What to pack for India

  • Don't Over Pack!
    Don't Over Pack!
    by Donna_in_India
  • Don't Over Pack!
    Don't Over Pack!
    by Donna_in_India
  • Don't Over Pack!
    Don't Over Pack!
    by Donna_in_India

Most Viewed What to Pack in India

  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo

    Don't Over Pack!

    by Donna_in_India Written Jan 27, 2015

    Luggage and bags: Customize your list to when/where you'll be traveling. Minimize the number of suitcases (a spinner wheelie is a good choice). I like to take a backpack as my purse and to carry my camera equipment. I can always "feel" it on me and it leaves my hands free.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Women should dress conservatively everywhere except Goa. I'd suggest wearing light-weight (cottons are good) capris. Flowing skirts and Ali Baba type pants are available for 100-200 rupees in the markets.

    Salwar Kameez is the Indian wear most foreigners wear. Tops should be short-sleeve (avoid sleeveless and anything low-cut). Bring/buy a shawl/scarf to cover your head (good for entry into religious places) or wrap around your breasts the way Indian women wear a dupatta.

    For men: light weight cotton pants/trousers. Shorts are not commonly worn in most places. T-shirts or polo-type shirts are fine. Jeans are also acceptable but unless you are traveling to a cool area, they will be very hot.

    I like to wear sandals/chappals but your feet tend to get very dirty and you need to be very careful to watch where you are walking! Sneakers/trainers are good. Whatever shoes you choose, be sure they are worn in and comfortable! They should also provide good support. Roads are often rocky and uneven.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: I would pick up all personal care items once you get to India - shampoo, razors, deodarant, etc. (I love the Himalya Herbal products.)

    Most medicines are easily available and doctor visits are very inexpensive. I always recommend bringing some meds that you know work for you for a stomach bug in case you have a bout of Delhi belly. If you are on daily medication, bring enough to last for your entire trip if possible. If not possible, you'll have to find the Indian equivalent once you arrive since some medicines will not have the same name.

    Photo Equipment: & Electronics: Bring enough camera batteries/photo cards. I always travel with my laptop, but depending on your needs you might want to bring an iPad (good for reading books too) or another light tablet, especially if you'll be traveling from place to place. An iPod is great to listen to your music during long travel days. You will likely need a voltage converter/plug adapter - those are also easily available.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: If you're traveling during monsoons, I'd avoid sandals. Bring a small umbrella (which is also good to have/use in the hot sun) and a light waterproof jacket/poncho.

    If you're traveling in colder weather, you can buy hats, gloves, etc. but might want to bring sweater/sweatshirts, a jacket, and warm socks & shoes.

    Miscellaneous: So much more is available in India than used to be including a wide selection of imported products. I would not worry about forgetting to pack anything and I wouldn't over pack!

    Clothes, especially, are so inexpensive in India, whether you shop at a local market or have clothes tailor-made.

    A lock/chain (especially for traveling by train), and a flashlight/torch (periodic outages are not uncommon in most places).

    Misc: If you're budget traveling/backpacking you might want to consider bringing a towel. I've been in enough places with threadbare grey towels (that used to be white!). I'd also bring a pair of flip flops to wear in the shower and in your hotel room. Bathrooms frequently have marble floors and showers tend to be just part of the bathroom (no separation). That means those get damn slippery. I once slipped and broke my elbow. Not a pleasant experience!

    Don't forget sunglasses, a hat, extra reading glasses and an extra pair of prescription glasses (or at least the prescription!).

    These should go with you daily: anti-bacterial hand wipes, toilet paper/tissues, and socks (to put on when you go into temples/Taj Mahal, etc. since shoes must be removed). For woman travelers, I'd bring a whistle or some kind of small alarm (similar to the kind on a key fob).

    And bring a journal to help you keep track of your daily experiences (and make notes for VT!).

    Don't Over Pack!

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    Carry your Mosquito Repellent Everywhere !

    by y2ketan2007 Updated Feb 19, 2013

    Miscellaneous: Wherever you wish to travel in India please make sure that you carry a mosquito repellant cream with you day or night ! You can probably buy a local product like 'Odomos' which will be far more effective than many other brands . There are the slow burning mosquito coils available in the market which generate a lot of smoke.Then there are several electric repellants like 'Goodknight','Mortein' and the like. If you carry a combination of more than one of the above , better still .

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    Delhi Belly prevention

    by stamporama Updated Mar 10, 2012

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Lynnehamman is a VTer who's a frequent India visitor and in one of her tips, she recommends the use of Travelan to prevent 'Delhi belly' or traveler's diarrhea. It's not a drug but a supplement made of bovine colostrum. Colostrum contains antibodies that can ward off enterotoxigenic E. coli, the bug that causes diarrhea. Unfortunately, it seems to be available only in Australia (where Lynne lives) but you could probably buy a similar product of a different brand in your country. I took 2 capsules twice a day and never had a bum stomach throughout my trip. It has no approved therapeutic claim and you still have to take bottled water, avoid salads and peeled fruits. But at least you've got an extra 'line of defense' to consider.

    Best defense is a good offence.
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    Geographical Savoir Faire is a must for India

    by Hmmmm Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Luggage and bags: Take a pack (Rucksack). Nothing more.

    Oh I take a large bumb bag (worm to the front with straps) that carries my Camera, lenses and books pens etc. (About 5 litres)

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Sandals (and a pair of sneakers if you visit the Himalaya)

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: I bought everything I needed in India (but then I am a male) save insect repellant.

    Photo Equipment: I bought with me, a small canon ixus 4200 for portability and snaps.
    Canon EOS 3 with a 28-300 lense
    Thats it

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: I bought none of that with me.

    Miscellaneous: Clothes I bought light cotton clothes in India. A lungi is a good oneif you are one the beach (it triples as a towel and an extra blanket). For the Himalaya you need Long pants, a jersey and a parker. Trekking equipment you can hire. Boots (you'll need to bring if you are going Alpine)

    India is a Hot country... PACK LIGHT! A pack according to weher you are going to be. Don't carry
    mountain clothes around Rajasthan, and don't wear only cotton in Kashmir and Jammu.

    Here we all are with a heap of Luggage. ADI
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    by vaticanus Updated Feb 20, 2011

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    Miscellaneous: Everybody brings a camera.
    Why not take a recorder too???

    *Markets *Street Peddlers *Mosque calls to prayer *Temple bells *Children singing *Birds *Processions *Traffic *Trains *Radio ads* Weddings and more

    I recommend a recorder with a counter for easy editing. A separate microphone is not necessary.

    For best playback fidelity when you return home, use a two or three plug (see photo) wire- put the single plug into the recorder and the other plug(s) into the IMPUTS of your amplifier - you won't believe how "big sound" will send you right back into the middle of your trip.

    You can use the recorder to take notes about photos and museum exhibits, for personal reminders, travel directions, and on the fly observations. You use the recorder in place of a pen and diary.

    NOTE: If you plan to transcribe your notes develop the habit of saying "END" after each recorded item so you know when to pause.

    Related to:
    • Music
    • Study Abroad

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    Pack your favourite clothes as samples

    by GitaP Written May 1, 2010

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Take your favoruite garments that fit you really well and have them made up cheaply and quickly by the numerous tailors in Mumbai. I even took materials that I had collected over years and turned them all into magnifent garments for a fraction of what I would have paid in SA

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    by smirnofforiginal Written Apr 30, 2010

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Ladies - have something at the ready to cover heads and shoulders (although easily and cheaoly purchased once in India).
    Backpacking I went for the "disposable clothes" system - took old clothes and threw tham away as I went.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Baby wet wipes. They are so versatile, easy to pack & carry and stand up to whatever job they are needed for!

    This may seem a little stupid to but do NOT leave your basic medical supplies in your hotel room... so many people (including myself until recently) take their medical supplies abroad and leave them in their accommodation! If you have a medical emergency they will not help by sitting on the bathroom shelf... and India is a dirty country where you really do want to be prepared (as my husband proved when he cut his head open in Delhi!).

    Photo Equipment: the needs of the photographer are mostly catered for but I would advocate ordinary disposable batteries (if your camera permits) to back-up rechargables... how many nights did the powercuts mean failed camera battery charging....

    Miscellaneous: With the many power cuts you will "enjoy" in India, nothing will seem such a worthy item as a small, wind-up (batteryless) torch... especially for those nights when te scurrying of small rodent feet tell you you are not alone :-D

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    Hot weather and black-outs

    by illumina Updated Jan 28, 2010

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    Luggage and bags: I only ever travel with a smallish rucksack, and one small bag for hand luggage (which at the start of the trip will fit inside the main bag if necessary).

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Good walking shoes are a good idea if you're going to do any trekking, or lots of walking between sights. Sandals are best for anything else, although flip-flops can be picked up in most places in India for 100-200 rupees. You can buy chappals in places like Calcutta too (although sadly mine didn't last very long - walking on beaches destroyed them!). You won't need to bring lots and lots of clothes, maybe some hard-wearing trousers for walking in and a jumper for cooler evenings, perhaps a good coat if you're heading to the Himalayas, but again you can find clothes easily in India.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: You can buy most things that you might need in India. However, if you're female and planning on travelling for a while (say a few months), instead of taking tampons or pads, a mooncup is a good space saver (and more ecologically sound too).

    Photo Equipment: You'll find a good camera a must have. We actually found it quite easy to get extra memory cards (certainly in Calcutta and Rajasthan where we needed them), or you can burn photos to a disk in lots of internet cafes.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Bring a swimsuit as they can be difficult to get hold of, though I saw some for sale in the Andaman Islands. Again things like sunscreen can be found easily in India.

    Miscellaneous: Bring a torch. There are frequent power cuts, and a torch can be a lifesaver!
    Another useful item is a plug adapter - Indian sockets will take European plugs, but not British or US.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Budget Travel

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  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo

    Don't Leave Home Without.....

    by lynnehamman Updated Apr 19, 2009

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    Luggage and bags: A suitcase on wheels, or a backpack. are easiest............ a money belt....essential...TAKE A TORCH. A small back-pack for day trips. Its very important to secure your bags (especially while travelling in trains & buses) so a lock with a small chain is needed. I also found that a very small back-pack to wear every day while out looking & shopping was better than an oridinary hand-bag.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Comfortable jeans......T-shirts, a cool skirt & top to match.(for special occasions!) Good comfortable walking sandals (wear them in first, new ones can chafe). A warm jumper, or jacket for evenings.Most of these things can be bought in India, anyway, so take MINIMUM of clothing. You will need to buy extra bags if you take too much stuff. Sun hat. A shawl for covering head in places of worship.(socks are a good idea too)
    For ladies- I suggest packing a sports bra (in case you have a camel-ride, or a horse-ride)

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Wet-wipes are essential....also hand deodoriser gel. A good small first-aid kit with pain tablets , plasters & sunscreen. A small pair of scissors. Most other needs can be bought in India. But WITHOUT a doubt, the best thing we take are tablets called TRAVELAN, which are taken with every meal......you will NEVER get Delhi-Belly taking them. Mosquito repellant.
    I always take anti-malarial tablets, but that is a personal choice, so get medcial advice.

    Photo Equipment: Camera & Batteries......Camcorder
    Adapter for above and other electrical appliances

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: I don't camp.

    Miscellaneous: TAKE A TORCH............it will be a much used item. Take along a few boxes of pencils,scribbling pads, crayons. These are items that children love, and they are delighted to get.And get all immunisations up to date. Malaria tablets are recommended for parts of India,esp in summer.A small folding umbrella is a good idea too.The sun gets very hot.
    Always keep your passport locked up in a safe, along with other valuables. If this is not possible, keep it in your handbag. Never leave it lying in a hotel room. AND ALWAYS CARRY A TOILET ROLL, WHEREVER YOU GO IN INDIA. Very very few toilets have any sort of paper.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

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    Gifts for Indian children

    by Marthamaire Written Apr 13, 2009

    Miscellaneous: Gifts for Indian children

    I have been to India twice and on my first trip, I followed the tip that the single most popular gift for village kids are pens. I bought several packages of brightly colored, decorated pens but I was using one of my own with a US company logo and that was the one every single kid wanted. Any pen with an American logo and/or US advertising on it is a prized possession to be taken to school and shown off. The next year I bought only pens with American logos. They flew out of my hands.

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    Mosquito nets-take your own

    by traceyspacey Written Nov 12, 2008

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    Miscellaneous: Take a mosquito net that has been treated with Deet. Not all hotels have them and as we discovered mosquitos can come through air coolers/air con units. This only happened a couple of times, but it was enough.

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  • musicollector's Profile Photo

    A mosquito net, perhaps?

    by musicollector Written Aug 12, 2008

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    Luggage and bags: NO! Batteries are NOT hard to find! On the contrary, they are ubiquitous! In fact, you will find almost anything you need in India. Pack a small flashlight. Don't forget your iPod! For charging iPods, if you are not carrying a laptop, purchase the adapter that plugs directly into the electric socket. Make sure that the iPod adapter or any other electronic item you take says '110-240 V', or else, you will need to purchase a 220 V transformer. You wouldn't want your electronics burning up! You can either take a flat-to-round pin adapter with you, or buy it at most places in India quite cheap. If you bring a laptop, make sure you have a GOOD power surge protector.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: RUBBER sandals, or at least, waterproof, and a light raincoat. Don't bother taking an umbrella. It is bulky. Moreover, they make excellent umbrellas in India.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring your Tylenol, Advil, and Aspirin. Not that you will need it, but just in case, as the medicines in India have names different from those back home.

    Photo Equipment: Going to India without a digital camera and, perhaps, a camcorder, would be the biggest waste and a colossal mistake which you will regret forever - even if you plan again to visit often in the future. Each moment is special, different, and unique, and you may miss it.

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    • Family Travel

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  • vpas's Profile Photo

    some essentials & not required to be brought items

    by vpas Written Jul 23, 2008

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: bring limited clothes,since --
    you could buy new ones for cheap prices;
    you could get them washed for a very reasonable amount of money
    clothes dry soon unless it is winter or monsoon season
    you would easily get swim wear,raincoats;umbrellas,shoes etc in major cities

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: easily available in major cities;medicines are available in towns also

    Photo Equipment: available in major cities

    Miscellaneous: Always carry mosquito repellent;
    mineral water is available almost everywhere,but just make sure that the seal is broken in front of you

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    Toilet paper and the other

    by oceania26 Updated Feb 23, 2008

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: dress conservateily in loose cotton clothing especially if going into villages and small towns. big cities anything goes but if you're expsoing too much skin you're only asking for trouble. do not show stomach or legs in particular. dont' wear tight or fitting clothing accentuating your figure you'll have a hard enough time fending off guys when you're fully clothed.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Toilet paper and tissue is not very common there. Strongly recommend you carry a roll when travelling. You can buy it there...usually coloured unfortunately.

    Take mosquito repellent, malaria tablets, sunscreen, it's available there but not any cheaper and don't know about the quality though.

    Photo Equipment: don't flaunt valuables, you're bound to hassled, ripped-off, picket pocketed, etc.

    Miscellaneous: take handwipes, hankerchef....trust me it'll come in handy. i never opened anything w/ my bare hands, always used a scarf or hankie.

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    by vaticanus Updated Feb 22, 2008

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    Luggage and bags: For BACKPACKS...Long and narrow is best. Overhead racks on buses rarely give you more than 25 cm of space between the rack and the roof. If your bag is too big, you will have to store it forward near the driver or else carry it on your lap. Unlike many other countries, luggage is rarely placed on the roof of the bus.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: SHOWER CLOTH: Japanese and Korean grocery stores sell a Japanese made wash cloth (SALUX) about 1 meter long by 30 cm wide made out of a nylon and polyester mesh that cleans more thoroughly than a loofa, gets a good lather out of soap in the hardest water, and dries really really fast. They weigh THREE GRAMS and compress super itty-bitty. They come in a variety of colors and are very durable. Search the Internet for 'salux' See a photo in General Tips

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: MALARIA I strongly recommend Royal Perth Hospital for latest information in English, French and Spanish.

    You can also visit my Malaria Tip in WARNINGS for a quick review of PREVENTION AND TREATMENT

    WORMS/PARASITES/AMOEBA: Better than Melandazole is ALBENDAZOLE 100mg which you only need to take once; unlike Melandazole which needs to be taken several times. Again, CONSULT A PHYSICIAN.

    Photo Equipment: 1) POLARIZER filter. Hold it in front of your lens but don't overdo it unless you really want intense saturated skies

    2)ALWAYS TEST BATTERIES BEFORE PURCHASING. And take your dead batteries and the packaging with you when you leave the store- you may save a less wary tourist getting ripped off.

    3) CLEAN YOUR CAMERA FREQUENTLY get a squeeze bulb air blaster from a photo store.

    4) DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY You will not find wideband services widely available- be sure to bring along plenty of storeage media.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: SNAKE WARNING: Never enter an enclosed area in a rural area that has straw or other material that might attract rodents for nesting. You may accidentally corner or scare a snake into striking. I got a blood-curdling warning hiss and discovered I know how to fly!

    Miscellaneous: A large COTTON BANDANA or hankerchief will find many uses. These are available locally.
    Also, an small BLACK EYE SHIELD VISOR (like they give on airplanes) to cover your eyes when trying to sleep when street or hallway lights flood the room.
    EAR PLUGS will be useful- guaranteed.
    MOSQUITO COILS: useful, but most people don't use proper ventilation.

    A Chorus Line of Umbrellas
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    • Budget Travel

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