Congratulations! You have taken the plunge (or are about to) and are set to come to India. Now, packing for a trip can be stressful and confusing especially if you are going to a country that you know little about. Take a look at this list of what to pack for India to help you get the basics in place.
Remember, India is a conservative place even though you will see people dressed quite modern in big cities. As a tourist it is always a good idea to blend in rather than stand out. Indians also tend to view well dressed people with more respect.
It is also a place that has warm daytime temperatures most months, so you want to carry cool, airy clothes. Two months of cold winters will require some warm clothing.
So here goes.
Loose cotton clothing
This includes full length pants. Places of worship and smaller towns and villages are particularly conservative and full covering pants are considered more respectable than shorts, even for men.
Knee length shorts can be worn in modern cities but ideally women tourists should avoid wearing shorts outside hotels. Women can also bring long flowing skirts which are cool, fashionable and modest at the same time.
Ofcourse, carry cotton T-shirts, blouses and tops. Always a good idea to have some flowing, loose garments that are not body hugging or revealing. Men should carry a couple of collared t-shirts as these are considered more proper. Women could also bring a full sleeved shirt or a thin shrug which can be worn over sleeveless tops for when they go into conservative areas or places of worship.
All good hotels will offer laundry services. Many travelers carry the bare minimum and get their clothes laundered on the way.
An absolute must, this is a multi-utility ‘garment’. You can cover bare shoulders, use them as sarongs to cover legs or cover the head if required while visiting some shrines. Trains, airports and aircrafts can have over-effective air conditioning so again these are life-savers.
Comfy foot wear
Most walking surfaces in the country are uneven and wearing closed shoes to protect the feet is a good idea. In winters you will almost certainly need the closed shoes due to the cold. During the warmer months you may prefer to wear sandals. Whatever you decide to bring, make sure they have good grip, sturdy soles, strap on to your feet and are comfortable.
A warm pullover, a warm jacket or coat and warm shawl/scarf
North Indian winters are brief but can be very cold, often with an icy breeze blowing. Be well prepared for this. The best is to get things that you can wear in layers and keep peeling off as the day gets warmer.
Nice clothes for dinners, visits to Indian families, etc.
‘Smart casuals’ can sum up the look that is appropriate and respectable in India. For men a button-down shirt with pant is always a winner in India. Women can wear a dress or a skirt that comes below the knees. Alternatively, pants with a blouse.
The obvious ones:
Hats, caps, sunglasses.
Apart from this list of what to pack for India, there are some essential items and accessories that you should bring with you. I will be posting a list of these soon.