You’ve booked your flight to India, arranged your visa, and organized your first few nights of accommodation. Now, what to pack?
Even if you’re a seasoned yoga traveler, packing for a trip to India is its own ballgame. Whether you’re spending one month at a yoga teacher training course (YTTC) or vagabonding around the country for months on end, this packing list will help you to be perfectly prepared for your journey.
Choose the wrong luggage for India and you’ll end up very frustrated.
Pack a suitcase if you’re definitely staying in one or two places only.
Pack a backpack if you’re traveling to any more than two places. Rarely will you find a paved sidewalk to smoothly roll your suitcase. And carrying your luggage on your back makes navigating through crowded, bustling train and bus stations manageable. Choose a small to medium-sized pack so you won’t be weighed down. Backpacks that open from the top and bottom, or front, make inside access easy. Be sure to get a fitted rain cover, too. It will protect your bag when strapped to the roof of a bus or thrown under the seat on a dirty train.
Also, bring a small purse or handbag. Choose something that you can sling over your shoulder rather than another backpack.
When it comes to clothing, India is very conservative. You must respect the culture by covering yourself properly. Bring a few outfits that you won’t mind leaving behind, and buy the rest when you arrive in India. Clothing is cheap and you’ll feel more comfortable in Indianesque dress.
Long skirts or loose pants
Loose, cleavage-hiding cotton shirts that cover the shoulders
Loose pants and T-shirts for yoga – yoga pants are OK in Goa and some YTTCs, but are generally too revealing
A lightweight, thin scarf – you can also buy this when you get there
Underwear, bras, and socks
Bikini – though you might need to wear your clothes over it
Sneakers or hiking boots for treks
Cheap jewelry that you wouldn’t mind losing
Breathable cotton shirts
Loose pants and T-shirts for yoga
Underwear and socks
Sneakers or hiking boots for treks
Various sized Band-Aids
Wound disinfectant such as turmeric, tea tree oil, or lavender oil
A sufficient supply of your medications
Most everything else can be cheaply and readily purchased at a pharmacy without a prescription
Travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste – you’ll run out but these are cheap and readily available in India
Tampons – not so easy to find in India
Debating whether or not to bring your laptop? If you can survive without it, leave it behind. It will only weigh you down and Wi-Fi is rare. More touristy areas of India offer internet cafes.
Unlocked smart phone and charger if you plan on getting a SIM card
Camera and charger
Converter and plug adapter – for iPhones and Macs, only an adapter is needed
Useful odds and ends
Lonely Planet India – it will become your bible if you’re traveling throughout the country
Several copies of your passport and credit cards – also email yourself scans of everything in case all luggage gets lost
Silk sleep sack – great for trains and not-so-clean beds
Lightweight camping towel
Small sewing kit
Cold climate extras
If you’re headed for high altitudes you’ll need some warm gear. You will find beanies, socks, leg warmers, and ponchos in the Himalayas, but otherwise selection is limited.
Leggings for layering underneath jeans
Once you’ve gathered your gear, fitting it all into your backpack becomes the real challenge. Tightly roll clothes. Then organize toiletries, first-aid items, and odds and ends into lightweight or Ziploc bags. Pack the heaviest items in the middle of your backpack, close to where your back will be. It takes some trial and error to get everything to fit, but once you’ve mastered the puzzle, you can pack the same way each time.
Julie Bernier helps women to bring their bodies back into balance, whether they’re struggling with hormonal imbalances, period problems, digestive troubles, skin conditions, anxiety, depression, preparing for or recovering from giving birth, or any other dis-ease. This holistic approach to individualized wellness is rooted in ayurveda: a holistic system of healing from ancient India. Julie is a registered Ayurvedic Practitioner and Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist with the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA) as well as a Certified Massage Therapist. She studied each of these modalities in the US and straight from the source in India. Connect with Julie at trueayurveda.com or on IG at @juliebernier.