Top Tips - Essential Items to Pack For India

Hilda Smith | 18 October 2019
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Hilda Smith, who runs the popular lifestyle and travel blog Over the Hilda, recently travelled with us on our Explore India holiday. Here are Hilda's top tips on what to pack when visiting India and other Asian countries. 

Clothes to Pack for India

"Runners and several pairs of socks. There can be a fair bit of walking on the Explore India holiday and it is not always over the most even of terrains. It will be dusty, so white will not stay white for long. Other comfy flat sandals for walking are a good idea. Your feet may swell initially until you get used to the heat, particularly if it is a long day, so ensure the sandals are not too tight. Loose cotton clothing is a must. I had bought two pairs of light cotton baggy trousers in Vietnam several years ago and they were a godsend. Also bring some colourful cotton shirts and tee-shirts. Avoid black as it attracts mosquitoes. Learn from the local people there who dress so colourfully."

Woman wearing Saree in India

"A hat is always a good idea for added sun protection and you do not want anything too tight. Mine just sat on my head, so it was not uncomfortable. Loose cotton dresses and skirts are wonderful too. I brought several maxis.

Large cotton scarves can be used to cover your head,  shoulders, arms and even your legs. Most temples require you to be modestly dressed. Avoid white trousers for day wear; they will soon be off-white. A small rucksack with several pockets. Or somebody with a rucksack to carry your stuff. I had my husband, GG!  A small rucksack is essential for carrying your day-to-day items when you are out and about: toilet roll or tissues (not all toilets provide it!), sun cream, insect repellent, hand sanitiser, wallet, phone, camera, scarf etc."

Essential Medical Items to Pack for India

"Everyone talks about the Delhi Belly and some of our group succumbed. I have written on probiotics recently, which I believe helped me avoid it. Obviously, we used hand sanitiser ( I always carried one), but if you do get it, you need Immodium or some similar medicine. Of course, it is important to get the advice of your pharmacist before you go; I would say that if you have a touch of it the sooner you take the tablets the better. My friend Sara had quick-acting Immodium, so always carry some with you every day."

Rehydration Salts

"Often used for hangovers, we found Dioralyte great for keeping hydrated in the heat and we took one nearly every day."

Mosquito Repellent

"Mosquitoes used to love me. They avoided all others and honed in on me so I was obviously the juiciest person around. I take vitamin B complex now, which is supposed to help and they are not as fond of me as before, but I am still careful. I did read recently that it is a certain blood type that attracts them.

It is better to be diligent in this area and I applied it to any exposed skin before we set off on the day’s adventures. Some of the group did get bitten; it is better to be safe than sorry. There are plenty of effective sprays available. I know there is a lot of controversy about DEET, so do your research to see if it suits you."

Insect Bite Cream

"We brought Hydrocortisyl with us, but there are plenty of options."

Throat Lozenges

"The air conditioning in hotel rooms can make your throat dry. We had Fisherman’s Friend and Strepsils with us and would recommend taking some throat lozenges with you."

Emergency First Aid Kit

"If you get a cut, it does not matter how small, it is imperative that you use a sterile cleansing wipe and cover it with a plaster immediately. You can make up your own little kit and carry it with you everywhere. My friend Sara carried her mini medical kit in a small purse. Also include blister plasters just incase your feet become sore from all the exploring by foot!"

Random Items for Your India Packing List


"Bring an adapter appropriate for the country and your charger(s) for your phone and camera."


"Make sure you have good sunglasses to protect your eyes."

Disposable mouth and nose guards

Indian Spices

"You will see many people use disposable mouth and nose guards in certain areas in India and there were a few places when I was glad I had one. And it was not just used for nasty smells. It was very handy in The Spice Market in Delhi and stopped us sneezing. You can pick these disposable guards up in Boots.


"If you are gluten-free or have any special dietray requirements it is a good idea to let TD active Holidays know in advance so they can inform your local tour guide. Then the guide can ensure from the beginning there are some suitable choices for you. Our freind Jan is gluten free and always travels with biscuits and crackers and I brought some chocolate, sweets and chewing gum with me. So I definitely recommend packing some snacks from home!"

Discover our Indian adventures and if you would like to keep up with more of Hilda's travel adventures you can follow her on Instagram: @overthehilda


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