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What to pack for a trip to India?

Updated on by Sarina

what to pack for a trip to india

If you are planning a trip to India, the last thing you should do is planning for your trip to ‘India’. India may not be the largest country in the world or the second largest or even the next largest, but I do not know of another country that spans its diversity. It is diverse in many aspects – heritage, culture, race, language, religion, looks of the people, cuisine and climate. Touring India includes experiencing a multitude of temperatures, from the snow-covered Himalayas to scorching deserts of Rajasthan to the tropical rainforests of the South. India is a total of different parts and needs to be treated so when packing for going there.

India has much to offer to travel enthusiasts. Each state has beautiful and exciting places to visit, be it cultural heritage sites, landscapes, wildlife, national parks, and shopping centers. If you are planning a visit to this beautiful country, here are some things you need to know.

Packing list for traveling to India


Temperature in different regions/states

The average temperature of India is 25 to 26 degrees Celsius. But this can vary a lot depending on the region you are visiting. In summer, the temperature in some parts of India can rise to even 50 °C. You should dress accordingly, depending on the time of your visit.

The northern part of India is comparatively colder than Southern India, especially at night. The North Indian states are Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh.

The Southern States of India have a typically tropical climate with occasional rains (heavy thunderous rains in the rainy season); India’s southern states/regions are Kerala, Andaman and Nicobar, Andhra Pradesh Karnataka, Lakshadweep, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana. This is a more conservative part of the country than any other. You will find that people wear traditional clothes more. The temperature is hot, and the climate is humid – you may end up sweating a lot in regions with high humidity. 

Eastern and Northeastern States of India include states like West Bengal, Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura have a humid subtropical climate. Some of the states have lots of mountains with altitudes up to over 7,000 metres from sea level and have cold, snowy winters. Even in plains, the temperature is not as harsh in summers as in Northern or Southern India.

(Reference: Wikipedia)

Best clothes to wear in India

Prepare yourself for the scorching summer heat in India; if you have not packed long sleeved /long legged clothes, apply plenty of sunscreen lotion on all exposed areas.

When you reach places with not much humidity or where the weather is cold, you may not realize the true effect of the sun’s rays – you may feel that the sun is not as harsh, you are not sweating, you still feel cold etc but these sentiments are all highly deceiving. India lies near the equator. There is always sun. Other than sunscreen lotion, Wide-brimmed hats can be quite helpful to protect yourself from harsh sunlight.

Related post : Best fabrics for sunprotection.

The best clothes for the Indian climate are loose cotton or linen clothes. This includes cotton t-shirts, cotton /linen pants, simple cotton dresses. Throw in a sweater and shawl for those areas where the temperature is likely to drop down (In North India, Eastern/Northeastern India, and some hilly areas of South India). In places with rainfall you will need clothes that dry fast (synthetic fabrics like nylon)

Since most Indians have a conservative dressing style, it is better to wear clothes that do not expose too much, especially while visiting rural areas or any worship places. In cities, you will find everyone wearing casual western clothes without anyone raising an eyebrow or even an eyelid, but revealing clothes may be frowned upon in rural India. There are temples which do not permit women inside and some which do not allow access to women in western clothes. So, although you can go around India in just small shorts and tshirts throughout your stay, you may be restricted in some places, ogled at in others and not bothered in a lot of places.

India has some beautifully enthralling beaches to visit – Infact, states like Goa and Kerala with long beachlines are on every visitors’ destination list. You have to check with your local guides whether it is safe to go swimming in the waters. The sea is usually deep in India and sometimes it can get dangerous in some areas. Do not forget to apply sunblock lotion generously all over your body as those who are not accustomed to the heat are likely to get sunstroke.

All washrooms in India may not be equipped with toilet paper. So it is always prudent to carry a roll around with you. You can buy it from any supermarket in India.

Another essential thing to have in your possession is mosquito repellent. Almost all the shops and medical stores sell mosquito repellents. Also, you need not require any prescription for over-the-counter medicines. But if you are taking any particular medications, it is advisable to carry them from your native country.

Precautions for a trip to India

No, you will not find tigers walking on Indian roads; cows, maybe. Nor do Indians travel on elephants (as claimed sarcastically in ‘Do not look up’). Do not be so apprehensive that you miss out on experiencing this beautiful country. 

While traveling, take care of your belongings. Beware of pickpockets and snatchers, especially in a crowd, markets, or on public transports. You can carry your valuables in a hidden pocket inside your pants or dress, so that they cannot be snatched.

While planning your tour destinations in India, you have to be aware of situations (and tensions) in North-Eastern states, Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, and borderland areas of India and Pakistan. For security reasons, you may even be advised to avoid these places, though the beauty of these places is unparallel.

Severe weather can be a problem while traveling to some parts of India. So check the weather conditions of your destinations before embarking on the journey. Heat waves, dust storms, and heavy rains are to be expected, depending on the time of your visit and the region.

Always carry a water bottle with you, as it is essential to remain hydrated. It is better to use bottled branded water for drinking. 

If you are a woman traveling alone to India, you must take necessary precautions. This is a cautionary note and doesn’t mean you cannot travel alone to India. If you are alone, stay in well known hotels. Many hotels provide safe rooms for women travelers. Avoid traveling during the night or staying out late. Avoid visiting secluded areas where there are fewer people. If you are visiting during festival seasons, it is best to stay away from crowds. And pack clothes which are comfortable and less revealing.

Due to the new pandemic protocols, all travelers must upload a self-declaration form on the Air Suvidha Portal and carry a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of commencing the journey. Also, make sure your vaccinations are up to date with the relevant certificates in printed form. Many countries advise on taking travel insurance while traveling to India.

Related post: What to pack for a vacation in Maldives.

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