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Suggested India Packing List

What to Bring, and What Not to Bring, to India


India is a developing country with conservative dress standards. Therefore it's important that you take time to consider what to bring to India. Here are some suggestions for your packing list.


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The type of luggage best suited for travel to India really depends on your itinerary. If you only plan to visit major cities and don't intend to do much walking, a suitcase is fine. However, roads and pavements are often dirty and in poor condition. Therefore, if you intend to travel a lot on foot and go off the beaten path, a backpack is better.


Many people prefer to shop for clothes in India as they like to adopt a more local way of dressing and clothes can be purchased very cheaply. However, cities such as Mumbai and Delhi are fast becoming very westernized and you'll see people wearing jeans and t-shirts. In smaller cities and villages, people still dress conservatively. 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.


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. Therefore it also helps if you describe your symptoms, such as headache or stomach ache, to the pharmacist.

Personal Care Items

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. The entrance fee at many tourist sites can be paid in US dollars if you have the exact change, so do carry some US currency with you in small denomonations. Indian currency is highly regulated can't be purchased outside India, so it's also a good idea to carry some currency that you can exchange for Indian rupees when you arrive at the airport in India.


Shoes are another thing that can be bought very cheaply in India. Markets abound with them in all different colors and designs. You get what you pay for though, so 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.

Other Useful Items

Anti-bacterial hand wipes are extremely useful for many situations. A torch or flash light, padlock and chain, and toilet paper also come in handy. If you wish to use any electronic devices from the United States, you'll need a voltage converter and plug adaptor. People coming from countries with 230V currency, such as Australia and the UK, only require a plug adaptor for their appliances.

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