Navigation Menu

India is a beautiful country, and once you have got your visa and tickets, it’s easy to get swept away in the excitement of planning your itinerary.

However, if this is your first trip to India, there are a number of important things that people often miss from their packing list.

Packing for Your First Trip to India: Things You Might Have Missed

Clothes That Keep You Cool

India female traveler RF

When planning what to wear in India, it’s important to remember that this is a country with a hot and humid climate throughout (though winter is an exception). If you’re not visiting India during winter you should pack clothes that help you stay cool as you move around in the sun.

At the same time, you need to keep in mind that India is a conservative country, and as a general rule you shouldn’t wear anything that is too revealing.

It’s important to be smart and select your clothes in a way that will not show too much skin, but at the same time, makes it easy for you to avoid sweating unnecessarily.

You should look for fabrics with odor killing technology (yes, that’s now a thing!), and material that is moisture wicking. This means that the fabric has been designed to move moisture away from the body and the fabric itself.

Quick to dry clothes are also a good option which allows you to easily hand wash in the middle of a trip (I’ve been known to use the hotel sink!). Having clothes that dry in a few hours (avoid traditional cotton) means you can bring fewer pairs which will save you space in your bag.

If you plan on spending time at the beach in a popular destination like Goa, it’s a good idea to spend some time learning about the beach culture in India before you choose your swimwear. Some beaches allow bikinis, some don’t.

Toiletries You May Have Missed

Bag Suitcase luggage RF

It’s wise to carry your own roll of toilet paper as you’re making your way around India, as well as a small hand sanitizer you can whip out to maintain your hygiene.

You shouldn’t expect that public toilets will provide you with soap or toilet paper, and in fact, some low end hotels may not even provide toilet paper in the room.

There are many Western style toilets throughout the country though you may also encounter squat toilets, where the strategy for ‘wiping’ is the rinse and clean method. If you see a hose with a bucket in a toilet, that’s what that’s for.

You may also want to carry antibacterial hand wipes, as these work effectively too. And you may find that you have the urge to wash your hands quite regularly as your hands will pick up a lot of germs from regular activities like touching rails or handling money.

Mosquito repellent is a good idea if you’re traveling in the north, and if you’re female, it’s important to bring your own sanitary items. You can pick up pads throughout India, though locals rarely use tampons so you may not be able to find these here.


Sunscreen is something that many travelers to India forget, but it’s incredibly important, especially as the sun will be beating down and the days are usually long.

You may be totally fine spending time in the sun in your own country, but the UV Rays in India are often more fierce than you could be used to at home. So it’s important to act accordingly to protect yourself and your health.

Your Own Bedding

If you’re spending money on luxury, high end hotels, this won’t be a problem, but if you’re staying in budget accommodation in India you might get there and wish you brought your own bedding.

Packing your own sheet and something to cover a pillow can be a great way to feel more comfortable about laying down on top of sheets that have seen better days. And this occurs more often than you would like to think.

This is also a really good idea if you plan on traveling via overnight trains.


India travel guide amazon

Lonely Planet India Travel Guide

India travel guide amazon

101 Coolest Things to Do in India

India travel guide amazon

The Rough Guide to India


Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.



  1. Agreed on the own bedding part. If you’re not staying at a midrange or higher hotel – you might encounter some questionable bedding.

    • And not something you want to learn the hard way!

  2. What I’d add to this list is: Go with an unlocked GSM phone and buy a local SIM card. India is a very phone based country.

    • Great tip thanks for sharing Matthew!

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *