1 pair of flip flops - I wore my Reef flip flops wherever possible in India, I love them as they are incredibly robust and well suited for longer walks
5 pairs of trainer socks
1 cap - Essential in helping to keep the hot, mid-day sun off your face
1 pair of sunglasses - You can pick these up really cheap in most parts of India
What to wear in India for women (from Cazzy)
When it comes to packing clothing for India as a woman, you’ll be happy to hear it isn’t overly complicated.
One thing I would note is that India is bursting with amazing clothing, so I would actually bring less, so that you can purchase some beautiful pieces whilst out there; such as long skirts, or one of a kind dresses and shoes!
1 shoulder scarf - These are light and airy and perfect for covering up when you’re at certain temples, like the Taj Mahal
1 pair of sunglasses
1 light rain jacket - I would base this on the season you’re visiting, so if you’re visiting in the dry season, you will not need this
1 pair of flip flops - Essential for the wearing on the beaches in India
2 pairs of shorts
1 swimming costume - I prefer swimming suits in India, just out of respect for local culture
3 sun dresses - A must see for when walking around different sites
1 pair of trainers - Bring just one pair of shoes for India; I recommend either Skechers or Tropicfeel. Any other shoes you need you can easily buy when in India
5 pairs of trainer socks
1 long skirt - Either bring one with you, or wait and buy one out in India because they’re beautifully made and very cheap!
If you don’t yet have a first aid kit, then you may want to consider picking one up like this. It contains many of the basics, and you can then add or replace certain items to suit your own needs. Think of it as a mini India survival kit; hopefully you’ll never need it, but it’s useful to know it’s there.
You can pick up any toiletries you need when in India, but the exact products you are used to back home might be hard to find or a lot more expensive than what they would usually be as they are imported.
That’s why one of my top India packing tips would be to buy a full set of your toiletries before you leave, and these should last you for at least a good few weeks of your trip.
I wouldn’t take much more than that as then you’re just asking for trouble with some sort of unwanted liquids explosion in your luggage!
Wash bag - Buy one (like this) that has a handle on it. Many bathrooms in Indian hotels and hostels are cramped with nowhere to set them, but having a handle makes your life a LOT easier!
2 x toothbrush
2 toothbrush travel container
Shampoo & conditioner 2 in 1
Toilet paper - It’s worth keeping a spare toilet roll on your when travelling through India, as many public toilets won’t have any
When people sort out what to pack when travelling to India, they rarely give enough thought to how they’re actually going to get the best value for money when there.
Well, a key part of packing for India should include which travel cards you decide to take with you.
There are a number of key documents you will need to include as a part of your packing list for India; including ...
Wallet to hold important documents - This is one of my favourite travel tips and a great way to keep all important documents together and organised. Particularly important if your trip lasts a few months and there’s lots of pieces of paper that could easily get lost
Driving license and international driving permit - One of the best ways to get around in India is by moped, particularly when out and about exploring the areas around cities like Udaipur. To hire a moped (or a car) you’ll need your home driving license as well as an international driving permit. If you’re from the UK, then you can get this from The Post Office, be sure to sort it at least a few weeks before you’re set to depart.
Copy of your passport and travel insurance - It’s always useful to keep a photocopy of your passport and travel insurance on you when travelling
Copy of your vaccinations - When entering India, the officials may require you to show proof of having certain vaccinations. It all depends on which country you come from; but as we visit so many countries, we always keep a copy of this with us
Print out of your travel insurance - If ever you do have an accident and need medical treatment abroad, it's extremely useful to have a printed copy of your travel insurance, with detailed notes of what you are covered for and to what level
Travel insurance - You will definitely need travel insurance for India! For that matter, you should have travel insurance for any country. You never know what will go wrong and the cost of treatment without insurance can easily enter the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you’re from the US, then World Nomads is known for providing good value travel insurance with solid coverage. If you’re from the UK, then they are far too expensive and it’s best to start your search with a tool like Compare The Market. Be sure to check the terms & conditions before buying. For example, I could only find one insurer able to offer me insurance for trips of up to 90 days, most only cover you for trips up to 2 or 3 weeks.
Cameras & other tech
As mentioned earlier, we tend to take more travel tech with us than the average traveller.
Probably because we work whilst travelling and are always looking to create great content to share on the blog!
Here’s a look at the cameras and other equipment that we packed for India.
If you want to capture the best quality pictures possible in India, then a DSLR is what you need. When combined with a variety of lenses, you have the ability to create some epic shots, especially as your skills and understanding get better. Our skills with our DSLR are slowly getting better and we try to practice more and more as we go.
We used our Canon video camera everywhere we went in India, and it’s perfect for capturing really high quality pictures, video and sound no matter where you are. Best of all, it’s lightweight and far less bulky than a DSLR camera. So when we were out on day trips around places like Pushkar, with just a daybag, it was essential in capturing all the gorgeous photos you see on our India travel blog posts.
We’ve tried a few action cameras in recent years, but none compare to the GoPro Hero 8 which is a truly revolutionary and awesome piece of kit. In particular, the auto-stabilisation feature means that you can pick up smooth footage no matter what. It also has much-improved sound quality and is far less bulky than any other decent action cameras on the market. Back in 2018 we took our GPro Hero 4 Silver which was still not bad.
When we travelled to India in 2018, we did take our drone with us, however we didn’t use it. The reason was that it was illegal to fly them there without having the right permit. It appears that many of those restrictions have now lifted, so you may want to take yours with you and actually use it!
A smartphone is one of the number one best travel items no matter where you go. It’s an all-in-one camera, GPS device, clock and so much more! We use our smartphones for literally so much and it makes travel so much better. Just be sure to get yours unlocked before you fly to India. That way you can pick up a local sim and maintain data and cell connectivity no matter where you are.
We take our laptops with us wherever we travel as we are full time digital nomads. They definitely do take up a bit of space but are invaluable to us. If you are taking a laptop to India, be sure to pick up a slim, lightweight model such as the Asus Zenbook 13 inch which I use and is a truly incredible piece of kit.
With so many photos and videos being made on the go, an external hard drive is great for helping to free up space on the laptop and memory cards, whilst giving peace of mind that important files can be stored in two places. Also, for all those long journeys through India, we took a bunch of downloaded videos on our hard drive so that we could keep our short attention spans thoroughly entertained!
For storing all the epic pictures and videos you’re going to take of your time in India, you’re going to need some memory cards. Be sure to buy memory cards that are capable of storing footage in the quality that you intend to shoot in. They are certainly not all made equal; for example, many cannot handle 4k drone footage. SanDisk are our go-to brand and they have a massive range for you to choose from.
This is one of my all-time favourite packing list items. Why? Well, before we had this we were constantly dealing with memory cards getting lost or, worse, broken! A memory card hard case is purpose built for you to sort and store all of your memory cards safely and protect against unwanted damage when travelling so frequently.
This is an awesome piece of kit to take with you to India when out and about exploring each day. There’s nothing worse than a camera or phone dying halfway through the day and you not being able to use it. By having a power bank you can quickly charge it back up when on the go. Better yet, buy a solar powered one that you can clip onto the front of your bag; it will recharge for you throughout the day without you having to plug it in at night.
Though not strictly-speaking “tech”, it’s worth including this here as one of the best things to take to India. If you want to up your photography game, then a tripod is one of our number one travel photography tips. It stabilises your camera and allows you to pick up much higher quality shots, particularly if shooting moving objects. Better yet, if you want to get a picture of yourself then you can use a remote shutter or timer to capture a photo you want without having to trust someone else to take it for you.
In India, you’ll find that many of the websites and services you use back home may be blocked. A VPN is a great tool to have as it allows you to maintain access to all of these sites when abroad. Find out more here.
Staying healthy in India
Before visiting India, it is worth picking up a few key items to help make sure you stay safe.
In particular the biggest issues you could face in India include the incredibly hot sun, mosquitos and the dreaded “Delhi Belly”.
Antimalarials - Mosquitos are present in different parts of India at different times of the year. To find out if you are at risk during your visit, it’s best to visit your local travel doctor before leaving your home country.
Mosquito repellent spray - Bug spray is very useful for keeping all manner of bugs away in the evening. It can be expensive to buy in India, so best to pack it before you leave home.
Plug in mosquito deterrent - If you are particularly worried about mosquitos or other bugs getting you whilst you sleep, then a plug-in deterrent is a great way to keep the little blighters at bay. You simply plug it into the wall where it emits a high pitch noise, that you can’t hear but which the bugs can.
Sunscreen -Temperatures throughout India regularly exceed 30 and sometimes even 40 Degrees Celsius. It's important that you have suitable sunscreen to help protect you against the worst of the rays. It’s best to pick up a couple of bottles before you fly there as finding good quality sunscreen for a low price can be challenging when in India.
Diarrhoea kit - I already mentioned this earlier in the packing list but it’s well worth including again here. The risk of getting sick from eating food in India is relatively high, especially if eating cheaper food from local street vendors. We never suffered with this in India but we certainly did when in Thailand! Our diarrhoea kit was a vital piece of kit that helped us through.
TSA Approved Travel Padlock - Take at least one, so that you can keep your main rucksack safely secured whenever it’s not in your sight. Particularly useful for flights as well as bus and train journeys. Be sure to get a TSA approved travel lock.
Miscellaneous things to pack for India
Here’s a few other pieces of travel gear for India that you may want to add to your own packing list ...
Fold down coffee mug - If you love your coffee (like Cazzy!) then having your own mug is a great way to take coffee on the go and cut back on using paper cups. A fold down one is best as it allows you to pack it away in your bag with minimum space being used.
Multivitamins - We like to take these travelling with us, just to make sure we get our necessary amount of vitamins and minerals each day. It’s definitely one of the best things to take travelling to India, as you may find that you end up eating much of the same food every day which doesn’t necessarily give you all you need.
Pin to open sim card hole in phone - By getting a local sim card in India, you can stay connected to data no matter where you are. But to change your sim you’ll ideally need one of the special tools to open the socket where they are held in your phone. I always keep a metal one in my wallet that is useful all around the world.
Dry bag - If you plan on heading out onto the water in India, then a dry bag is useful for keeping your stuff safe and dry.
Quick drying towel - There is no need to take a large towel with you to India as all hotels seem to offer them inclusive with your stay. Of course, if you’re staying in hostels then you’ll need your own, but a quick drying towel is still best. You can use it for day trips when out and about and it can dry quickly on the end of your bed when not in use.
Hand sanitiser - It’s a good idea to clean your hands regularly and before eating so as to avoid getting unnecessarily sick
What NOT to pack for India!
Here’s a few things that you should not add to your India packing list ...
Water purifier - The only time you’ll need one of these is if you plan to go off hiking in the wilderness. Everywhere else you can pick up bottled water that is perfectly safe for you to drink.
Sleeping bag - Again, only necessary for camping, and not needed for staying in hostels.
Tonnes of clothes - India is one of the best countries in the world for picking up cheap clothes. Best of all, they are of great quality. Cazzy picked up a few dresses in Jodhpur that she still uses more than 2 years on; they look fantastic and cost less than $4 each. You can also pick up knock-off branded products that are the same quality as the real thing but at a fraction of a price. I bought a new wallet in Jaipur and it’s still going strong more than 2 years later. These markets are located in most major cities.
Lots of valuables - Theft can be common in India, especially if strolling through busy cities like Mumbai with cameras, money and jewellery on show. Instead, only take what you really need.
Other items to add to your India packing list
Here’s a few other awesome things to pack for your India trip that we didn’t take personally, but you may want to.
Binoculars - If you plan on going on safari anywhere and trying to spot wildlife, then be sure to pack some binoculars.
Travel pillow - Great for all those long bus and train journeys throughout India. Personally, we don’t take these as they’re just too bulky and take up more space than we think they’re worth.
Physical books/travel guides - To help save space, you can pick up downloadable travel guides from Lonely Planet and Rough Guides and access these through your phone. Or, if you do like physical guide books then you’ll find that most hostels and hotels have a copy of these that you can borrow and read.
Ear plugs - If you’re a light sleeper and plan on staying in a lot of hostels, then definitely get some of these.
Waterproof phone case - If you’re going to be in the water a lot and want to snap some cool photos, then one of these is a must have travel item for india
Mosquito net - We don’t travel with one of these, but if you’re heading to areas with lots of mosquitoes and don’t think your accommodation is very high quality, then these might be necessary.
Kindle - I love reading when travelling, and use the Kindle App on my phone. But having a Kindle could be a good way to go if you want a bigger screen.
Hiking boots - Only if you plan on doing enough hiking to warrant them. They do take up a LOT of space in your backpack.
Buff - This is a really versatile piece of kit to have with you, and many travellers won’t go anywhere without one.
Top tips on what to bring to India
Remember, it gets HOT there!
It’s hot in most parts of India almost all year, so light clothing is the ideal way to go. Also, be sure to take anything you think necessary in helping to protect you from the sun; including sun lotion, hats and glasses.
Keep asking yourself “do I really need this?”
I love how travelling for long periods of time forces you to become more minimalist and only pack what you need. So when packing for India, regularly ask yourself if everything you’re planning on taking is strictly necessary. Remember, almost everything can be bought cheaply out there so, just in case you do need something, you can always pick it up when there.
Don’t take any risks
You’re going to face a few health risks travelling in India, including malaria and the chance of picking up a range of other diseases. So take precautions by visiting your travel doctor well before your trip and getting their advice on how to best stay safe. This will require, not only getting malaria tablets, but also getting a range of other injections prior to travelling. They can also advise you on any other necessary medications to take to India.
I'm an Economics graduate with a passion for travel. In 2016 I decided to ditch the office environment, work from my laptop and travel to every country in the world. You'll find me working out of a cafe in Bali, perhaps on a riverboat in Brazil or maybe even an airport lounge in New Delhi.