SUGGESTED PACKING LIST
While India is a developing country but is somewhat conservative in customs and dress. The most important rule for both ladies and men is to keep your legs and shoulders covered. Wearing shorts should be avoided. Females will also often find it beneficial to wear a shawl or scarf that covers their breasts. For men, short-sleeved shirts are more respectful than wearing t-shirts. In nightclubs, western dress standards of jeans and a top for girls, and jeans and a t-shirt or shirt for guys, apply. Some hotels will have swimming pools, so bring a bathing suit, as this item may not be readily available for purchase outside of major cities. You’ll probably see a variety of swimsuit styles on fellow Western travelers in resort areas like Goa, but in general, a conservative suit is recommended.
India has three seasons.
Winter starts in October and lasts until the end of February; temperatures in South and Western India are moderate and pleasant, but it will be quite a bit colder in the northern part of the country, especially at night.
Summer arrives with extreme heat in March, which continues into June.
Monsoon season, which varies in timing and intensity across the country, generally hits in July and August, and visitors will need rain gear and umbrellas during this time. An umbrella is also handy as a sun shield.
Sunglasses are essential to protect the eyes. Pack a wide-brimmed hat for protection from the intense sun, and long-sleeved tops and full-length pants are recommended. Specially if one needs to enter a site of religious importance. In general, during any season traveling clothes can be casual and comfortable; light colors such as khaki and white are recommended. Cotton and linen fabrics allow your skin to breathe in hot temperatures — avoid synthetics, unless they are sports clothes designed to wick away sweat. Also be prepared for chilly mornings and evenings, especially in mountainous regions, by packing layers and long pants.
Sunscreen is a must, as it tends to be not readily available in India and whatever is available may not be good enough and can be very expensive. Take your favorite brand of mosquito repellent as well. Most personal care items are available in major cities, but some antiperspirants and hair products are difficult to find in smaller centers. Other items to consider packing, especially for rural areas, are a 230-volt converter for your digital planners like smart phones etc.
Cities in India have good medical facilities, but smaller towns and villages may not, so if you’re traveling off the beaten path you’ll want to add a basic first aid kit to the essentials listed here — be sure to include medications that treat stomach ailments, which are the most common complaints of travelers. Medicines for specific ailments, with similar active ingredients to what are found overseas, are available in India. The problem is figuring out the brand names and making the pharmacist understand what you’re after. Therefore, you should bring an adequate supply of whatever medicines you usually need. Common items such as Vitamin C and acetaminophen (a standard pain killer) are not difficult to purchase from a pharmacy. However, problems may still be encountered as, for example, acetaminophen is known as paracetamol in India.
Passports are required and must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry. Tourist visas are also required. Check for current requirements (travel.state.gov) before planning your trip, and leave yourself plenty of time to obtain the correct visa.
Shampoo, conditioner, moisturizers, razors, deodorant, condoms, and sanitary napkins and pads are all readily available. You’ll have to search to get roll-on antiperspirant outside major cities, but it can be found. Bring mosquito repellent with you, as western brands tend to be stronger and more effective than the Indian ones. It’s also a good idea to pack your favorite hair products as the range of gels and hair sprays is limited, and hair wax is virtually non-existent.
Credit cards are widely accepted in major cities. ATM machines can also be found in most places, including in small towns. Do carry some $$ with you in small denominations. It’s good idea to carry some Indian currency that you can exchange for $$ when you arrive at the airport in India.
Make sure you bring a sturdy and comfortable pair of walking shoes, sneakers or sandals. If you intend to go out in the evenings, bring a pair of dress shoes as well. The rest you can easily get along the way.
Anti-bacterial hand wipes are extremely useful for many situations. A torch or flash light. If you wish to use any electronic devices from the North America, you’ll need a voltage converter and plug adaptor. People coming from countries with 230V such as Australia and the UK, only require a plug adaptor for their appliances.