India packing list

Everything you’ll need for traveling in India

India is not an easy country to pack for: The climate varies dramatically, modesty is a constant issue and traveling on public transport means your bag needs to be small.

Before, when I went on euro-weekend trips I’d always pack around 15 kilos, I’d want my dresses, heels, trainers and an arsenal of makeup. It was heavy and it was unnecessary, I needed a wheelie suitcase just to get anywhere, so on my 6 month trip to India, I decided to change my strategy drastically. No carrying 1000 nail polishes and 10 party dresses, I was taking only the bare essentials.

10 kilos in my backpack was all I took, that turned out to be enough stuff for 6-months on the road. Yes, I did have to get a few bits and bobs when I was out there, but by packing this way I saved both money (buying stuff cheaper in India) and weight (no carrying what I didn’t need at the time).

So what did I fit into my tiny backpack?


2 long skirts

For when you want to dress up a bit

2 long pairs of lightweight trousers

To stay cool in the heat

1 thermal leggings

To wear under your baggy trousers if you visit colder regions such as the northern states.

3 T-shirts

Should ideally cover your shoulders, no camis or croptops (sadly).

1 Long sleeve top

For chilly evenings and protection from mosquitos.

1 Hoodie

For visiting colder regions

1 Shawl or sarong

To wear when visiting temples and covering up in public places.

1 Waterproof jacket

This is essential especially around monsoon season (note: it can be monsoon in one part of the country but not another, always check the weather for different regions).

1 Pair of thermal socks, 3 pairs of normal socks

You don’t need many because you’ll mostly be wearing flip flops.

6 Pairs of underwear

Be prepared to spend a lot of time washing your underwear in the sink.

1 Pair of flip flops

For walking on the beach or through town.

1 Pair of trainers

For when you’ll be walking long distances

1 Swimsuit

So you can get a kick ass tan and swim in the sea.

Electronics and accessories

Kindle Fire

So much better than carrying lots of books. I have a kindle fire which lets me go on the internet, It’s great because it’s cheap so I don’t worry about breaking it, plus I can download useful apps like notebooks to can keep track of things.

Battery packs

These handy batteries allow you to charge your devices on the go. A great way to avoid being stuck on a 12-hour bus without music!


In India you can expect power cuts nearly every night, pack a torch somewhere you can easily get to.

Packing cubes

These bundle your clothes really small so you save space and also help to keep your bag organized.

Travel towel

This towel not only dries super fast, it also takes up minimal space in your bag.

Silk sleeping bag liner

This was one of my best travel buys, it packs up super small so you can carry it in a daypack and whip it out when you need. It can be useful on cold AC buses and if you’re staying in a Hostel with dubious sheets.

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