The Only Backpacking Through India Packing List You Need

There are loads of backpacker’s packing lists all over the web, but this one is specific to India. Unsurprisingly, you will have to take a different type of clothing and tools for your trip in somewhat-conservative India. Backpacking India alone is a unique experience and you can expect to be challenged in many ways. Being prepared can make a huge difference, so I’m putting together this backpacking through India packing list! Before I share what to pack for India, I’ll just link to some other resources and blog posts you might want to check out. I’ve been living here in India and traveling all over the country for the past 5.5 years.

India Packing List: What to Pack for India

Before You Go

My India Guide Ebook

Of course, I have to say pack my book (even though it’s on your phone or Kindle). I do think that my India guide will make sure you have the most stress-free trip while seeing all the top attractions here (no FOMO!). You can read more about my book on India here. I have been here over 6 years now and put all the tips I have in this book along with itineraries (with custom maps) and made it a real path you can follow.

Budget Tip for Getting Here + Around

Assuming you’re backpacking through India because you’re on a bit of a budget, here’s my favorite tip on getting the BEST deal for flights both international and domestic. Skip all the other flight search engines, and use Kiwi. You can even play around with the routes here.

I LOVE Kiwi, and I’ve written about how I use it a few different times. It seriously is the best!

Before You Come, You NEED These 4 Things

  1. Journey Insurance. I use World Nomads which is what Lonely Planet recommends and you can read here what is and isn’t included in their plans.
  2. A VISA. You would be surprised how many people email me saying they showed up without one and got sent home. Click here to see what one you need and GET IT ahead of time.
  3. How you’ll stay in touch. You can buy a SIM card if you have an unlocked phone. You need to bring documents to do this in India like 2×2 images and passport/visa copies. It can be a huge pain. If you’d rather have it set up ahead of time, Trabug is a travel phone that you can have shipped to your hotel in India. This phone has the internet and all kinds of India travel apps on it. It’s more expensive than a SIM, but SIM cards are also a hassle. You don’t want to be in India without access to the internet.
  4. My essential guide to Goa. I wrote a 170-page ebook the Insider’s Guide to Goa which you can buy with this link. It’s all my secrets to make sure you have the BEST time here.
  5. To start planning your India trip, check my step by step blog post which takes you through it all. Also, read my 100 tips for traveling India. This blog post is more about a traveling through India checklist in terms of packing, but those other posts are full India travel checklists that take into account everything you need to do to prepare.

Figure out what regions you’ll be traveling in. India has 5:

  1. Desert
  2. City
  3. Mountains
  4. Beach
  5. Jungle (Ghats, Forests)

When it comes to packing for the beach, you can pack normal clothes like shorts and dresses. If you are going to Goa or Kerala, you can pack pretty much whatever you want. For Kerala, you’ll need to add a few more conservative items as a solo female traveler. Overall, if you were backpacking around Asia and India was just one place, I wouldn’t pack special stuff for India: the same way you have to cover at a temple in Cambodia would be a similar outfit to wear in India.

In the big cities and rural areas, you need to dress conservatively. It’s going to be scorching in Rajasthan with dry heat.

If you plan to go to the mountains during winter for treks, you’ll need warm clothes too like a parka.

With so many types of clothing necessary, it could get complicated trying to decide what you need. So here you go!

Detailed Backpacking Through India Packing List

I went to the Himalayas in November for a month (I know, what was I thinking!?), and it was amazing but frigid. I went to all 5 of the different regions listed above and fit everything I needed in a 65L backpack. I took my REI Crestrail 65L Backpack for 3-6 months, and I take my smaller REI Traverse 48L Backpack for 1-3 months. I have used REI for nearly 10 years and these backpacks can make it through anything. 

Even if you go to India for less than three months, I think you need the larger bag if you’re planning to go to more than 3 of the 5 regions. If you’re going to shop, definitely do the larger bag.

General India Journey Items You’ll Want to Pack for India

1 pair of long yoga pants (yes, you can wear them in yoga classes here but don’t walk around in them)

1 pair of yoga capris for layering if you’re going to a cold region

sela pass arunachal pradesh


These were great with leggings underneath while in the mountains. The breezy Ali Baba pants are much too thin. I wear my black high waisted “Jamie” skinny jeans constantly now. They’re from Topshop, and they’re the bomb! Since they’re high waisted, they’re really flattering, and I’ll only buy “Jamie” jeans now in every color. I also love these Levis.

Gym shorts for sleeping (or working out if you’re into that kind of thing)

1 long cute fancy skirt

1 long cotton maxi skirt

2 cute crop tops

1 long sleeve thin sweater

1 long sleeve blouse/ cover-up

1 long sleeve denim button up shirt

3 t-shirts (I love the V-necks from Urban Outfitters)

2 camis

1 tank top to sleep in

7 pairs undies

2 bras (at least one comfy, one real). Urban Outfitters bras are my go-to, but here are a few favorites:

1 swimsuit

Surfing in Varkala

I am bikini obsessed. I love San Lorenzo, Agua Bendita, and Vitamin A, but for travel, I always take my L*space bikini. They are a little more full coverage than the Brazilian style I normally wear and they stay on for surfing or whatever adventure sports you try.

1 raincoat

I take my Black North Face Venture jacket. With layers under and a scarf, you’ll be warm enough in the mountains.

1 pair regular socks

1 pair microfiber sock liner from REI, 1 pair of Darn Tough wool socks

I’m not kidding that it’s cold in the mountains in winter. This brand of wool socks is incredible.

Don’t bring these items to India

Most of these you’ll wind up buying here anyway!

If you’re into Ali Baba pants, you can buy them everywhere in India. Yes, you’ll look like a tourist but if you don’t own items that are loose, then buy the cheap 100-200 rupee Ali Baba pants. I, personally, wouldn’t wear them again. I did 6 years ago and can hardly look at those pictures! Now, I wear loose silk pants or loose wrap around pants that are conservative but actually cute. Click here to see where I buy my travel clothes. For outfit examples, you can see what I wore on my recent Rajasthan trip and even check out this post on what to wear in India so you can see outfits that I often wear here. If you want more tips, you can read what to wear in Morocco which are pretty similar.

Don’t bring scarves. Buy a thin silk scarf in Rajasthan to cover your head, and buy a thick pashmina scarf as you head north to keep warm.

Sarongs are another thing to buy here. Don’t even bring one! You’ll get these when you go south to Goa or Kerala.

Any other wool and cold weather items shouldn’t be brought. Buy mittens/gloves, yak-wool poncho or blanket, and a wool hat once you get north. You can even leave this behind as they take up a lot of space and are really cheap.

Smaller bags or pursues just take up space and you will want to buy one. Buy a little coin purse and another little bag for the jewelry you buy along the way. These double as great souvenirs and you can trade pants with travelers as you go! Keep in mind cute western clothing is sold everywhere, but don’t buy it in Bombay, Delhi, or other big cities in the markets. Wait until you are in a tourist town- believe it or not, more options at a better price.

What Shoes to Pack for India

1 pair sandals

These guys are the absolute best travel sandals. However, sometimes it's tricky to figure out what to order, so I made a Chacos buying guide!

I wore Chaco Sandals a year ago EVERY SINGLE DAY. Ranked awesomely for hiking and rafting, I have worn them all through Thailand as well. When white-water rafting they stay stuck to my feet. If I had to re-order, I would get single strap instead of double. I have written a post comparing Chaco’s which you can read here. 

1 pair tennis shoes (optional)

I take smaller ones, not big clunky ones. They go with dresses instead of looking like work out shoes. I actually didn’t take them to India, but I’m adding them to this list because I know some people like to run. I don’t know why as running is the worst. You can read my post on my favorite shoes for travel here

1 pair of sturdy boots

manali india himalayas hippiewell, you can sort of see them here? haha!

KEEN Hiking Boots options worked really well for me and I kept them shoved in the bottom of my bag until eventually, I tied them on the outside. I sadly don’t have any pictures that show the boot except a glimpse here :( they looked cute with jeans though!

If you’re wondering what footwear I would wear to match a nice dress, like the ones I bought in Goa, I go barefoot which is totally ok in India. Or towards the end, in Goa, I bought a cheap pair of flip flops that I threw away.

Some nicer sandal options I’d bring if you want them from Sol Sana or, more casual, Reef.

Check out my full post on my favorite shoes for travel here.

What to Pack for Skincare, Hygiene, and Beauty in India

Most of what is in this photo below you’ll need. I take travel size to save room although it doesn’t save money. I won’t list them all out since you can see them here. The baby wipes you can get here at all the shops, so you can add more as you go. Remember, most toilets won’t have paper. The second photo is the make up I take which I’ll list below.

women packing list india beach

best five star hotel in south goa alila diwa

women packing list india beach

Here it is: Burberry Brit, NARS The Multiple in Orgasm, Sephora Bronzer in Aruba and brush, Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Rose, Victoria Secret Concealer, Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Pout, Laura Mercier Lip Glace, Clinique Almost Lipstick in Flirty Honey, Lash Power Mascara, A face mask, and Clinique Moisture Surge(which is one thing I can’t live without!) 

Extra toiletries to bring


Tampons or DivaCup

I didn’t love the DivaCup for India because the bathrooms aren’t clean. You can buy an OB brand in India, but if you want applicator you’ll have to pack them. It’s best to just get used to OB.

For wearers, take extra.

Know your prescription. You can pick some up on the road very cheaply if need be.

Nail clippers & tweezers

Dove soap- Put it in a Ziploc bag. It takes way less space than a plastic case

Razor -You can buy replacement Venus blades in all Indian shops.

Eye drops

Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray – It’s a total lifesaver.

OPI nail polish

You’ll want it if you get manicures or pedicures. I love the Opi Take Ten Mini Kit but just take one or two)

Packet of tissues for restrooms – You’ll keep buying more throughout the trip, or a roll of t.p.

Hand sanitizer

Hair ties & clips

Sun Bum Face Stick – It’s my favorite! It also smells like bananas!

What Not To Pack - Keep These Off Your Backpacking Checklist

Other necessities to pack when traveling in India

REI Journey Sack Sleeping bag – It compresses to the size of a football and can be strapped to the bottom of your bag. I kid you not, this is SO needed! I love REI. If you aren’t traveling like a bum like me or camping, you won’t need a sleeping bag.

Sleeping bag Mummy Liner – It’s amazing and life-changing, but you could make your own with a sheet if on a tight budget. I use this on the trains.

trains india transport

Master Lock Chain – For trains, if you’re in lowest class

Loads of paperwork, photos, cards, passport & visa

Therm-A-Rest travel pillow – I like that this one is compressible and fits in the side pocket of my backpack. This is the brand REI carries. I take it on planes with me as well. Here are my favorite travel pillows.

travel india train

Microfiber travel towel – Any microfiber towel will do fine.

Sunglasses -Here are some of my favorites:

Journal and pen, which for me is so important

Headlamp – For trains/buses and early morning treks. Nerdy but necessary.

Dirty laundry bag – When you buy clothes in India you will get a silk bag instead of plastic so I used this and threw away the bag I brought.

Lonely Planet – If I go somewhere a short time, I don’t bother, but if I’m there a long time with loose plans, I take one along.

My little travel medical kit

A small side strap everyday purse

Small packets laundry detergent – Buy more as you go, but I always hand-wash

backpacking india packing list

backpacking india packing list

Do NOT forget Journey Insurance before your trip!

My go-to is always World Nomads who I’ve used on all my trips and who have an incredible reputation. You can easily type in your dates and get a quote instantly too. They are also partners with Lonely Planet.


*I won’t list all that I take now because with blogging it is more. This is what I took when backpacking prior to blogging.*

Canon PowerShot SX120 IS with a Lowepro camera case and case with extra SD card and batteries

 iPhone with OtterBox case charger

India travel adapter: I love this Adapter which is global and works great here in India.

Fossil Leather Watch


Cheap Nokia for local SIM card

NOTE: There’s, of course, a better option now than when I was backpacking. I listed it above, but just in case, you’ll want to get Trabug if your regular phone isn’t unlocked or you don’t want to deal with the paperwork. Check it out here.

Journey Alarm Clock – It’s absolutely necessary on trains to get off. Solar powered and perfect when I hadn’t charged my phone up in days

What I packed that I never actually used


Unlike Europe, you won’t be locking your bag in train stations.

Bug spray

But, hey I got Dengue Fever…My bad.


I got carried away at REI. When they seemed worried about me I started buying everything they suggested.

Snack bars

Baseball hat

Tiny flashlight

Used my headlamp or phone light

Swiss army knife

It was cute and pink, but I only used it twice.


DON’T bring a carry-on. In your small purse take what you need for the plane ride. As you travel and want to buy things, you’ll have room in your bag for a while.

If you want something larger, like when I bought a wall hanging in Rajasthan, then buy a carry-on bag. They sell woven striped bags all over India for about Rs 100-200 and you’ll see that every other traveler has one! The bag will then serve as another souvenir; you can put all your goodies in it, and on trains keep it next to you while you sleep.

Your backpack with mostly just clothing and toiletries can be chained on the floor below you on trains and buses or thrown on top of a bus with no worries of losing your new special mementos.

If you are going to be taking 2-day treks, you should bring a small day-pack backpack, in which case you will use that as a carry-on and disregard advice above. Don’t make this a “cute” bag, make it practical like this one.

Ok, that was a lot! If you’re planning on coming to India, check my travel resources page to see what I use for booking flights and hotels.

** This post contains affiliate links. As always, I appreciate your support!

Pin “Backpacking Through India Packing List” for Later!


About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. J in Beijing April 1, 2014 at 5:20 am - Reply

    Good tip on layering leggings and jeans- I always do that when it gets cold! I need to get a new backpack soon for my summer travels so will check out Osprey..I need to find out if they stock it in Beijing.

    • Rachel Jones April 2, 2014 at 2:24 am - Reply

      Osprey is great, it’s just so expensive. The great thing is they have warrantys (I forget how long) and REI is basically lifetime warranty anyways, and they sell them! I don’t know about Beijing, but man if they have as high of customs fees as India, I wouldn’t order from the US! I paid over 50% for my ASOS.

  2. Corinne April 1, 2014 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    This list is so comprehensive! Thank you for taking the time to create it!

    • Rachel Jones April 2, 2014 at 2:23 am - Reply

      No problem. It actually gets to serve as a guide to myself on my next big trip :)

  3. Laura April 1, 2014 at 10:38 am - Reply

    These are great tips for backpacking in general, but I have had India on my mind lately. Hopefully I’ll get there one day :)

  4. Taylor April 2, 2014 at 8:34 am - Reply

    This is a good list of things to pack in general. I’ll be taking most of this stuff on my upcoming trip for a year (although I’ll just be using a 48L backpack, yikes! I hope I can fit everything). I love the merino wool socks and the darn tough wool socks, they’re so comfy and warm! Thanks for sharing :)

    • Rachel Jones April 3, 2014 at 4:09 am - Reply

      I’m sure you’ll have no problem fitting it all in! It’s once you find treasure when shopping that you’ll have to make room for ;)

  5. Michael Huxley April 2, 2014 at 8:18 pm - Reply

    Great list! I love those ali baba/fisherman pants, so versatile! One thing that is vital according to all my female friends is a long shawl, as it can be a top, an extra layer, a small blanket for overnight buses, a head scarf or skin cover if needed, basically it can be used for so many things.

    I disagree with the padlock, I’ve always found a good padlock useful in hostels and many other places, but I think most people get carried away at outdoor supply shops before they leave for their first trips!

    • Rachel Jones April 3, 2014 at 4:16 am - Reply

      Yes, I love buying scarves as I go and keeping them as souvenirs. I even have a couple pashminas as curtains! It looks cute. The lock thing I usually would in hostels and such but never stayed at a hostel in in India or anywhere would I’d need to lock something. In Europe or SE Asia, really anywhere else, I take one!

  6. Elora April 12, 2014 at 11:18 am - Reply

    Thanks for this! I will be saving this page, definitely….

    • Rachel Jones April 13, 2014 at 4:34 am - Reply

      It’ll come in handy! Even I’ll use it in the future.

  7. Megan Saia May 5, 2014 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    Hey Rachel! Thanks for this post, it was very helpful as I am planning a month and a half long trip to India next summer. It is my gap year and m parents have finally decided to let me go with a friend but they want me to call them periodically. What is your advice on this? Do I get an international plan? A SIM card? A prepaid phone? Also is the osprey 60 too big for a trip my duration? Thanks, Megan.

    • Rachel Jones May 5, 2014 at 1:17 pm - Reply

      Hi Megan! My parents were the same. You should get a crappy nokia for 20 bucks that you can put a SIM card in. I atually wrote a post on it! Search my site for “sim card” and it’ll come up. You can refill 500 rs on your sim and it’ll last Ages!! the 60 is NOT to big at all. I used a 65.

  8. Colleen June 7, 2014 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel! Thanks for the great list!
    For the Chaco’s sandals, why would you buy the single over the double strapped?

    • Rachel Jones June 8, 2014 at 10:37 pm - Reply

      the double strap pulls a little and unless you’re wearing them every single day and they wear to your foot, you have to adjust them for a few minutes to make them comfortable. Single strap would be easier to work with.

  9. Simone June 28, 2014 at 3:13 am - Reply

    I have been to India several times myself. And I find the best way to dress is simply to buy Indian clothes – not the tourist stuff but what people there actually wear. Indians LOVE Westerners who wear their fashion!

    Personally, I hate backpacks, but I have found that in India there is always somebody who is willing to carry your luggage for just a few rupees. It helps them earn some money and I have my hands free! Classic win-win situation.

    I am a bit astonished that you didn’t use sun screen? I would think that this is essential to prevent sun burns (and I have seen some really ugly ones!). Also, bring a hat or simply do like the Indians do: use an umbrella. I have seen people getting really sick and blaming it on the food when in reality they were probably sun sick.

    • Rachel Jones June 28, 2014 at 4:29 am - Reply

      Hi Simone, thanks for commenting. I don’t wear the Indian stuff because it feels a bit like dress up to me. Maybe it’s because I live here and am more comfortable just wearing my regular stuff. You’re right people are always there to carry for you! As for the sunscreen, I get tanned pretty easily and just never use it- I think living here has made me used to the sun now and I don’t even think about it.

  10. Ana September 6, 2014 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    I’m planning a trip to Rajasthan but we might go a little more north to dharamsala in October. What are your thoughts on taking a fleece coat? Will it just take too much room in my bag? Also, if I’m not planning on hiking so much, should I still bring hiking boots?

    • Rachel Jones September 11, 2014 at 8:19 pm - Reply

      I think it’ll take up too much room. I’d just wear layers. I was there in November and although it was cold at night, during the day the coat wouldn’t be necessary. If you are out once the sun goes down you might get a little chilly but its not worth carrying a coat through your whole trip. The boots, if you’re not hiking, tennies would be ok instead- but very stable ones not little keds.

  11. Francesca September 30, 2014 at 2:54 am - Reply

    hey Rachel,

    Have you ever used a money belt under your clothes? loads of peeps are telling me to get one? x

    • Rachel Jones October 1, 2014 at 7:31 pm - Reply

      No, I haven’t and I don’t think it’s necessary- but then again I’m not always the “safest” traveler. I think as long as you have a purse that zips and you hold onto it you’ll be okay. I’ve actually only known one person to lose her wallet and she may have been pickpocketed or may have dropped it.

  12. meaghan December 21, 2014 at 8:15 am - Reply

    Your packing lists and blog entries are wonderful. I’m heading to India at the end of February in 2016, and you are easing my stress big time! I was wondering what size Therm-A-Rest travel pillow you use? I am also trying to get one, that isn’t too bulky and I have no idea how to pick!

    • Rachel Jones December 22, 2014 at 1:41 pm - Reply

      Thanks Meaghan… I don’t know the exact size, but by looking at it I would guess it’s 12 inches long and about 8 high? it’s pretty big for travel but it scrunches up very small and fits int he waterbottle holder on my backpack

  13. Jill December 29, 2014 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,
    Thanks for the comprehensive list. I’m going to be in india next week – Chennai and Ahmanebad (Gujarat). It’s mostly for business meetings and in 4-5 star hotels. What would you recommend for minimal packing for this?

    • Rachel Jones December 30, 2014 at 3:36 pm - Reply

      Hi Jill, you could always pick up some items here. Most biz girls I know here wear dress pants with a button up blouse/shirt.

  14. Mike January 30, 2015 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,
    Love the site, great read and useful info! I’m leaving for a 3 month cycle tour of India soon and am in the middle of packing and waiting for my visa to arrive. I’m wondering if bottled water is generally available, even in rural areas, or do I need to pack some sterilising tablets? I can get through about 5 litres a day.

    • Rachel Jones January 31, 2015 at 12:59 pm - Reply

      Yes even in rural areas i’ve always found some. In restaurants sometimes not, but filtered water is usually offered. Some people it doesn’t setlle well with so on longer trips I would bring your own in case you stop at a very rural dhabba

  15. Lianne May 14, 2015 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this list. But but why did you pack sunscreen and didn’t use it? Seems like an absolute necessity no matter where you are!

  16. Jenn May 23, 2015 at 6:52 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for your thorough list! Your blog about India is my go-to for tips to prepare for my upcoming trip :)

  17. crazy sexy fun traveler June 28, 2015 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    In India I would be fine with just lose pants, a lose white T-shirt, a pashmina and flipflops (or barefoot as I prefer.) The most comfy for sure :)

  18. James August 11, 2015 at 4:43 am - Reply

    This list is very sexist. UM hello, 50% of the population are males.

  19. lauren September 3, 2015 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Hey Rachel! I love how thorough this list is! I have one question though- I will be traveling throughout various parts of India during late September-Early February (Slow travel, not too fast paced) and was wondering if it’d be useful for me to bring a sleeping bag instead of just a bed sheet. I’m worried that since I am a budget traveler, my accommodations won’t be the best. I want to have peace of mind that I’m nice and arm, but also not subjected to potential bed bugs, etc. Did your sleeping bag work out for you well or was it a bulky hassle? Thanks!!

    • lauren September 3, 2015 at 1:40 pm - Reply

      *nice and warm

    • Rachel Jones September 3, 2015 at 5:44 pm - Reply

      If you don’t mind carrying it then yeah I would take it along. Especially the months you are going!

  20. Keely Jackson October 2, 2015 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    Such great information thankyou, my friend and I are looking at traveling India around Christmas 2016 for around 4 weeks backpacking, we don’t want to go to high populated areas and maybe looking at travelling down the coast, any suggestions ?
    Cheers Keely

    • Rachel Jones October 4, 2015 at 6:13 pm - Reply

      Hi Keely,

      The only coastal town between Mumbai and the start of beaches of Goa is Ratnagiri. It’s not touristy at all and has a neat temple.

    • Keely Jackson October 5, 2015 at 11:38 am - Reply

      Thanks so much, I have heard there is a blue city ? And do you think we can do and see fair bit in 4 weeks of the coastline of India ?

      • Rachel Jones October 5, 2015 at 4:08 pm - Reply

        Yep the blue city is called Jodhpur in Rajasthan. 4 weeks on the coast would be a lot of time. Enjoy!

  21. Chris October 6, 2015 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    When you travel through India do you just purchase bottled water, or did you use some kind of sterilizer? I will be travelling through East Africa and India and think that bottled water purchases everyday could end up adding up over the long run

    • Rachel Jones October 7, 2015 at 5:16 pm - Reply

      I just buy it in India because a huge bottle is 20 rupees which is about 30 cents US. I have heard of people using steripens but I just don’t know if I trust it!

  22. Dhilal October 17, 2015 at 9:31 pm - Reply


    I’m looking to stay in India for two months and I feel like I should see a lot but feel like I shouldn’t skip through it either. Do you have any suggestions?

    Also, how far in advance did you apply for your visa? I want to arrive in May.

    Thank you SOOO much :)

    • Rachel Jones October 19, 2015 at 1:01 pm - Reply

      Keep in mind, once you apply, the date that’s on the visa stamps your start of 6 months, so you don’t want to apply too early I think a month is okay.

  23. Lauren October 26, 2015 at 8:16 pm - Reply

    BEST POST EVER. For India and all places! <3 I love ALL your posts. Thank you. You seriously answer ALL my questions. For example putting brands that India has is incredibly helpful! Often I think silly Americans are ignorant and dont realize the products India has…

  24. Maxi November 11, 2015 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    i’m SO glad i stumbled across your blog the other day. i’m gonna go to india in december to do a yoga instructor course in rishikesh and reading your blog really convinced me to stay longer after that to travel the country!

    • Rachel Jones November 11, 2015 at 7:44 pm - Reply

      That’s awesome to hear! Let me know how the class goes :)

  25. Grace December 6, 2015 at 10:35 am - Reply


    Super great advice!! However, I am curious about the clothing choices. I noticed that you put down crop tops and tank tops. I was under the impression that India is a very conservative country and that clothing like that would draw unwanted attention. Is that clothing just for Goa? I know its more liberal there. I am travelling through Varanassi, Rajasthan and the Himalayas. Would it still be appropriate to pack crop tops and tank tops?

    • Rachel Jones December 7, 2015 at 10:31 am - Reply

      Hey Grace, check out this article which explains a bit more about girls’ clothing in India bellies are usually okay as thy show completely in a sari & most of my indian girlfriends wear them in the cities, although not somewhere very rural. tank tops are okay – some salwar kameez are sleeveless but take a scarf to throw over for temples.

  26. Rhonda Stevens December 7, 2015 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    This is extremely helpful post! My friends and I are planing to visit India in two months. We still have no idea where exactly we are heading to. It’s great to find this further information so we will be much more prepare about our trip! Best regards

  27. Berta January 18, 2016 at 2:27 am - Reply

    Hey Rachel,
    I read your articles to prepare for my upcoming trip to India! I found very useful information like this checklist. Did you ever use mosquito net while sleeping? Do you think it can be found in India easily on markets? Or should I bring one with me?

    • Rachel Jones January 19, 2016 at 10:21 am - Reply

      You could find one here easily if you want one, but any place you go that you will need one, it will be provided- at least that has always been my luck.

  28. Nawaf koshim February 14, 2016 at 1:30 am - Reply

    Good tips ….my plan is set in May I ll go Kashmir first then I drop by Goa…

  29. Kyla Gagnon July 30, 2016 at 3:39 am - Reply

    You are a fabulous writer and SO informative! I am heading to India Nov 1 this fall . Kolkata to volunteer, Varanasi to take it all in and Goa for yoga:) You have helped ease my mind a little in regards to what to pack… I was over thinking it FOR SURE:) Are you still in Goa?

  30. Karin October 9, 2016 at 11:20 am - Reply

    What about Wi-Fi, is it easy to find? Which are the options to keep comunicated to my family, while I am traveling in India?

  31. stephanie October 20, 2016 at 11:53 am - Reply

    this is a lot of stuff to bring but i guess you are going on a much more length trip! i’m leaving this saturday oct 22 to nov 2 and only to goa for the first time! thank you!

  32. Dick-Jan Leegwater October 28, 2016 at 1:54 am - Reply

    Thanks! I leave half of the stuff I had in mind at home :)

  33. Lyse Michaud Nehme February 23, 2017 at 1:47 am - Reply

    Thank you for a very helpful post. With minor clothing adjustments and no need for the sleeping bag your list is perfect for a sixty something first time traveler to northern India. My one question is: should I buy local clothing items when I arrive in Dehli or wait and buy in the other city of Rajasthan.I expect to visit for 21 days in the fall this year and do the south next year.

    • Rachel Jones February 23, 2017 at 10:23 am - Reply

      It depends on what you’re looking for. If you want “Indian” clothing you’ll want to buy in Delhi for sure. If you want “traveler hippie” clothing then you’ll get that all over cheaply in Rajasthan. You can go to Fab India in Delhi for cheap nice quality Indian clothing.

  34. Janice March 5, 2017 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel!

    Thank you so much for this article! Your site has been immensely helpful for planning purposes :) is there anything I can’t get in India that I should bring from Canada? Hand sanitizer, tissues, wet ones… ect all that type of stuff I assume I could get in India?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Rachel Jones March 6, 2017 at 1:24 pm - Reply

      yes you can get it all here! There’s very little you’ll need you can’t get!

  35. Laura April 21, 2017 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    Great list and reminder about what to pack for my upcoming trip! Thanks Rachel :-)

  36. Sharon trickett August 16, 2017 at 2:29 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel have you done the book on India in paper back or just e book

  37. Jessica November 6, 2017 at 9:38 am - Reply

    Thank you for your article! Do you have any suggestions about trying to carry-on versus checking backpacks on Spice Jet for domestic flights? Trying to figure out how critical it will be to size down.

    • Rachel Jones November 6, 2017 at 12:29 pm - Reply

      Most domestic flights in India allow 15 kg checked luggage unless you book “economy saver” or something like that which is a selection of the cheapest seats where no luggage is included. Prices on luggage here are high if you go over around 250 rs/kg which is like 5 dollars per 2.2 pounds.

  38. Abdel December 11, 2017 at 12:53 am - Reply

    Hey Rachel,
    Thanks for this blog. It is helping me preparing my travel next January for 2 weeks. I am going to attend my Indian friend’s wedding. I will visit the Golden triangle cities.My question to you is that I don’t like spicy food. Eating lots of it can make me sick.Are there places where I can find non spicy food either restaurants or supermarkets or something?

    • Rachel Jones December 11, 2017 at 9:11 am - Reply

      Don’t worry there are tons are curries that are sweeter based – just tell them you don’t like spice. It’s no problem at all.

  39. […] out my complete PACKING LIST & $20 a day budget for […]

  40. Heather Kembel October 11, 2018 at 5:38 am - Reply

    Nice blog! I will be staying as a guest with a few families as part of an exchange. Any ideas for gifts I could bring from Canada other than maple syrup?

    • Rachel Jones October 11, 2018 at 8:27 pm - Reply

      I am not sure for men really, but for women: nail polish is always a hit & little perfume spray bottle samples to give along the way, beauty items always do well!

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