with six kids and I can say it was more than a blast – it was wonderful, awe-inspiring fun!

Here is a little video I made now in collaboration with INTREPID TRAVEL about our trip that includes tips on how to travel in India – staying healthy and happy!

And here are those very tips in a little more detail than you would have seen in the video!

1. Drive in TukTuks – this is the best way to see the streets and feel part of the crazy fun!

2. Eat only vegetarian and cooked food. Stay away from dairy too… I have done multiple trips to India now and as long as I obey this rule I stay healthy. Even our kids have never gotten sick in India! We do eat bananas and things we can peel ourselves, but everything else has to be cooked!

restful-room 3. Stay somewhere restful. If traveling with kids somewhere like India, spend a little more on your accommodation and stay somewhere amazing and peaceful. It will be a welcome respite to the crazy, fun streets. We stayed at Jas Vilas in Jaipur and it was by far our favorite… They served truly amazing food and as soon as you walk through the gates calm enfolds you.

window2¬†4. Wear clothing that covers your knees. I am always taking my cues of what to wear from the locals. However I don’t find wearing a sari very practical for me, so we try to be as considerate as possible and cover our knees without wearing anything too revealing. We got stared at enough without adding in some extra skin!

scenes 5. Go shopping! India is my absolute favourite place for shopping. Check out markets and stalls and go to where the locals shop because it will be interesting and fascinating and totally exciting and extremely exhausting too!

window 6. Buy local handcrafts.¬†Actually, whatever you find that you like BUY it NOW! You probably won’t see it again… I always thought ‘I will get that later’, but often you don’t find it again later… you find something else! Having said that, if you do find it again it will definitely be cheaper! LOL!

puppets 7. Take photos.¬†Take photos, take photos! It seems obvious, but take loads. I recommend the Panasonic Lumix GX7 as the best little travel camera ever! I LOVE, LOVE it. I am not sponsored to say that – though I would like to be. ūüėČ

hearts 8. Use hand sanitizer. Food seriously tastes better eating like a local with your hands, but you are going to want to clean them. So use the sanitizer generously! (We went through lots of this!)

9. Don’t drink the water… (which I think is obvious). But also use bottled water to clean your teeth.

10. Sometimes it is hard to remember to not use the tap water… especially when staying somewhere nice. So we put coloured tape on the taps to help us remember – especially the kids!

mirror-room 11. Have some clothing made. One of my most favourite things to do is get some clothing made. Take your long loved dresses or pants and get them copied! So fun to pick fabric and see it come together.

12. Write a diary. Because it all goes so fast and you may forget wonderful details. It will be a delightful surprise to read it all later!

13. Dance and find festivals that are going on and get involved. India has the most fun festivals… Diwali and Holi are the most well known one, but there’s a stack more so check out what is on when you go!

holi 14. Calming oils. Quigley traveled with this wonderful collection of oils that help with calming… There’s also oils to help you sleep, relieve neck ache and an antiseptic plus a whole bunch more. These were a life saver more than once. Especially the stress relief! Sometimes on the streets with all the chaos and buzz the kids can get overwhelmed… (and the adults!! Ha!) So luckily we had this little roll-on oil that we used, and it really did work! You can contact Quigley for details.

15. Get Henna Tattoo’s¬†(or Mehendi). Find someone on the street or in a mall who can do your hands or feet. It is wonderful fun to watch them doing these amazing designs so fast. This is usually the first thing I do when getting to India!

henna 16. Visit all the Palaces and forts you can. They are astoundingly beautiful and the stories that go with them are just as amazing. Sometimes we just went exploring and seeing what we could find and sometimes we did the audio tour. Both are fun… Younger kids mostly enjoyed the chasing each other through dark passages and finding hidden rooms. Actually I also enjoyed that!!

hanging aroundpalace time 17. Travel with friends! This one is NOT in the video but I can’t recommend highly enough travelling with good friends… We went to Bali once with some other lovely friends and had loads of fun too… Also we did a Great Ocean Road trip in Kombi’s with more friends. All have been amazing, fun experiences. It really is wonderful as you can get away for a massage or something ‘sans kids’ and the kids have fun together which means you get all this free time to think and chat!!

friends-and-travel Also for the photography peeps… I tested out the OUTEX waterproof housing for the Holi festival as I didn’t want paint in my camera, and it worked really well. Afterwards the kids took the camera into the pool and it also worked well there too! Yay!

Well, I hope this helps with any of your travel plans to India or another exotic location! We had a blast and hope you do too!

Hugs, Hailey