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Jaclyn McCosker

The Ultimate India Packing List 2.0 - The Minimalist Edition

The Ultimate India Packing List 2.0 - The Minimalist Edition

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In 2014 I wrote The Ultimate India Packing List for Women and kept it updated with any changes and my best recommendations. This is based off long-term travel with a full-sized backpack.

My fourth visit to India is different, and I'm only taking carry-on luggage. This includes my overhead piece plus my "personal item" which is my daily handbag.

This means no liquids over 100mL, no sharps and no over-packing! A minimalist, zero-waste dream because there's no room for anything I won't definitely need and I have to leave space I need to leave to bring back any goods I pick up along the way.

I have to buy and wear local clothes for my work which is kind of cheating, so if you can fit an extra 2 changes of clothes in - go for it!

Below is my full packing list for 5 weeks in North India.

On my body

  • Sandals
  • Blue jeans
  • Tshirt
  • Scarf (for modesty)
  • Undies
  • Bra
  • All jewellery I'll be taking

Hard case carry-on


  • 3 undies
  • 1 bralette
  • Dress (knees and shoulders covered)
  • 2 tops (sleeved)
  • Pjs (I packed shorts & a tshirt)
  • Socks (for the plane)

Toiletries & first-aid

  • Dr Bronner's bar soap in travel case
  • Tooth powder (DIY recipe here)
  • Bamboo toothbrush in travel case
  • Shampoo bar 
  • Comb (less space than a brush)
  • Immunisation records
  • Ibuprofen, cold & flu, charcoal, anti-diarrhea & malaria tablets
    • Talk to your Doctor about the malaria options across price ranges because the cheap options come with side effects, I paid $80 for Malarone
  • Gastrolyte
  • Bandaids
  • Spare hair ties

NB: I'll be using my Dr Bronner's for face wash, body wash and hand washing.

Everything else

  • Laptop
  • Camera
  • Spare memory cards
  • Chargers
  • India adaptor/s
  • 1 book
  • Cloth bag (for shopping)


  • Travel documents
    • Passport, flight ticket and copies of all your bookings, insurance and spare passport photos
  • Wallet (preferably loaded with local currency)
  • 1 book
  • Phone + charger
  • Headphones
  • Prescription drugs
  • Menstrual cup (Read more here)
  • Collapsible reusable water bottle
  • Pen
  • Liquids bag, ready for the security check

And that's it!

Things to pick up in country:

  • Coconut oil. It costs $1.50/L so I'll pick some up as body moisturiser.
  • Insect repellant. I've chosen not to buy any this trip because I use coconut oil instead, but it's definitely available here more affordably than home, and you won't go over your liquids quota.
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