First things first
The first thing you need to pack on any trip be it to India or anywhere in the world is enthusiasm. I mean, the world is a boring place without the dash of enthusiasm!
For starters, you can be assured that India isn’t the land of million myths. We do have snakes and spirituality, but that is just a tiny part of the grandeur and charm of India. What you pack and how you pack depends mainly upon the season, your budget and destinations.
Unless you’re not heading to the Himalayas or far flung North-eastern areas in winter season, you can pretty much do with the same kind of clothing. A pair of jeans/khakis teamed with t-shirts/light shirts, one off jacket/windcheater, swim wear for the occasional dip to cool your head off, flip-flops/running shoes, sun cap, shades and lots of sun-block would be the perfect attire!
If the list sounds like its going toad too much weight to your luggage, you can carry a near empty bag and fill it by satiating the shop-o-holic in you! Most big cities have cheap and trendy places for comfortable clothes. The best buys are off the streets where you can become the proud owner of jeans in just Rs. 200/- and T-shirts for as little as Rs. 70/-. Go in for this option only if you have the time, will to bargain and no-brand consciousness!
What to carry it in?
What you carry is important, but what you carry it in is equally important. You can choose from ruck-sacks, to hard covered or soft suitcases and air bags that can be folded. If you’re the luxury traveler you can flaunt the suitcases and have the porters lug them around for you in-and-out of cabs and hotel rooms. However, if you have a modest budget, a ruck-sack with water proofing would be just perfect! Either way, your bag must be sturdy and water proof. Also tag each of your luggage with your name, address and other contact details incase it gets misplaced. Further, it is very important to lock your bags, and be safe than sorry!
Apart from the major bag, you will need an accompanying backpack, purse or waist bag. The same can be used to hold the cash, calling cards, bank cards, copy of visas, copy of passport, copy of permits, train/airline tickets, camera, cell phone, torch light, travel guide, maps, pen knife, water, handy snacks, hand towels, wet tissues and a an extra pair of clothes. This will be not only convenience, but help you to segregate things you need everyday while traveling, from those you may need at some destinations.
Lastly, the destination you’re heading to also determine what to pack. You need to have a clear cut itinerary for ease of packing. But don’t let the structure bar you from the occasional detour even if you do not the right attire/gear for you, for you can easily buy it or better still rent it from the numerous rental shops!
As a precautionary measure, inform friends and family back home about your location, keep all the documents safe and create memories through pictures, videos and travel entries just incase you begin to forget how it feels to be in India, which is a very remote possibility, but hey a record will make it all the more special, won’t it?!
And before you head off to pack as per the newly made to-pack list, add a few more items to pack like – your sense of humor, sense of adventure, curiosity, a little bit of tolerance – for you’ll need them to cherish India.
(9 April 2008)