Traveling in India for me felt like stepping foot on a different world; India is more than another country on the map, it’s different from any other place on the Earth.
Traveling in India is exciting, adventurous, shocking and touching, but before leaving most first-timers are faced with this question: what to pack? What to wear in India?
Well, India is so big that obviously the weather and temperatures are really different from the north to the south; this is a packing list for Kerala and South India.
In general, though, India is quite conservative all over except for very touristy spots such as Goa, so unless you’re heading there you should prooobably leave your short shorts home…PLEASE always be respectful of the local communities!
Don’t be one of those tourists that go around with their boobs out and then complain about people staring at them!
So, what to pack for Kerala?
Let me tell you this: in Kerala it’s HOT, and super-ultra HUMID: this means you’ll want to pack light, breezy clothes.
Comfy&Glamourous: what to pack
I always say I don’t want to give up glamour while on the road, but anything that goes inside the suitcase must also be comfortable…trust me, it’s time to leave home high heels and any other clothes you’re only going to wear once.
This is my Kerala packing list for a 3 weeks trip; as much as I’d like to be one, I’m not a light packer, so you might be able to reduce the number of items to pack for your trip to India.
– A long dress + a nice dress for those fancier nights
– 3 pairs of knee-length bermuda shorts: you can find glamourous ones on ASOS, my favourite e-shop
– Tank Tops and breezy T-shirts: as many as you can fit, I would say! When I was in Kerala it was so humid that I had to change more than once a day
– 2 light long sleeve shirts to cover up at night time when it’s still warm but mosquitos come out.. and trust me, they DO come out.
– 2 long trousers: a pair of light jeans or leggins and a pair of joggers (but don’t forget to bring home a pair of those beautiful, silky, patterned trousers you can buy nearly anywhere)
– A sweatshirt and a light jacket: most of the time it’s fricking hot in Kerala, but in the hill stations it gets quite chilly when the sun goesdown. My favorite travel jacket is a lightweight packable goose down jacket that folds into the smallest pouch (it also becomes a pillow for plane and bus rides, which doesn’t hurt).
– Socks + Underwear + Bras
A few beachy essentials
Right before leaving, the guys at George Clothing at ASDA sent me a few summery items, and what better occasion to try them on than my trip to Kerala?
Swimsuits, a kaftan, flip flops and a long beachy dress went straight inside my suitcase!
They are cute and super affordable: take a look at George Clothing at ASDA e-shop.
Beauty essentials for India
This is what was in my beauty case.
– Batiste Travel Size Dry Shampoo : this is my beauty secret for those bad hair mornings and for when you were too busy partying to wash it, it also helps to volumize the hair!
– Brush + a small bottle of Moroccan Oil which smells WON.DER.FULLL and make your hair lushy and hydrated
– Feminine products (it might not be so easy to find tampons in India)
I’m definitely not one of those girls who forget about make-up once they hit the road: I usually just wear foundation, blush and mascara during the day, while I get a bit more dolled up at night time.
You might want to consider switching to a BB Cream insted of liquid foundation as I found out that the latter tends to become greasy with the humid weather.
– Christian Dior Diorskin Forever Foundation: it’s not the cheapest foundation, but you don’t want to get all wrinkly when you are old, do you? Better to choose good products for your face! This foundation is covering enough to cover the occasional blemish, yet it blends perfectly with your skin color. I love it!
– Travel-sized Straightening Iron (if you’re like me and your hair gets frizzy, in Kerala they will be a mess!)
Gadgets for the flashpacker
– Smartphone: make sure it’s unlocked so that you’ll be able to insert a Local SIM Card for data use- I used an Italian sim card and had great reception all over the state except for the Thekkady region where it was a bit more unreliable… but hey, it’s the mountains there! Otherwise, a great option, especially if you are staying in the country for a while, is to buy an Indian sim card.
– IPad Air: since I bought mine I wondered how I survived before without it!
– I also bring a travel-sized Notebook to keep blogging while on the road, but if you’re not a blogger and don’t plan on working while away, you won’t need it.
– Chargers and extra power bank
– Into videos? Then bring a sport action camera: I’ve tried a few different ones and I recommend getting a GoPro. It’s expensive, but worth it in the long run. Check out this list of GoPro accessories as well!
Let’s talk about shoes
Shoes, oh the shoes. It’s hard to choose the right ones to travel with, especially when you have lots to choose from like me. What shoes to wear in India?
This is what I brought – I usually pack the same in most places I go.
– Superga Sneakers are my favourite travel shoes: I brought to Kerala a white pair, which was not the greatest idea. The terrain sometimes is very dusty and red, so bring some dark colored ones.
– A pair of cute, jewel, sandals
– A pair of waterproof shoes (you will not need these if you’re going in the dry season)
Use accessories to spice things up
– A few accessories (bangles, a necklace) : they can really spice up any look! Even better, don’t bring any from home, just stop at a local market and get some gorgeous, Indian style accessories
– A scarf to cover up when it’s needed or, again, to transform any plain outfit in just one second
Don’t forget these extra items
– Documents (remember to make a copy of all important documents and store the copy in a different place than the original ones)
– A lock if you’re going to stay in hostels
– Medicines: this is a complicated matter- I tend to bring everything I might need, but some other travelers say not to bring anything. To Kerala I would definitely bring the essentials plus intestinal antibiotics and antidiarrheals.
– Mosquito repellent: you can also buy it directly in India, just ask for Odomos mosquito repellent (I paid mine RS 40)
– Tissues/Toilet Paper (just take with you the roll you find in your hotel) :
most of all of the places you will stop for a bathroom break won’t have toilet paper
– A large microfiber towel that you can use for the beach or as towel when in hostels
Did I forget anything? What’s on your Kerala packing list?
Disclaimer: the items by George at ASDA were gifted to me, but I did not receive any compensation for featuring them here. Opinions are my own, as always.
This article includes affiliate links, which means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Every Steph is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.ca. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.