India packing list

Got a trip planned to India and need some guidance on things to pack for your trip? Hooray, you are going to Incredible India and I know you’re gonna just love it!!! Packing can be fun and easy with this comprehensive list of essentials.

This is the travel packing list I wish I had. You’ll find many blog posts out there advising travelers to bring unnecessary items like Lifestraws, countless medications, heavy-duty backpacking gear, and even female urination devices! Take my advice and treat your upcoming trip like any other trip, unless you have very specific plans like hiking, etc. However, there are a few extra things you should think about packing when traveling to India.
Travel Insurance
Suitcase combination lock
Power adapter (Type C, D, or M)
A good pair of closed-toe shoes
LOADS of hand sanitizer
Tissues/Toilet Paper
Medicines (Prescription medication, Imodium, Tums, Ibuprofen)
Mosquito Repellent
First aid kit
I have to admit that the bathroom situation in India was quite the eye-opener. Let’s just say India’s bathrooms aren’t exactly known for their cleanliness. First of all, access to toilets can be very limited and once you do come across one, it is likely to be unsanitary and without any toilet paper. I can recall a many of bathrooms without toilet seats and having to use a squat toilet. It sure makes you appreciate the little things from back home. So you’ll want to bring along tissues in your purse along with loads of hand sanitizer and disposable toilet seat covers. You’ll thank me later.
You don’t really need to bring along too much medication. I made the silly mistake of purchasing over 50 euros worth of medications to cure any ailment under the sun for my first trip to India and I didn’t end up using any of them. After reading so many articles online, I was convinced my untrained tummy would not sit well with weeks of Indian food and that I would inevitably get a case of Delhi belly. So I ended up buying electrolytes, charcoal tablets, probiotics, and a whole bunch of other stuff. In the end, I never got Delhi belly (thanks in part to knowing exactly what foods and drinks to avoid) but instead came down with something which I hadn’t planned or packed medication for- a UTI! This happens to many women when traveling for a long time without using the toilet. So my advice is to bring your usual prescription meds plus some basic ibuprofen, Tums, and vitamins. I also got a bit congested in Bombay from the pollution, so it may be a good idea to bring along an antihistamine if you’re not used to heavy pollution or if you’re traveling to a big city such as Delhi or Bombay. If you want to be extra prepared for a case of DB, you can pack along Imodium and a probiotic. Anything more is likely unnecessary.
You should also take precautions to protect yourself from pesky mosquito bites and bring a quality bug spray. There is a risk for malaria throughout the country. In fact, you’ll also want to bring your favorite sunscreens, lotions, and tampons from home because these products are either not readily available or not of the same quality in India.
Travel Documents:
Copy of travel visa
Vaccination certificate
Medical insurance card
Secret money pouch
It’s very important that you get your travel visa sorted out asap because an e-Visa will be needed for entry into the country. It’s also not a bad idea to print out a few copies of your passport as some hotels require copies at check-in.
If you have not already gone to the doctor to check for vaccination advice, do it asap. Some vaccination can take several weeks to become effective.
Clothes and accessories:
Light cardigan
Loose pants and/or shorts
The days of forgotten toothbrushes and pajamas are behind us with the introduction of the packing app Pack Point. This app guides users through the packing process by generating a comprehensive list of packing items, while also suggesting a specific number of items to pack (like 5 T-shirts, 6 pairs of underwear, etc.), so that you don’t leave anything behind. The app also takes into account your destination, travel dates, and planned activities.
The important thing to keep in mind when packing clothes is to try to pack items that can match with everything- so any top with any bottom. You may want to bring plain t-shirts to go with printed pants and skirts and vice versa. Also, bring something you don’t mind getting dirty! 🙂 Since India’s climate is quite warm all year round (even in the dead of winter) it’s safe to pack light, loose-fitting clothes for the day and a few cardigans or a light jacket for when it gets chillier at night. Don’t forget to save room for souvenirs!
Shampoo and conditioner
Face wash
Shower towel
Your favorite hair and face products
Nail clippers
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Razor and gel
The products you know and love from back home may not be readily available in many parts of India, so it’s best to bring these along. On a side note, if you get the chance you should definitely check out a Forest Essentials store while you’re there. Their wide range of luxury ayurvedic products are truly divine.
Nice to have:
Travel guidebook
Disposable toilet seat covers
Laundry bag
Clothes for charity
If you’re traveling to India for the first time a guidebook could certainly be beneficial. I always recommend Lonely Planet’s guidebooks, as I had a wonderful experience with the hotels and restaurants recommended in their Goa and Mumbai Guidebook.
If you decide to bring along any camera equipment ensure that you have a safe place to put to store it. EARPLUGS because India is very noisy! There are even trucks with the words “horn please” painted on the back. Perhaps this one belongs in the must-haves list 😀
Leave behind:
Too many clothes
Too much cash
Unnecessary electronics
Nice shoes
So now that you know what to pack, it’s time to do some unpacking as well. Take a look in your suitcase and remove any expensive items or things you don’t really need like books or too many clothes. It’s likely that you’ll find so many amazing scarves and jewelry at the market anyways and so you’ll need to carve out some room for that as well. Bringing expensive things, in general, is also a big no-no. You will only attract unwanted attention if you show off expensive items of clothing and jewelry and that will likely end up getting dirty anyway. If you’re going to take pictures at the Taj Mahal or in Rajasthan it may be worth bringing a few nice outfits along.
While the task of packing for a country you’ve never been to before can be daunting, this India travel essentials packing list should help point you in the right direction. In the end, all that matters is that you have an amazing time in Incredible India.
Is there anything you think I missed in the list?
Please feel free to let me know in the comments! 🙂
So now that you’re all packed and ready to go, check out the top places to see on your Goa holiday and the 10 Spots in Mumbai you cannot miss.
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Happy Reading and Safe Travels!

An American living and working in Dusseldorf, Germany. If you couldn't tell already, I spend most of my free time cooking, travelling or writing about either of the two. Thanks for stopping by!

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