Just applied for an Indian visa yesterday. $118 o.O Now it’s time to compile a packing list (and shop haha). This might be too early but I’m way too excited to wait. Here, I put together information about packing from several sources (references below). It should be useful for anyone planning go on a long trip in the tropics.
I’m bringing this backpack along with me. 45 litres should be enough, given that summer clothes won’t be as bulky. Also, I’ll bring a medium-size carry-on for my essentials. I’ve heard stories of backpacks not making it to destinations quite often. Hopefully, that won’t happen to me.
Apparently, June is supposed to be the least popular month for tourists in India unless you go trek in the north. And of course, I’m going south. I’ll be roasted (hottest month) and steamed (start of monsoon) there. Well, that doesn’t matter to me anyway. I’d love to go regardless. Coming from Thailand, I should be ok with this to some extent.
With that in mind, I made an excuse to stop by a outdoor store to check out some summer+rain gears. For those who don’t spend much time in the great outdoor (me for one), I recommend stopping by one of these stores e.g. REI. You’ll be amazed by how crazy advanced these outdoor technology are.
Some cool things I found were a lasagna pack you can eat on top of a mountain by simply adding hot water to a small pouch, a microfiber towel that absorb more water, but dry very quickly, an emergency space blanket that reflects 80% of your body heat, etc. All these are very pricey though. Booo…
Another concern with going to India is what to wear. It needs to be appropriate with both the weather and the conservative culture. From my research, I’ve been told that I need to cover my body as much as I can (in the heat!?). No shorts unless you’re in big cities. Since I’m most likely gonna be in unbanked rural areas, those are off. Though, I might buy one of those convertible (pants to shorts) outdoorsy pants ($80 T_T can I get reimbursed?). Also, people are obsessed with covering their butt with a long top (again from my Pakistani source). Skinny jeans are fine as long as you cover your butt. This site has good information for women’s dress code in India. I’ll probably buy some traditional clothes once I get there.
Here is my packing list so far:
Clothes and footwear:
- Quick dry clothes I don’t love
- One set of formal clothes – in case I get invited to dine with Prince Adul.
- Hat? I hate wearing hats.
- Warm jacket
- Water shoes (good for walking too)
Health and Hygiene:
- Toilet papers
- Hand sanitizer
- Stain removal stick
- Some soap, shampoo, facewash
- Disposable razors – I do shave.
- Mini first aid kit + some medicines
- Bug spray, lotion – you don’t wanna catch malaria and other mosquito diseases there.
- Netbook for work
- Compact camera (would a 8mb iphone 4s camera be enough?)
- Outlet converters
- Iphone, ipod
- USB drive
- Sleeping bag liner
- Flashlight – apparently, power goes out all the time in India.
- Automatic self-cleaned spork. kidding. who has that! Just a regular spoon.
- Microfiber travel towel
- Multi-tool knife
- My awesome mini survival kit
- Money/passport pouch
- Granola bars
- Duct tape, rubber bands, safety pins
- Trash bags
- Mini notebook
To Buy there:
- Dupatta (scarf)
- Kameez and churidhar
References (of course, I’m a grad student. I almost used Chicago style here.)
- Professor Chris Blattman’s blog – Awesome blog about development, working in the field, advice to graduate students in general, and much more.
- About.com India Travel
- Lonely Planet’s Guide to India
- Been There’s packing tips – This one is really useful.
- My friend Kristin’s blog about her fieldwork in India – She has been on several field trips and she was kind to share her veteran packing list with me.