Gigantic India Packing List; One Stop for Everything!
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This post helps both men and women choose what items to include in their India packing list. Comes with awesome printable so you won’t forget a thing!
There are very few things anyone can say to truly prepare you for India. The only thing I can tell you is to be ready for an adventure of a lifetime. Putting some thought and attention to detail to your packing will make sure you are able to enjoy all that India has to offer.
We also have HUGE packing list for general round the world travel which includes literally every item you could think of. Be sure to have a read of the post so you know you’re prepared and have thought of everything before you set off on your trip to incredible India!
What to Know Before You Go to India
Make sure you have travel insurance, have a valid visa and have looked at communication options (SIM cards are difficult to get in India). Have the contact information for the nearest embassy or consulate of your home country, and always carry a copy of your passport and entry stamp. Remember to leave your actual passport secure in your hotel.
Also, everyone you talk to about India will tell you to protect yourself against malaria. However, malaria tablets have some undesirable side effects, so it will be up to you to look into taking those before going to India. I recommend you check the CDC website to see if you need other vaccines before travelling.
SAFETY IN INDIA
India will be full of scam artists ready to take advantage of the unsuspecting and unprepared tourist. Know where you are going, address and hotel name, when getting into a taxi or rickshaw. Don’t give money to beggars, and say a firm “no, thank you” to street vendors.
Finally, I recommend you only eat freshly cooked hot food, avoid fresh vegetables or fruits, especially if you don’t know how they’ve been washed. Avoid street food if it looks questionable or if you only have a short time in India (so as not to ruin your short trip).
Finally, if you are a solo woman, take a read of my experience of Varanasi for Holi for some tips on how to stay safe!
Crystal donning her Taj Mahal getup
India Packing List Essentials
With AT LEAST 6 months validity from the time you plan to return to your home country.
✔ Drivers License
If you intend to hire motorbikes, rickshaws or cars.
✔ Travel Printouts
Of flight itineraries, scans of your passport, etc. In India you will nee to prove your exit. Or you could use a cool app called TripIt to store all your itineraries and bookings.
✔ Indian Visa
Citizens of almost all countries need to secure a visa BEFORE coming to India. Use this website to find out the requirements for your Indian visa.
✔ Lifestraw Water Bottle
In India, drinking bottled water is a must (double-check the seal on the bottle you buy is unaltered). But if you find yourself in a situation where there are no water bottles available, I suggest you take this rather than just the straw as it is more convenient. Be careful of ice! You won’t know if it was made with sanitised water.
✔ Anti-Theft Backpack
Traveling through airports, trains, and big crowds, you need a backpack that will keep all your valuables safe. We recommend this backpack. For more info, check out this post: the best anti-theft backpack for travel.
✔ Hand sanitizer
Pack one that contains at least 60% alcohol. You will be exposed to a lot of germs in India, so a travel size one is a must in the bag you will take everywhere. I also suggest that you carry one that smells nice. The smells all around can be overwhelming, so putting a bit on your hands or a cloth handkerchief and covering your nose and mouth will help you avoid those smells.
✔ Wet Wipes
✔ SPF 15+ Lip Balm
You might find yourself alarmed at all the seriously public toilets found around India. Men literally wee against walls with just a small wall separating them from you seeing their bits. The pulic toilets are ALWAYS disgusting and you will probably never want to sit close to any of them. That’s where this product comes in handy.
It’s a female urination device that enables the ladies to FINALLY pee standing up. Although we have not used them ourselves, we have heard people swear by them.
✔ Cloth Handkerchief
✔ BUFF Scarf
✔ Toilet Paper
✔ Waterproof Phone Case
✔ Power Adapter, Voltage Converter, and Surge protector
The voltage in India is 220 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. Make sure you check on your devices to see what they can withstand depending on where you come from. Also, if you are going to be using laptops or charging camera batteries, I recommend a surge protector since power in India is not always at constant current.
✔ Passport Pouch or Money Belt
✔ Basic First Aid Kit
✔ Rehydration Packets
You can pick these up in most pharmacies around the world, but when you need them most you may not feel like popping out to the shops to get them. Bring a decent supply of rehydration sachets wherever you’re going to keep on top of your health and fitness. But there’s no substitute for drinking plenty of water, so remember to drink at least two litres of water each day. The sachets give your body the minerals it needs to absorb the water.
✔ Insect Repellent
Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itching if you get bit. You can get some Mosquito Repellent Bracelets, but they usually don’t have DEET. This is essential in the most humid weathers and regions of India.
✔ Tampons or Moon Cup
While sanitary towels are generally available in most places worldwide, tampons are much rarer and can be eye-wateringly expensive. You will not believe how many countries where it’s super hard to find tampons (Yep! India is one of those countries). It’s utterly crazy. So you can either bring a huge backup of tampons…
OR you can bring one tiny little Moon Cup. These are reusable orb cups you put up your hoo-ha to catch your unfertilised baby bag. They are a little weird/uncomfortable to use at first but after a couple of go’s, you won’t even notice them! And if you’re wondering how to clean them, it’s easy. Just boil them at the end of the period cycle or wash with soapy water.
✔ Sleeping Bag Liner
A sleeping bag liner or travel sheet will be essential if you are staying in budget hotels. Do some research into one that can be easily washed and dries fast. Avoid cotton and look for a microfiber blend. This one from Friendly Swede has a lifetime warranty and you can try it out and return if it doesn’t suit your needs.
✔ Travel Pocket Knife
✔ Cable Locks
✔ VPN (Virtual Private Network)
A VPN can save your ass in so many ways. If you ever use a public access WiFi while travelling (like an airport, restaurant, Airnb or hotel) then you’re potentially putting your online security at risk by hackers. It also helps out in other ways too. Can’t access your Gmail because it thinks you’re in a less-secure country? (Which you ARE, but still). Just connect to your home country using the VPN. PayPal payment won’t go through because you aren’t in your home country? VPN.
With a quality VPN such as Nord VPN, you instantly protect your sensitive data on all different devices with just one click. Also, Nord is really affordable, super easy to turn on and we use it daily.
Also, don’t forget to pack these essential things for travel:
Clothing to Pack for India
India is a conservative society, so travellers need to take care of how they dress. It is important you don’t pack skimpy clothes and, more than covering your shoulders, it is important to cover your bum. Avoid wearing tight tops and shorts. Men need to also watch that they wear non-revealing clothes, as well.
In bars, clubs and five-star hotels of big cities, (like Mumbai and Delhi) people dress as they might in less conservative countries. So pack according to your travel itinerary and activities.
Cotton scarves, or dupattas as they are called in India, are useful for covering the head at holy sites, and for covering up generally.
WHERE TO BUY CLOTHING FOR INDIA
You can shop in local markets for versatile, cool and inexpensive clothes, especially loose clothing for the heat. Depending on where you go you’ll easily find cheap to expensive outfits that will enable you to lend in a little more while travelling in India. Shopping at the local markets is fun and means on your flight to India you can carry less baggage with the intention of buying most outfits in India. The cities like Delhi have huge markets with Punjabi dresses as cheap as $3 USD.
INDIAN CLOTHING OUTFIT IDEAS FOR WOMEN
You’ll have loads of fun shopping in the markets for nice dresses and loose pants in India. For an idea of the outfits you’ll find in the markets – see below. Or click on the picture to buy if you really can’t stand to fly there without one or two gorgeous outfits.
The dress style that proved the coolest and most functional while travelling India are called Punjabi dresses. They have a split up the side of each leg for moveaility, however the split means that you will probalby have to wear tights or loose pants under the dress to cover your upper legs and knees. The stylish loose Indian-style pants in pic 3 are called dhoti while the pants in pic 5 are called harem pants. Use these terms while searching around the internet if you decide to buy online.
Crystal jumping for joy in her favourite Punjabi dress
INDIAN CLOTHING OUTFIT IDEAS FOR MEN
There’s loads of information about women, but what should men wear in India? The answer is; almost anything… As long as it’s modest.
Though you technically CAN wear shorts in India – the general consensus is that shorts should only be worn by children, so you may look funny to the locals in them. It’s also a good idea to wear shorts that cover your knees for modesty if you do decide to wear them. However, you are NOT allowed to wear shorts or singlet tops in temples or religious places.
The dhoti pants can also be worn by men in India, but mainly you will see Indian mean in jeans and t-shirts. You might also like to buy yourself a loose cotton shirt at an Indian market for the heat and to get into the dhoti outfit groove.
The guys in their loose shirts and long pants for a desert camel adventure
ESSENTIAL CLOTHING FOR INDIA
✔ Thin Sweater
✔ Yoga Pants
✔ SPF Sunglasses
✔ Waterproof Rain Coat with a Nice Big Hood
Crystal in her pet camel outfit
SHOES FOR INDIA
✔ Chaco Sandals
✔ Flip flops
✔ Hiking Shoes or Boots
✔ Walking Shoes
Seasons and Weather in India
India is a vast country, therefore the weather of each region will change, even during the same season.
Happens during December, January, February, and some of March. Since it is the coldest time of the year, this is the best time to visit most parts of India. Temperatures will still be warm in the south (in Kochi, for example) averaging between 23°C to 32°C (73°F to 90°F) and in the north (in Delhi) between 7°C to 24°C (45°F to 75°F). If you are going up north, make sure you pack cold weather gear.
Also known as the pre-monsoon season, it occurs from April to June and it is the hottest time of the year. Heat during this time is pretty intense. In the south, it is accompanied by stifling humidity and temperatures averaging 27°C to 32°C (80°F to 90°F) and in the north, the dry heat can cause sunstrokes, with temperatures at 27°C to 39°C (80°F to 102°F) . If you are travelling during this time, research the weather of the places you’ll be visiting and pack accordingly.
The Monsoon Season ⛈
This season is generally from July to September, so if you are travelling during this time, pack rain gear and quick dry clothes. Waterproof shoes are a must. Temperatures will range from 24°C to 34°C (75°F to 94°F) all around India, with some variation depending on the regions. Humidity will be at its highest point, especially in the south. (Don’t forget to pack your insect repellent).
Also knows as the post-monsoon season, it happens in October and November, bringing cooler temperatures. Some areas might still have some rainfall and a lot of wind, so research the weather of where you’ll be specifically going to make sure you are weather-ready. Layers and rain gear will be essential. Temperatures will average around 28°C and 34°C (82°F and 93°F), depending on the region.
Written by Priscila Moscoso Meiller. Edited and pictures by Crystal Egan.
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What item won’t you forget to take to India? Tell me about it in the comments below!
HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT ANY OF THESE INDIA PACKING LIST ITEMS?
If you have a question about the products just let me know and I’ll try my best to answer them! The writer and publisher have experience with most of the products listed and veto them if we don’t have first-hand experience.
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