So, you’ve decided to embark on a thrilling journey to India, but you want to ensure you’re well-prepared without burning a hole in your pocket. Well, you’re in for a treat! As a traveler who has explored India for over 4 years, I’m here to share my tried-and-tested packing tips with you.
Here are the 15 essential items for India travel:
- Indian eSIM
- Slip-On Sneakers
- Sweat-Wicking Clothing
- Antibacterial Underwear
- Joggers or Long Skirts
- Grapefruit Seed Extract
- Wallet-Sized Phone Tripod
- Power Adaptor with Multiple Ports
- Noise-Cancelling Earbuds
- Premium Powerbank
- 1TB USB Flashdrive
- Luggage Locks
- 100% Light-Blocking Eye Mask
- 10-Hour White Noise Generator
- Resistance Fitness Bands
This isn’t your typical packing list for India travel, as I’ve rarely seen these items on other posts. But my time in India would be much less fun if I didn’t have any of these items.
Before diving headfirst into this mesmerizing world, let’s ensure you’ve got the right gear to make your experience unforgettable. Read to the end because even one of these items could be the difference between the trip of your lifetime and a trip full of regrets.
Trust me. These will make your journey smoother and more enjoyable.
Planning a trip to India at some point? Check out my free ebook to help you save time and money, and avoid headaches. After +4 years in India, I’ve made plenty of mistakes, and this guide shares what I’ve learned so you can have a smoother trip.
15 Essential Items for India Travel
During my time in India, I realized that having the right items can turn a challenging situation into a pleasant one. So let’s dive into these essential items.
1. India eSIM
When I land in India, I want to have the internet to check my hotel bookings, access maps easily, or show documentation from emails. But without an Indian SIM card or using an expensive international option, that’s not possible.
That’s why I always buy an Airalo eSIM before I travel.
It’s budget-friendly, and I get 1 GB to access the internet while I figure out how to get a SIM. If I were doing a short trip, I would just use this instead of dealing with the hassle of getting a SIM card. Because on my first trip, my iPhone wouldn’t work with the local SIMs, so I had to pay for daily service from Verizon and it was expensive.
Pro Tip: You can buy your eSIM online before your trip, ensuring you’re connected as soon as you land. Check out Airalo for the latest deals.
Want a full packing list for men and women? Here’s a packing list for India trips + free PDF
2. Slip-On Sneakers
I cannot stress enough the importance of comfortable footwear. India’s bustling bazaars, ancient forts, and expansive national parks require a lot of walking.
I found slip-on sneakers to be the perfect combination of comfort and convenience, especially when visiting temples where you frequently need to remove your shoes. Or some shops will make you take off your shoes, and on my first trip, it was a pain always to have to remove my laced-up sandals.
Now, I use these amazing Kizik sneakers that I can easily slip on and off without bending down or taking off my backpack. These shoes use a technology originally meant for handicapped individuals who couldn’t bend down to unlace their shoes. I think Nike owns the technology, but this small brand is making a splash and could help your trip.
You can also find a model from Sketchers, which I didn’t find as comfortable. But you may enjoy them. You can try them risk-free, which I did, then send back my least favorite.
Pro Tip: Choose a pair with dark colors because the Indian streets will throw some dust, mud, and other things at you (I’m looking at you, cows!).
Packing list for only men? I put together the ultimate men’s packing list for an India trip + free PDF
3. Sweat-Wicking Clothing
The Indian climate can be hot and humid, particularly in the summer. I remember visiting Jaipur, where temperatures soared above 40°C (104°F). That’s when I discovered the benefits of sweat-wicking clothing.
Shirts made with merino wool are especially good as they keep you cool, wick away sweat, and don’t retain odors. I can wear mine all day, wash it in the sink, and it will dry by morning with the fan in my room.
Or if I miss washing it for a day, it’s fine because of the anti-odor protection.
Pro Tip: Pack a mix of short and long-sleeved shirts to balance the need for sun protection and ventilation.
Read my full review of the best travel shirt for men
4. Antibacterial Underwear
Hygiene is a top priority while traveling; antibacterial underwear can make a significant difference. It keeps you fresh during long train journeys or flights, and you can easily hand-wash them in your hotel room.
I like Ex-Offico for its durability. They’re priced higher, but I’ve had pairs for years, and they have retained their shape and function.
Pro Tip: Opt for quick-drying ones so they’re ready to wear again in no time.
5. Joggers or Long Skirts
Respecting local customs and dress codes is essential. While exploring India, I noticed that joggers (and long skirts or yoga pants for my girlfriend) were both comfortable and culturally appropriate choices. They also protect from the sun and mosquitoes.
I can wear my joggers out to restaurants without worrying about a dress code. I can wear them in my temples without the fear that if I wore shorts, they would be rejected. And they’re comfortable for long air-conditioned train, plane, or bus rides.
I currently have a budget pair from Russell, and they’re completely fine. They don’t shrink if I wash them carefully (no drying). They don’t get stained if I spill a bit of masala chain. I like the fit, too; it’s not too tight or loose. You can’t beat the price of them.
Pro Tip: Opt for lightweight, breathable materials to keep cool in the heat.
Read more: Can Guys Wear Shorts in India?
6. Grapefruit Seed Extract
India’s rich and spicy food is a sensory delight but sometimes can lead to an upset stomach. Grapefruit Seed Extract was my go-to remedy to fend off potential digestive issues. It’s known for its antimicrobial properties and is often used by people with irritable bowel syndrome. But it can be used if you notice stomach troubles. You can also use it to help prevent issues before they become serious.
It’s budget-friendly to buy off Amazon in the USA. But I paid 5 times the price in India, so pick it up before you come.
Pro Tip: Add a few drops to a glass of water daily as a preventative measure. Add a few more drops after a spicy meal or if your stomach rumbles.
Want to bring a great gift from the USA to India? Here are the best items that are cheap in the USA and expensive in India
7. Wallet-Sized Phone Tripod
From the majestic Himalayas to the pristine beaches of Goa, India is full of picture-perfect moments. A wallet-sized tripod was my constant companion, allowing me to capture stunning photos, especially when traveling solo.
I used to carry a big tripod, but what a pain. I rarely used it, and when I did, I wished I didn’t have to.
Now this credit card-sized tripod is always with me, and it does a solid job letting me capture selfies and videos. I use it often for shooting for my Youtube channel, especially when I’m tasting street food.
It doesn’t look like much since it’s plastic, but after a year of hard use, it’s still as good as new.
Read more: Best Places in India for Photography
8. Power Adaptor with Multiple Ports
It goes without saying that you need a universal converter for your electronics since India has different power sockets. The power sockets in India are of type D or M, and the standard voltage is 230 V.
But you also want to have a charger that has multiple slots. I’ve been in some hotel rooms and there’s only one socket. This is a disaster if you’re a Youtuber and digital nomad, as I have a bunch of stuff to plug in.
That’s why I use a charger with multiple USB-C, regular USB, and its power socket. I can charge my laptop, phone, tablet, camera batteries, and more with this device. Then I can get some sleep after a long day without having to wake up to switch them around as each charge.
Pro Tip: An adaptor with USB ports will be especially handy for charging smartphones, tablets, or your camera.
9. Noise-Cancelling Earbuds
India can be a symphony of sounds, whether it’s the bustling street markets or the overnight train journeys. Noise-canceling headphones helped me focus on work or relax with some music amidst the ambient noise. The compact size of the AirPods made them perfect for travel.
I like to use them on walks to play my favorite jams and experience the Indian streets. I can turn on Transparency Mode to amplify the sounds nearby, so I don’t get hit by a rickshaw. Or I can turn on noise canceling and have peace after a long day.
I thought about over hear headphones, but Airpods are the perfect size for travel. I broke my over-ear headphones on my first India trip, so I wouldn’t recommend them.
I tried out six wireless earbuds models and liked the Airpod Pros best. They had the best fit and were easy to pair with my Apple gear.
Pro Tip: Choose a pair with long battery life to avoid running out of charge during those long journeys.
10. Premium Powerbank
While on the move, keeping my phone charged was essential for navigation and staying connected. A high-capacity power bank that could charge my phone multiple times was a lifesaver, especially during day-long trips when I had no access to power outlets.
On my first India trip, I had a power bank that would only charge my phone once, and on a long travel day, it almost wasn’t enough. You don’t want to be on a train hoping that the outlet works or watching your phone at the lone outlet at the airport.
Now I have a power bank that will recharge my iPhone multiple times without recharging it. I never have to worry about my phone running out or having to plug it in at some random place.
I can also forget to recharge it, which’ll often be good for a few travel days. With my old one, I had to recharge it asap, or else I’d be out of luck if I traveled for a few days in a row.
Plus, it keeps my tablet going longer if I want to watch movies at the airport. Or it keeps my laptop going for a few extra hours if there’s an extended power cut.
Pro Tip: Choose a power bank that charges devices like your camera or headphones.
11. 1TB USB Flash Drive
I loved the train journeys in India, but they can be long. A 1TB USB flash drive filled with my favorite movies, series, and books was my best friend during those times.
I bought two, and one holds all my fun stuff. The other backs up my laptop.
Plus, most TVs in India have a USB slot, so I can plug it in and watch my favorite shows from most of my accommodation. This is a lot of fun for a movie lover like myself and a welcome treat after a long day of exploring.
You can’t beat the amount of stuff it holds!
Pro Tip: Don’t buy a cheap model or a plastic one. The ones I bought are metal and durable as I throw them in and out of my bag from place to place.
12. Luggage Locks
I always had peace of mind knowing my belongings were secure with a sturdy luggage lock, especially during those crowded train journeys. I also use them for flights or bus trips too.
Now I can take a nap and worry less about someone stealing my unmentionables.
Pro Tip: Choose a TSA-approved lock. If your bag is selected for inspection, the TSA can unlock and relock your bag, avoiding any damage to the lock or bag.
Between different time zones and irregular sleep schedules, a 100% light-blocking eye mask was essential to rest well. It was particularly useful on flights and during daytime naps.
Staying in a hotel room after Airbnb from one place to another, I know that having quality sleep makes a huge difference in my enjoyment of a trip. This premium sleep mask has helped me get quality sleep no matter where I go.
The only downside is that the strap does wear out after 6 months to a year, so I have to buy a new one.
Pro Tip: Choose a mask with an adjustable strap for the most comfortable fit.
14. 10-Hour White Noise Generator
Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial while traveling, and a white noise generator helped me do just that, masking the noise of bustling streets or loud hotel neighbors.
I tried earplugs at first, but I didn’t find them comfortable when my ear was pressed into the pillow. The ear plug hurt my ears.
But now I use a 10-hour white noise generator. I subscribe to Youtube Premium, which lets me download videos and has many options. This means I can turn it on without worrying about using WIFI.
Pro Tip: Many free white noise apps are available if you don’t want to subscribe to Youtube.
Staying fit during my travels was important. Resistance bands were easy to pack and allowed me to maintain my fitness regimen, whether in a hotel room in Mumbai or a beach in Kerala.
It can be tough to find gyms if I’m in an area for a short time, so this ensures my fitness routine stays on track.
Pro Tip: Look for online workout routines specifically designed for resistance bands to maximize your exercise.
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How reliable is internet connectivity in India?
Major cities and tourist destinations in India have good internet coverage. However, some remote areas may have limited connectivity, so having an India eSIM for data can be beneficial. Also send messages to Airbnb hosts or hotel employees and ask them to check the WIFI speed before you arrive.
Is it easy to find vegetarian or vegan food in India?
Yes, India has a diverse range of food options. Many Indians are vegetarians, and vegan food is also becoming more popular. Always check with the restaurant or food vendor to make sure.
What is the standard voltage and power socket type in India?
The standard voltage in India is 230 V, and the power sockets are of type D or M. It’s recommended to carry a universal power adaptor.
Are there specific dress codes for religious sites in India?
Many religious sites in India require visitors to cover their shoulders and knees, so it’s beneficial to carry a scarf or wear long clothes when visiting these places.
Is it necessary to wear traditional Indian clothes while visiting India?
While not mandatory, wearing Indian clothing like a kurta or saree can help you blend in and shows respect for the local culture. However, comfort should be your top priority, so choose what you feel best in.
Is it safe to travel to India?
As with any country, taking precautions is important when traveling in India. Stay aware of your surroundings, avoid isolated areas, especially at night, and secure your valuables. Overall, India is a safe country to visit, with millions of tourists visiting each year.
What are the things needed to travel to India?
To travel to India, you will need a valid passport and visa, travel insurance, and vaccinations. You should also pack light, loose-fitting, and breathable clothing, a scarf or shawl, comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, bug spray, a first-aid kit, a power adapter, money, and a translator. Depending on the time of year and the specific places you plan to visit, you may also need to pack other items.
Congratulations, fellow travelers! Armed with these essential items and insider tips, you’re ready to embrace India’s vibrant chaos and beauty. From the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas to the sun-kissed beaches of Goa, this magical land will steal a piece of your heart. Remember, budget travel doesn’t mean missing out on amazing experiences. It means savoring each moment, connecting with locals, and making memories that last a lifetime.
Exploring India on foot is necessary, so don’t let uncomfortable shoes hold you back. If you want to make your trip easy, go with slip-on shoes.
You can buy an eSIM from Airalo before you go, and for just a few bucks, you can avoid stress when you arrive.
For clothing, sweat-wicking Merino wool shirts will keep you cool and clean with minimal effort. Comfortable joggers or long skirts can be worn in most places, even in temples or religious sites. Antibacterial underwear can be easily washed, and the best brands, like ExOfficio will last for years.
For electronics, a multi-ported charger will keep your devices topped up, even with minimal sockets. You can get a power bank that offers multiple charges to take the stress off your travels because you will rely on your phone. Using a high-quality USB flash drive will let you relax after a long day with your favorite entertainment.
Then for health purposes, pack grapefruit seed extract, and your stomach will thank you. A white noise generator will help you sleep well, wake up, and explore refreshed. A premium eye mask will help you sleep on trains, planes, buses, and hotel rooms. While resistance bands will help you stay fit with very little extra weight in your bag.
With your optimized packing guide, you’re just one step away from uncovering the treasures of India. Embrace the vibrant chaos, connect with locals, and immerse yourself in the rich cultural tapestry of this extraordinary country. India’s wonders await – it’s time to embark on the adventure of a lifetime!