Family travel snap: visiting the Taj Mahal

This month our family travel snap is from India's Golden Triangle, where Lonely Planet writer Lorna Parkes and her young family visited the world-famous Taj Mahal.

Kids Blog - Lornajpg

What’s the story behind this photo?

After a hot, dusty and incredibly noisy day exploring Agra Fort, this was our first glimpse of the Taj Mahal. We’d been aiming to visit a sunset viewing platform a couple of minutes down the road from where this picture was taken, but it had just closed when we arrived. So instead we climbed up onto a sand dune with a couple of other stragglers. In the distance we could see the specks of hundreds of tourists beneath the Taj, but this first encounter gave us a completely different impression of the site.

Once the kids were asleep that evening, we ordered curries and a couple of beers from the homestay’s family kitchen and had them on the roof terrace beside our room, with the ghostly illumination of the Taj Mahal visible in the distance. The next morning, we took advantage of our little early risers and made sure we were at the Taj when its doors opened around 7am.

My son’s reaction to the Taj Mahal was incredible. This was the first trip we’ve done with him (now four years old) where he really took an interest in what we were doing. The excitement is written all over his face in this photo.

Kid's perspective

‘Just like Go Jetters! I had a lovely time at the Taj Mahal. It’s the same on all sides [he’s talking about the symmetry, which is mentioned in the Go Jetters episode]. I liked the towers – so long and tall – and that we could go inside it.’

Lorna’s tips for visiting the Golden Triangle with kids

1) Hiring a private car with driver significantly reduces the stress of getting around, especially if your kids are young and you need to take a pram with you.

2) There’s so much to see in this area of India, so it’s extremely tempting to overdo it but either give yourself longer or rein yourself in. Kids need down time and trying to cram in everything is not a recipe for a happy trip.

3) Take a hand-sanitising hand gel for each member of the family to use.

Where’s next on your family travel bucket list?

We’ll be visiting another wonder of the world, the Great Wall of China, on a stopover before landing in New Zealand for New Year. My brother emigrated to Auckland 10 years ago and we got a brilliant flight deal with Air China, so the opportunity to go before my daughter turns two (and has to pay for a seat) was too good to pass up.

Lastly, complete the sentence:

When we shut the front door ready to go and travel as a family, we always make sure we have...

…snacks. Virtually every travel mishap can be smoothed over with crackers, rice cakes or fruit.

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