Photos courtesy Manisha Patel

Global mission: A trip to India serves as a cultural crash course for kids

The thought of boarding a plane with young children in tow keeps some parents out of airports all together—too much hassle and stress. But the packing and preparations for a two-week trip to India with an eight-year-old and a five-year-old didn’t deter Rubin and Manisha Patel. Leaving their 18-month-old behind with family, the Patels trekked around the world with their two older children in a quest to visit their homeland.

“Rubin and I had not been back to India in 10 years,” says Manisha. “We had heard that much of India has changed, and we wanted our children to experience it. I was definitely nervous traveling with them. But then we figured ‘Just go with it. Children are easily adaptable.’”

With iPads and snacks in hand, the Patels took the 20-hour voyage from Louisiana to the Gujarat state in India, where both of their families originated, for an 18-day stay. From the home of a cousin in Bardoli, the Patels set out every morning to travel around and expose their children to typical Indian life.

“We didn’t want to do the touristy thing this trip. Traveling in India takes a lot of time, and we wanted to spend our days simply exposing them to the country,” says Manisha. “We plan to take them back in a few years and go to typical tourist attractions when they are old enough to appreciate it.”

Click on the photos in the gallery below for a closer look at this trip: