Exotic Family Travel Has Special Rewards

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The old edict has it that there are two ways to travel: First class and with children. I beg to differ. The trick is to keep them entertained. India is a natural destination for a family vacation, offering all the excitement of forts and castles and the incomparable animal life found in national parks, along the roads and even along a city street.

A recent trip to India took me and two teens to Rajasthan. We started off in Delhi, setting the tone for this active journey. We got to know the Old City by rickshaw – the only way to make your way through this marvelous maze. Our reliable rickshaw-wallah made his way neatly through the crowds as the kids marvelled at the very creative hydro wires that decorate the upper reaches of the buildings and waved to the Delhi kids being taken home from school by other rickshaw-wallahs.

Our road trip through Rajasthan was shepherded by the incomparable Rajender, master of the mini-van, teller of tales, and supplier of endless peanuts and bananas. He maneuvered calmly past camels and cows that wandered across our path and was solicitous of our every need and whim (wow – look at that temple – can we stop here? What’s that delicious smell – can we pull over?)

We kept racking up unforgettable moments throughout the country: travelling by elephant back to the entrance of Amber Fort (maybe slightly hokey, but so much teen fun!), visiting a cliff top fort guarded by playful monkeys (hundreds of photos) and spotting a Royal Bengal Tiger on safari at Ranthambore National Park. Equally precious: watching my teens chat with local school kids in the small village of Narlai where we stayed in a delightful restored palace.

Having our private car and driver made the whole experience effortless. Grand hotels and charming heritage properties rounded it out. Private guides were experts in all the best ways to keep the family engaged. My young one was so engrossed in what she was seeing that she never once turned on her iPod. High praise indeed.

We fashioned this memory filled itinerary with the expertise of Worldwide Quest. Designing the itinerary was almost as much fun as realizing it. When we told them what we really wanted to see, they adjusted the flow of the itinerary. And now we have hearts and hard drives full of memories.

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