It’s a good idea to research what you are going to need to pack. It depends on your itinerary; are you trekking, visiting the beaches, going to the desert? We did all of these so our bags were not light!
Clothing and shoes:
- Long trousers – I took my harem pants from Thailand, you can also buy these out here. Ideally they should be breathable cotton. They also pair up as a cool jumpsuit
- Long sleeved top – I used this on my treks in the Himalayas and Lombok
- Shorts – I took a couple of pairs with me and bought some out there
- Hoodie – this was needed throughout my whole trip for those long bus/train journeys with super cold aircon
- Multiple strappy tops – easy to roll up in your bag and perfect for the beach
- Crop top – mine was a pretty silk one which I wore with sari’s and high waisted harems
- Pajamas – I took two pairs of shorts and two t-shirts to alternate
- 10 days worth of underwear – I was away for just under 4 months so it’s worth taking a few fresh pants!
- 3 bikinis – maybe one too many but I like to have a choice
- Raincoat – needed throughout my travels. We arrived towards the end of the rainy season so there was occasional heavy monsoon rains
- Nice dress – it’s important to feel good whilst travelling and a nice dress is perfect for an evening out
- Walking boots – for trekking, we wore them on the plane to lessen the weight of our luggage. Every little helps!
- Walking socks – it’s worth buying decent ones for trekking
- Flipflops -Lydia worn hers throughout India however I mainly used mine in the Southern regions
- Walking sandals – okay so not the best looking of shoes however I wouldn’t have been without them! Treading over puddles of mud, cow poo along with everything else. Mine are from North Face, Fran bought cheap ones and they cracked after India so it’s worth the investment
- Cheap trainers – good thing they were cheap as they didn’t leave Kolkata. I wonder who is wearing them now…
- Scarf – definitely something you can buy out there. I took one for the plane journey
- Belt – I love a waist belt and it looks great with a jumpsuit
Always annoying to carry around and heavy too. If you are travelling with someone you can share deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and toothpaste or buy travel size products depending on how long you are going for. Don’t forget to take clips and hairbands, you can never have enough! Baby wipes, hand sanitizer, a brush, suncream, bug spray, Tiger Balm (for insect bites), *tampons and moisturiser. Remember you can buy most products out there. Luxuries I suppose were perfume, dry shampoo and make up. All of us girls didn’t wear much as it’s so humid in many places though that didn’t stop us from wearing mascara on our trek…
*we found tampons in the more touristy areas such as Goa and Bali however places less frequented we didn’t see any, so make sure you stock up!
- Backpack – I used a 60L bag with a 20L backpack attached to it
- Handbag – mine was over the shoulder with a zip
- Little jewellery bag – great to keep all my jewellery in one place
- Phone and camera charger
- Multi point adapter – Fran took this and it was brilliant! It was like this one from Amazon
- Spare camera batteries and memory cards
- Large bath towel – I actually didn’t need this as most if not all of the guesthouses give you one. So I threw mine away…
- Beach towel – I took a pretty, easy to fold one which I used on all the beaches
- Hair/hand tower – not really needed but it rolled up really small and dried quickly
- First aid kit – Fran took a super extensive one with water purifying tablets and more. The bandages came in handy when I cut my knee falling off the motorbike in Jaisalmer
- Tweezers – for the eyebrows of course
- Razors – you can buy these out there too
- Little scissors – always handy, a definite must
- Toilet roll – not really needed but the quality in India isn’t like Charmin…
- Plug – so handy when washing your own clothes in a sink
- Small padlocks – it makes you feel better when you lock your backpack. Give a spare key to a travel buddy in case you lose yours
- Bike chain – I was advised to take one for train journeys but to be honest I didn’t use it once and it was annoying to carry
- Sleeping bag – mine was small so it was easy to attach to my backpack. I didn’t use it until my trek in Lombok but it was worth carrying all those miles
- Sleeping bag liner – I didn’t use this once but it’s good if you’re on a long trek
- Headtorch – I used this in the Himalayas and on the Lombok trek as well as camel riding in the desert
- Earplugs – I never used these
- Cheap Nokia phone – Fran took this so she could buy an Indian sim
- Diary & pens – you can always buy out there but I started writing from the take off!
Along the way try to throw things out as you put new things in. In Kolkata we gave three bags full of clothes and products we didn’t need to street children. The next day we saw a little boy wearing Lydia’s red top as a dress, it was too cute. Of course you can be a true backpacker and bring only one pair of shoes, wear the same clothes every day and be a bit smelly however… that’s just not me!