Table of Contents

34 Top India Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

Taj mahal India
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Asher and I have studied meditation and spiritual practices for over 20 years and have been to India a combined 11 times.

Packing for India is the major leagues of travel. Staying healthy and safe requires research and first-hand intel — and we’ve done our best to help prepare you. While the chaos of the city is not for the faint of heart, the land of the Vedas will be sure to awaken your mind, body, and soul.

Below are my top “must-have” items to help you stay safe and healthy, plus what to wear in India, what NOT to bring, and FAQs to make your trip even more incredible!

34 Top India Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring
See our product selection criteria and guidelines here.

What to Pack for India – 34 Essentials

  • 1. Water Bottle with Built-in Filter

    Finding good drinking water in India is paramount, and we DO NOT recommend drinking unfiltered water under any circumstance. Keep in mind “filtered water” at a hotel or hostel can also be dodgy, and I’d only drink bottled water from one of these three reputable companies: Bisleri, Kinley, and Aquafina.

    Any other water source, I would run through a Grayl water bottle. It removes all bacteria, viruses, chlorine, and other pollutants from the water and is essential if you get stuck in a sticky situation with no bottled water nearby. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s an investment in your health and will give you peace of mind.

    India is known for Delhi Belly, parasites, and waterborne illness that affects almost 40-million locals each year… Don’t gamble with giardia, E. Coli, or typhoid.

    Water Bottle with Built-in Filter

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  • 2. India Power Adapter

    After trying countless different brands, I decided to take matters into my own hands. My company, Hero Travel Supply, sources and sells these quality power adapters that are individually tested in the USA. Every order also comes with a corresponding free ebook that teaches you how to avoid frying your electronics in India. I wrote this comprehensive guide based on years of experience dealing with India’s unpredictable power supply, which can ruin your devices (I know because my $2,000 Macbook got fried)!

    India Power Adapter

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  • 3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    India is the most targeted country for cyberattacks in the world, with the U.S. ranking far behind it. There have been major data breaches, and you do not want to risk your bank account being drained or your identity being stolen in India. You may not realize it, but when you join unsecured Wi-Fi networks, such as at hotels, cafés, or airports – you are putting your passwords and credit card details at risk of being hacked. The good news is a VPN will protect you with just one click! You don’t want your information compromised like ours was at an Airbnb in Paris.

    Additionally, India’s Internet censorship is a massive problem and is still on the rise. To ensure you won’t get blocked from certain websites that you require access to while traveling (Netflix, Hulu, Paypal, work applications, etc.), I recommend using NordVPN. It is surprisingly affordable and too crucial to forgo.

    how a vpn works

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  • 4. Neck Wallet

    You obviously need a passport and visa for India travel, but I also recommend you get a neck wallet. You can conceal money, credit cards, and travel documents under your shirt so you don’t risk losing them or being robbed. Many times I’ve had beggars put their hands in my pockets, and you must be prepared for real poverty in some areas. But since my valuables are tucked out of sight, I’ve never had anything stolen. This one also has RFID-blocking material to prevent e-thieves from scanning your bag at popular, crowded attractions.

    Neck Wallet

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  • 5. Charcoal Tablets (Food Poisoning Remedy)

    Activated charcoal is an incredibly effective way of stopping diarrhea and dysentery (Delhi Belly). India is known for common food poisoning, parasites, and waterborne illness that affects almost 40-million locals each year… No matter how careful you are, there is a good chance you will experience some tummy upset while there. This supplement works as a magnet in your body to quickly absorb the toxins or pathogens that are causing the problem. Whenever I have any sign of diarrhea, I take 2-4 tablets, and typically within 1 or 2 hours, I am back to normal – they are literally lifesavers!

    PRO TIP: We suggest only eating food that is piping hot, fresh, and from reputable busy restaurants with high turnover. Steer clear of uncooked foods like salads and cut fruit as they may be teeming with bacteria. If you still end up getting Delhi Belly, make sure you have adequate support. Ask your hotel or tour company to organize a doctor. Bacteria in India is no joke and killing it sooner rather than later is crucial.

    Charcoal Tablets (Food Poisoning Remedy)

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  • 6. Travel Insurance for India

    Don’t gamble with your coverage while overseas. Your domestic provider will not follow you across your at-home borders, and travel insurance is a non-negotiable for issues like flight cancellations, baggage loss, theft, medical emergencies, transit issues, etc. The last problem you want to face is paying out-of-pocket for an international hospital bill, and India is not the most predictable place to visit. I would personally not visit this fast-paced (at times chaotic) country without protecting my travel investment through comprehensive coverage.

    Faye is the best provider we’ve used because you can custom-create a policy based on each trip. Using factors like your destinations, trip budget, and preferences – Faye personalizes your coverage with protection like emergency medical care and even the ability to “cancel for any reason,” (which is rarely offered by affordable insurance companies and offers a whole lot of flexibility!) It’s inexpensive and you won’t regret having it.

    Faye Travel Insurance

    Get a quote in less than 60 seconds with Faye ➜

  • 7. Cooling Towels

    India can get humid and HOT, and air-conditioning is hard to find when you are out and about. It is not even available in some accommodations, so traveling with this cooling towel is essential. I don’t enjoy feeling overheated, and this chemical-free towel provides instant relief. I simply wet it, wring it out, and place it around my neck for 30-60 minutes of reprise. To continue feeling cool, I just repeat the process. It even comes in its own case so my other belongings don’t get damp when I pack it away.

    cooling towel

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  • 8. Anti-Pollution Disposable Mask (KN95)

    In major cities like Delhi, Kanpur, Varanasi, and Agra – pollution levels are very high. What most people don’t know is that air pollution is worse during the tourist season, from October through March. Farmers are burning stubble to clear harvests, locals burn plastics and oils to stay warm, and more. You don’t want to breathe that in, so we recommend having a breathing mask at all times. This KN95 mask filters out 95% of particles. Wear these in the mornings and evenings when vehicle smog is heightened due to traffic.

    Anti-Pollution Disposable Mask (KN95)

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  • 9. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    India’s bathrooms can offer a wide range of experiences. You may have a luxury stay, or you may encounter some private and public bathrooms that lack storage space and adequate sanitation… and some toilets will literally be a hole in the ground… Just keeping it real guys! Regardless, you’ll appreciate having this hanging toiletry bag that hooks onto any door, wall, hook, pole, etc. We’re obsessed with the sustainable design that offers 4 large compartments on the inside and 3 external pockets for smaller items like floss, medicine, and jewelry.

    You’ll feel like a master of organization since it creates a shelf-like system in any room, helping you maintain your skincare, haircare, and hygiene routines (as well as your sanity). You’re welcome!

    hanging toiletry bag

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  • 10. TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

    Between the number of trains, auto-rickshaws, and taxis you’re bound to take in India, it’s important to secure your bags with luggage locks. You’d be surprised just how quickly a thief can get into an unattended bag, often working in teams or distracting you with street shows, falls, and using children as diversions. With your luggage securely locked, you won’t have to stress about keeping an eye on it every minute of the day. I’ve been there, and it’s no fun.

    luggage locks

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  • 11. Female Urination Device

    Okay, don’t get weirded out by this one. India is a place with limited toilets, and when you do find a toilet, they are often absolutely disgusting. For guys, this is not a problem because we can stand at the side of the road to pee, but for women, that’s not possible. Indian ladies have mastered the art of squatting discreetly without mooning curious onlookers. This little device enables Western women to stand and pee with no mess and no embarrassment.

    Female Urination device

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  • 12. Luggage Straps

    These lightweight luggage straps are an easy addition to your packing list. This extra layer of protection centralizes the weight and takes the pressure off of your delicate zippers. The last thing you need when you arrive to India is for your suitcase to explode open due to overpacking or rough mishandling (which happens to more than 25 million bags each year!) And sadly, it’s way more likely for your bag to get damaged or lost during an international journey vs. domestic, due to the potential for more layovers.

    Use these adjustable belts that can withstand 700+ pounds of force tension. They will take the brunt of any roughness and fit nearly any sized-bag, remaining lightweight despite the heavy-duty belts. They’re also TSA-friendly in case of a random inspection. My favorite perk is the identification factor – brightly-colored straps that allow me to instantly recognize my bags in the chaos of baggage claim, and the built-in ID card means someone can contact you if your belongings get lost.

    luggage straps

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  • 13. Packing Cubes

    Adjusting to the new environment requires a cultural recalibration period, and you’ll be seriously jet-lagged after 24+ hours of travel. All of this can make your mind a bit hazy, but packing cubes make it so much easier to stay organized. You’ll know exactly where everything is because you can label each organizer (tops, bottoms, essentials, excursion items, etc.). Spare yourself from digging through a messy suitcase or throwing things around the room to find them!

    Available on with an exclusive 15% discount using the coupon code “HERO”.

    packing cubes

    Or view them on ➜

  • 14. Kurta

    When traveling to India, we love to wear the local garments! There will be plenty of opportunities to buy pieces on your journey, but having some from the jump is important to ensure you don’t show off too much skin or draw eager eyes. One thing to expect is that the locals will observe and often want to take pictures with you because you look so exotic! So it’s best to do what you can to blend in and respect the culture. Bring along 2-3 tunic-style tops that will get you started on your travels (here is one for men).


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  • 15. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    Indian hotels may (or may not) have towels – and a guest house or lodge usually will not – so bringing your own is a thoughtful provision. Indian bath towels are also thin and not very absorbent, but this travel towel is made with microfiber material that dries 10x faster than cotton. It’s very lightweight and multi-functional, I use them for basic needs like drying off and wiping away sweat, but also for more creative endeavors like seat covers, picnic blankets, beach towels, etc.

    quick-dry travel microfiber towel

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  • 16. Travel Backpack

    Remaining hands-free will be the key to exploring with all necessities on hand. This backpack is super lightweight (weighing less than 1 pound) and is made for travel. It was a serious discovery for us because others were three times the cost at half the quality! When it’s not in use, you can fold it up compactly into its own zippered compartment. It’s truly exceeded our expectations.

    Travel Backpack

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  • 17. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    Face the monsoon-prone weather of India head-on with a windproof umbrella. From spring to summer months, you’ll find the pre-monsoon storms that can blow in the famous Loo winds. By summer, downpours and floods are common. And by autumn, many areas are still experiencing bouts of loitering rainfall. Basically, you’ll need it year-round! This umbrella also comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee.


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  • 18. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    The last thing you want is a dead battery during long days of adventuring, and power grids aren’t always reliable throughout India. This charger has seriously saved us when we were far from the hotel, didn’t have the address, or needed to call for a ride (or India’s version of Uber, an ‘Ola’). Not to mention, this charger can be powered on a foreign electricity grid with dual voltage, so it’s a safe bet for India.

    Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

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  • 19. Discounted Tickets to India’s Attractions

    Get Your Guide is our favorite booking service for excursions that will add a breath of life to your trip. They even offer skip-the-line tickets so you don’t have to stand in a line for hours or risk being turned away from fully-booked attractions.

    For your time in India, you MUST visit 1/7 of the world’s wonders, the Taj Mahal, and there are many temples and palaces to explore, like Swaminarayan Akshardham and Mahabalipuram’s Shore Temple.

    Beyond the grand sights, we recommend making time for down-to-earth activities that will show you the authentic India – things like food tours, the elephant caves of Mumbai, and a cooking class with a local chef. There are also fantastic day trips to cities like artistic Jaipur, upscale Hyderabad, and historical Bangalore.

    Discounted Tickets to India’s Attractions

    See all India attractions at ➜

  • 20. Waterproof Picnic Blanket

    From the beaches of Goa to the ruins of Hampa, there are so many amazing spots to hang out and marvel at India’s beauty. But to be direct, India can also be quite dirty, so bring along a waterproof picnic blanket to ensure you always have a clean surface to sit on. This material repels moisture and will prevent any muddy grounds from seeping through and creating clothing stains. Most tarp-like blankets are stiff and crinkly, but this one is soft and cozy!

    Waterproof Picnic Blanket

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  • 21. Shawl / Modesty Cover-Up

    A beautiful shawl is a must for India. The culture is very modest, with influences from Hinduism, Buddhism, and the Islamic faith. Even if you are dressing like a local (in a Kurta or a Punjabi), women keep shawls around their necks and cover their heads as an additional layer of modesty. Keep in mind that men aren’t used to seeing women who show skin, and it’s important not to attract unwanted attention. You will also need a shawl to enter many sacred sites as they do not allow uncovered heads or shoulders. This wrap will hide any plunging necklines or bare arms, displaying a sign of respect that the locals will appreciate.

    Shawl / Modesty Cover-Up

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  • 22. Electrolytes

    Electrolytes save lives on a daily basis. When someone has dysentery or diarrhea, they get very dehydrated, and in extreme cases, this can lead to death. I’m not trying to scare you, but this highlights the value and importance of having electrolytes if you get sick. Even if you don’t get sick, it is important to stay well-hydrated in India’s extreme heat. These satchels can easily be added to your bottled water for an extra boost of hydration.

    Pro Tip: You can get electrolytes cheaply in India, but in my experience, they are low-quality and taste horrible.

    electrolyte packets

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  • 23. Immunity-Boosting Kit

    Your health is only as strong as your immune system. Support your immunity with these key products that naturally strengthen the body:

    • Elderberry Gummies – These delicious little gummies deliver a powerful punch of elderberry extract (vitamin C and Zinc), packed with regenerative antioxidants.
    • Echinacea Goldenseal Pills – These combat inflammation in the body, reducing the risk of a cold, flu, or sinus infection.
    • Probiotics – Your gut is directly related to your immune system. Probiotics are a proven way to support the healthy bacteria that your body uses to kill harmful bacteria. Strengthening your gut will make you less vulnerable to the common plague of traveler’s diarrhea.
    • Zinc Spray – Zinc is a very underrated nutrient. As a key treatment for anemia, diabetes, diarrhea, and other common ailments – it can be used to mitigate flu symptoms. We’ve found that this spray particularly soothes an itchy throat (which you may experience due to India’s air pollution).
    Immunity-Boosting Kit

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  • 24. Beautiful Long Skirt

    Known as a Sari wrap skirt, this vivid piece is another perfect way to honor the conservative fashion of Indian culture. Jeans are becoming increasingly common here, but absolutely zero women show their legs. This said, India is hot! So wearing something modest but breathable is a wise choice. Also, for many sacred palaces and monasteries, your legs need to be covered below the knee.

    Beautiful Long Skirt

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  • 25. Walking Shoes

    In India, you will constantly be taking your shoes on and off. You will want something durable and comfortable to protect your toes from street debris — which there is A LOT of. We actually had monkeys throw poop at us once on our way to a temple, and the floor was also covered… Yikes! I recommend these water-resistant Crocs that are easily washable in case you get anything nasty on them (I prefer these over flip-flops because of the protective element). Here’s a pair for men.

    Walking Shoes

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  • 26. Water-Resistant Shoe Bags

    Speaking of kicks, you’ll want these water-resistant shoe bags to prevent your dirty footwear from touching your clean items. The streets in India are extremely dirty, and who wants street-funk all over their beautiful wardrobe?! Asher took these on his recent trip to India, and they came in very handy after his shoes were soaked during a hike along the coast. They keep the grimy things separate and the material doesn’t cling to dirt so you can easily shake it out.

    Water-Resistant Shoe Bags

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  • 27. Universal Waterproof Phone Case

    This cell phone case is a great little, affordable invention that will save your iPhone or Android from the dust, dirt, and grime of India. Additionally, if you’re going for a boat ride on the Ganges or the Keralan backwaters, it will save your device from accidental water damage. It even makes it possible to take underwater photos. It’s a small investment with a big pay-off!

    Universal Waterproof Phone Case

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  • 28. Deet-Free Mosquito Wristbands

    India is known to have cases of malaria, but the problem is that malaria medication has horrible side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. I personally prefer to take all the measures to not get bitten by mosquitoes in the first place. In my experience, these mosquito repellent bracelets, in addition to using insect repellent and wearing long pants at dawn and dusk, provide the best natural protection.

    Deet-Free Mosquito Wristbands

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  • 29. Packable Sun Hat

    The sun is brutal in India, and UV rays can be harsh year-round, so be sure to pack a reliable sun hat. Most travelers find that their hat looks like a disheveled hot mess once pulled out of a suitcase. BUT! This one is made to be collapsable and foldable, which means once unpacked, it will return to its original bouncy shape. It’s a great find and also has a wide-brim hat for shade and a built-in sweatband.

    Packable Sun Hat

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  • 30. Aloe Vera

    Enhance your sun protection routine with this organic aloe vera. It’s a desert plant that contains antibacterial properties known to speed up the healing process. On Asher’s most recent trip to India, he was at a ceremony on the Ganges and got super burned, even during the winter time. There was no easy way for him to get Aloe Vera, so we knew this needed to be added to our list. Put it in a cooler for an even more relaxing sensation!

    Aloe Vera

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  • 31. Travel First-Aid Kit

    It’s inevitable that you’ll get a cut or scrape or some little thing that would need a first-aid kit. The item I use most is band-aids to help prevent infection in a wound. I also like to put honey on the cut before I place the band-aid because it acts as an antibacterial shield. There are drug stores (chemists) all over India, but it’s nice to come prepared with basic, lightweight, quality first-aid equipment.

    Travel First-Aid Kit

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  • 32. Travel Toilet Paper

    Believe it or not, toilet paper is still mostly unused in India. Only the more expensive hotels carry it. When you’re out and about, you will be hard-pressed to find a place that has any at all! This compact travel toilet paper is more practical than the TP you use at home, which is thick and bulky. Travel TP goes further because it’s more absorbent and also has no core in the roll for thinness. Plus, this brand is biodegradable.

    Travel Toilet Paper

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  • 33. Compression Flight Socks

    I seriously regretted not having compression flight socks on my last 15+ hour flight… As a young, fit person, I underestimated how much pain my legs could be in at such drastic elevations in a pressurized cabin. These socks are worn by flight attendants and passengers alike to maintain a healthy blood flow and prevent swelling. It’s a valuable preventative measure that you’ll be happy to have. Don’t forget the jet lag relief for lengthy international flight days.

    Compression Flight Socks

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  • 34. Packable “Just in Case” Bag

    One of the first things I do in India is visit a local dress shop and buy some traditional Kurtas or Punjabis in order to stay respectful and flow seamlessly in and out of temples. You’ll also be doing plenty of shopping for Sarees, Pashmina Shawls, Ayurvedic products, spices, and other local Indian goods – so be sure to pack this “just in case” bag for those unforeseeable purchases. It’s an easy addition to any suitcase and counts as your personal item on the return flight home.

    Packable “Just in Case” Bag

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I also recommend you bring digital copies of all your important documents, including passport, visa, driver’s license, bank info, and credit cards. Just in case. A simple way to do this is scan or photograph them and then email them to yourself.

What to wear in India?

For both men and women, the main rule in this very conservative country is to avoid flaunting bare skin as much as possible. Of course, things are more lax in tourist hotspots like Goa and Varkala, but it’s still more respectful to tend toward modesty.

Female tourists should generally keep their shoulders, knees, cleavage, and midriff covered; clothes like hot pants, miniskirts, tank tops, and bikini tops are inappropriate everywhere in India unless you’re at the beach. Dressing modestly will help reduce unwanted attention from staring Indian men.

Expectations are less strict for men, and Indian men now commonly wear casual Western clothes, but it still pays to be modest. Interestingly though, I’ve rarely seen an Indian man wearing shorts.

What should WOMEN wear in India as respectful tourists? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to for your convenience).

City wear/everyday wear: In Mumbai and Delhi, Western dress is perfectly acceptable. You’ll see as many Indian women wearing jeans and t-shirts as saris. The case for covering up is the same, though – it’s best not to wear clothes that are tight or revealing. Go for light, comfortable clothing.

Temple Wear: Covering up is not just recommended here – it’s essential. Many temples have a dress code, and won’t allow you entry unless your head AND shoulders are covered. In 2016, Madras actually enforced a ban on all western clothing in temples, refusing entry to anyone wearing jeans, shorts, skirts, short sleeves or tight leggings.

Your best bet is a long, loose skirt (calf or ankle length) and a plain, long-sleeved top or shirt. If you don’t have long sleeves, a long scarf draped over your shoulders should be fine. Wear shoes that can be easily removed, as you’ll be leaving them at the door anyway.

If you want to be really respectful, then a Kameez top or a full Sari will be the best received. This is what Lyric (my wife) wears when in India.

Going Out: The same applies: cover up. India’s cultural and tourism minister issued a statement last year imploring foreign female tourists to refrain from ‘skimpy’ clothes, particularly short skirts and dresses. It’s actually a matter of personal safety.

What should MEN wear in India as respectful tourists? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to for your convenience).

City wear: Dress is less strict for men, but it still pays to be modest. Dress according to the season.

Temple wear: Covering your arms and legs is just as important for men as it is for women. Don’t wear jeans or other western items such as leather belts. Loose cotton pants paired with a respectable shirt should be sufficient but if you really want to be respectful, wear a white Indian kurta/pajama set. I like to wear a dhoti (cloth wrapped around waist extending to ankles) when I go to temples.

Going out: Western dress is pretty safe for foreign men but shorts may be frowned upon if you’re going to a nice place.

Packing for the Seasons in India

WINTER – December, January, February, (partially) March:

Winter is, logically, the coldest and best time of year to visit most parts of India (though temperatures are much warmer in South India). Dress according to how comfortable you’ll be in the temperatures, and plan to bring appropriate cold weather gear if you’re in the North (hats, gloves, light jacket or fleece) as appropriate for the activities and elevations you’ll be experiencing. Temperatures in the north (Delhi) average between 45°F to 75°F (7°C to 24°C), and in the south (Kochi) between 73°F to 90°F (23°C to 32°C).

SUMMER – (Pre-Monsoon Season) April, May, June:

This is by far the hottest time to visit India, and believe it or not it can be a dangerous time. April and May are the hottest months, and can bring some interesting weather.

The north can get intense pre-monsoon storms which carry hail, and the famous Loo winds blow in the north during the summer.

The intense heat can cause people to get sunstroke and it’s advised to never go out in the midday sun.

When packing for India during the summer, be very sure to do your research about the specific regions you’ll be visiting and staying in. Pack light, quick-drying clothes and items that can cover you for sun protection while keeping you cooler – think long-sleeved linen shirts, quality sun hats, linen pants, sunglasses, etc. Temperatures in the north (Delhi) average between 80°F to 102°F (27°C to 39°C), and in the south (Kochi) between 80°F to 90°F (27°C to 32°C).

MONSOON – July, August, September:

As you might guess, Monsoon season is very wet. Monsoon rains are what drive India’s agriculture-based economy, so it’s a very important, albeit soggy, time of year for the country and its inhabitants.

Rains move in from various directions, and by July almost the entire country is experiencing storms and downpours, and a fair amount of flooding. If you’re visiting during Monsoon season, plan to bring high-quality rain gear and quick-dry layers.

An umbrella is crucial, as is a rain jacket. Waterproof shoes are ideal, but you’ll want to avoid shoes that will take a long time to dry. Temperatures in the north (Delhi) average between 80°F to 94°F (27°C to 34°C), and in the south (Kochi) between 75°F to 85°F (24°C to 29°C).

FALL – (Post-Monsoon Season) October, November:

During Indian autumn, drier and cooler air spills across the Himalayas and clears the skies, bringing the sun back into the picture. This is a windy season, so layers are important, as the wind can bring uncertain temps in some parts of India. Many areas experience lingering, dwindling precipitation, so you should absolutely plan to have rain gear and a windproof umbrella on-hand. Temperatures in the north (Delhi) average between 60°F to 90°F (16°C to 32°C), and in the south (Kochi) between 75°F to 88°F (24°C to 31°C).

Check out this helpful guide from Mariellen Ward on the 24 best places to visit in India by month

What NOT to bring to India

  • 1.DON'T BRING too many clothes.

    You can buy clothes cheaply in India and can get the local dress so that you fit in better and feel more comfortable 🙂

  • 2.DON'T PACK valuables in general.

    Unless it’s absolutely necessary, why risk it? Valuables such as: passport, credit cards & cash I carry concealed under my shirt in my passport pouch.

  • 3.DON'T BRING bulky towels.

    Instead bring a simple travel towel.

  • 4.DON'T TAKE too much cash.

    ATMs are the safest way to get local cash and they are everywhere across India.

  • 5.DON'T BRING expensive jewelry.

    It’s just not worth risking losing it or getting it stolen.

  • 6.DON'T TAKE other unnecessary electronics.

    Again because of the chance of it getting ruined by the power supply and the excess bulk.

  • 7.DON'T BRING too many books.

    An e-reader like the Amazon Kindle can be a great option because it’s light weight and has a 3 week battery life.

  • 8.DON'T PACK too many toiletries but do bring your favorites.

    Your special products are probably not available in India but generic soap, shampoo and toothpaste etc is widely available.

  • 9.DON'T TAKE nice shoes.

    They will get dirty no matter what. Sandals or Crocs are best.

  • 10.DON'T PACK your computer.

    Unless you really need it and it’s a lightweight, cheap one (such as a Chromebook) that you don’t mind getting fried by the irregular power supply or stolen.

  • 11.DON'T PACK more than one set of warm clothes.

    India is a hot country (unless you’re in the Himalayas) and it’s rare to be too cold. I only bring one good, lightweight fleece and one pair of long pants plus a scarf or shawl.

  • 12.DON'T TAKE anything that isn't suitable for your destination.

    Do your research on weather and location specific needs before you go to India so that you are prepared without having too much bulk in your luggage.

FAQs about travel in India

  • 1. How do I avoid getting Delhi Belly?!

    How do I avoid getting Delhi Belly?!

    The most likely cause of Delhi Belly always comes down to contaminated food or water.

    Therefore, the best way to avoid getting a bout of diarrhea is to be extra diligent with hygiene around meals and with any beverage. I highly recommend you only eat freshly cooked, piping hot food. Avoid all salads or fruits that have been washed with tap water. Only drink quality bottled water and never have ice in your drinks. Avoid street food or anything that doesn’t look clean. Always wash your hands with sanitizing wipes before meals. Trust me, you don’t want to get Delhi Belly. I know from experience, it can cause you to be bed ridden for a week! 🙁

  • 2. What items are NOT readily available in India?

    While many pharmaceutical drugs are available in India, you may prefer to bring the items you’re used to. Other miscellaneous items that are most likely best to bring from home include your preferred brands of contact lens solution, dental floss, shampoo/conditioner, feminine hygiene products, makeup, underwear, supplements and energy bars… etc!

    Body lotions and sunscreens that don’t contain skin-bleaching formula are sometimes difficult to find. Pale skin is highly coveted in India and most Asian countries, so many skin care products contain some form of “whitening”. This may or may not be what you want!

    Clothing and other gear made from 100% cotton or wool is sometimes pricey and/or difficult to find. Much of the clothing available in tourist areas is made of rayon or polyester or other synthetics, which isn’t so comfortable in hot weather and not warm enough in cold weather.

    Quality sunglasses and shoes that aren’t knock offs can be hard to find. Also, I’ve found that almost always, electronics such as camera or computer equipment is both hard to find and way more expensive than in the US.

  • 3. What’s the best way to deal with pollution in India?

    What’s the best way to deal with pollution in India?

    India has some of the worst pollution levels in the world, worse than China. I’ve found that the #1 way to deal with the extreme pollution is to get out of the big cities like Delhi and Mumbai as soon as possible. This means finding places to visit that are less populated and more in the countryside or coastal areas. For example, small towns in Kerala generally have way less pollution than anywhere in Northern India near Delhi. See this map for live Indian pollution levels.

    Additionally, I highly recommend you bring a quality dust mask like the Cambridge Mask. This will allow you to breathe without inhaling as much toxic fumes, pollution, smoke and dust.

  • 4. How do I avoid getting scammed?

    There is no question, India is full of scam artists from street beggars to tricky taxi drivers and even the Mafia. The biggest advice I have is to simply say “no thank you” when approached by someone selling something. Don’t give money to beggars (who are typically scammers in disguise). And know where you’re going, what your hotels name is and the address when getting in a taxi or rickshaw. Read my full list of the top 27 scams in India for all the details.

  • 5. What are some good souvenirs to bring home from India?

     What are some good souvenirs to bring home from India?

    Handwoven scarves, pashminas or tapestries are quintessential “Indian” pieces that can be easily packed into a suitcase. Scarves and pashminas make a great conversation piece when you return home, and tapestries can become bedspreads or wall-hangings. Try to find out the back story of items you purchase – you don’t want to be supporting an industry of slave labour. Also, be hyper of aware of fake pashminas. The best way to test if they are real is to take a thread and light it on fire to see if it melts (synthetic) or burns like a candle, turns to ash and smells like hair burning (this is likely real pashmina). You may also like to check out “fixed rate” shops that are recommended by a high end hotel to find the authentic dealers.

    Spices such as masala, turmeric and cardamom are the perfect way to bring the tastes and smells of India home with you! They should stay fresh for months.

    Indian musical instruments such as the flute and sitar make a fantastic gift – and could encourage you to get more musical!

    Jewellery is available everywhere in all forms – wooden, bone, leather and sterling silver. Easy to wear and carry. Again, make sure these items are real and fairtrade.

  • 6. What kind of bag and suitcase should you bring to India?

    Backpacks are definitely the easiest to move around with – and India requires a lot of moving around! Backpacks can be squeezed into train/bus luggage racks or under seats, and obviously, they go where you go. The size of your backpack depends on the bulkiness of your gear, but it’s a good idea to choose one with lots of zip compartments and pockets, so you can find stuff quickly.

    Suitcases are less suitable (especially the four-wheeled spinners) for India’s rugged road surfaces and tight spaces, but they do make life easier if you’re staying in a place for a long period of time. I personally like this Samsonite wheeled duffle for the best of both worlds.

  • 7. I'm healthy, do I really need to get Travel Insurance?

    YES. Travel insurance is a must. You never know what, where or when something could go wrong – and in India, anything can go wrong. Losing your wallet or tripping down a flight of stairs can ruin your entire trip – not to mention swallow up a hefty portion of your funds. Consider also that things can go wrong back home, which may mean an unexpected flight back. Travel insurance covers all the things that you don’t want to happen but CAN happen.

    Even if nothing goes wrong, having a good travel insurance provider takes care of the “what if?” worry that’s bound to niggle away at the back of your mind – which means you can enjoy your trip more! Use this widget to get an instant quote.

    Get a quote in less than 60 seconds with Faye ➜

  • 8. Do cruise-lines stop at ports in India?

    There are several companies such as Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Princess that all make stops in India. The itineraries often also include the Middle East and/or Southeast Asia and are typically around 2-weeks in length. We’ve heard reports that even if you don’t get off the boat when at an Indian port, you still need a visa. Also, see our cruise packing checklist for cruise specific packing ideas.

  • 9. What about vaccines? Should I get all the ones that they recommend?

    Vaccines and medications for India are a very personal choice and some of them do have negative side effects such as Malaria medication. Talk to your doctor about what vaccinations you may or may not need. Chances are you have already had most recommended vaccinations as a child. Otherwise, the CDC website provides a comprehensive list of vaccines recommended for India at any particular time. Remember that outbreaks do occur from time to time, so it’s important to do your research.