melbourne vegan

Jaclyn McCosker

The Ultimate India Packing List for Women

The Ultimate India Packing List for Women

This is a packing list refined over 9 months of travel around the Indian subcontinent. This includes things I missed and excludes those things I did pack and didn’t need. Pay attention to the things left on the first aid kit list, I used them!

Take note: This packing list took me from below zero in the Himalayas to the fifty degree Thar desert. I purchased clothes I needed in the cold areas then discarded them because they were too bulky to cart through the jungle.


The rule is to cover your shoulders and knees at all times. You can get away with tight clothes, but if you’re wearing a tight top remember your shawl in conservative areas or sacred sites. If you’re wearing tight bottoms, try to pair them with a long loose top.

  • 4-7x undies
  • 2x bras
    1 sturdy and 1 that can go under anything
  • 1x singlet
    For layering and pyjamas
  • 3x t-shirts
  • 1x linen blouse
  • 1x warm long sleeve shirt
  • 1x maxi skirt
  • 2x long pants
  • 1x dress
    Shoulders and knees!
  • 1x pj bottoms
    Your pick
  • 1x shorts
    If you’re in Goa, otherwise… maybe leave them home
  • Swimmers
  • Sunglasses
    Do not expect to find a pair there
  • Shawl
  • Carry-on/day bag
    You don’t need two different bags
  • Daily wear sandals
    India is a barefoot nation, try a pair of Vegan Birks 
  • Sneakers
    One pair of running shoes can work for hikes, exercise or long days sightseeing
  • Socks
    Easy to buy there, so pack at your own discretion

Left off: evening sandals and thongs, really you only need the one pair of shoes.

NB: Jewellery was deliberately excluded. Leave it all at home. “Even if it has sentimental value?” Especially if it has sentimental value! It makes you a petty crime target, and you’ll want to adorn yourself in Indian jewels anyway.

Toiletries and personals:

  • Personal medications
  • Makeup essentials
    - BB cream
    - Waterproof mascara
    - Lip balm
  • 1-2 toothbrushes, tooth powder and a toothbrush cap
  • Dental floss
    You will not find it there
  • Solid shampoo bar and conditioner
    I take an intensive moisture hair mask as conditioner because my hair doesn’t “do” humidity
  • Face wash 
  • Soap
  • Deodorant paste
  • Hand sanitiser
    Aquim is vegan
  • Face wipes
    I hate single-use products, but you’re catching an international flight to a hot dusty country, so treat yourself to vegan facial wipes (
  • Comb
    Less space than a brush
  • Rosehip oil
  • Peppermint oil
    To dab under your nose in smelly spots
  • Straightener
    For those with nice hair that think this is a shallow luxury, some of us just weren’t born that way!
  • Razor with spare heads
  • Travel sized moisturiser
  • Menstrual cup
    India has poor sanitation and squat toilets, so you don’t want to be changing regularly
  • Insect repellant
    Ask for your doc’s recommendations when you get your shots
  • Sunscreen
  • Condoms
    You know, depending…
  • First aid kit:
    - Malaria medication
    - Immunisation records
    - Bandaids
    - Rehydration tablets
    - Anti-diarrhoea tablets
    - Cold and flu tablets
    - Antiseptic cream
    - Antibiotic cream
    - Nail clippers, tweezers and scissors
    - A small bottle of apple cider vinegar
    A better antibiotic than what the Doctor prescribed, take 1:3 with water on an empty stomach when suffering diarrhoea


  • Backpack
    I have a 65L Osprey Porter Deluxe Pack, 2014 ed.
  • Travel wallet with all documentation and copies of travel documents
    Send a copy of your insurance details and itinerary to at least two people back in Australia, on top of registering at
  • Torch
    Freak snow storms? They happen
  • Swiss Army knife
  • Travel towel
  • Inflatable neck pillow
  • Ziplock bags
  • Padlocks
    For all buses, trains and hostels – don’t forget to lock your bag before checking in at the airport
  • Carabiners
    To secure your bag to your bunk on overnight trains
  • 1-2 small paperback books
    Pack only what you’re willing to swap or discard, carrying more than two books at a time is just dead weight


  • iPad mini with bluetooth keyboard case + spare case
  • iPhone (unlocked) with sturdy case and screen protector
  • Camera and 2x memory cards
  • iPod shuffle + headphones
  • 2x Australia to India adapter plugs
  • Disposable cameras
    For the mems
  • Memory card > iPad adapter
  • Electronics grid (storage)
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