In 2013, my suitcases were full, heavy and packed with “essentials.” I didn’t use half my essentials, and couldn’t even find several items until back home. Here’s my abbreviated list. It contains only what I found to be truly needed:
-2 pairs of loose cotton trousers
-as many bras (ladies) as you like
-2 warm pairs socks (if heading to cooler climes)
-1 light jacket
-2 dhupattas (scarves) to match tops or bottoms
-small container with toiletries – (e.g., shampoo, soap, skin lotions, and sunscreen; some bug repellant, to use until you can get some Odomos in India; toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss; hairbrush or comb as well as a small hand mirror and tweezers)
-maybe a pack of tissues.
-Small first aid kit with some band aids, antibiotic ointment, some aspirin or ibuprofen, and any prescriptions.
-Your supplements, if you think you’ll take them, and not a whole lot of them
-Sandals – especially inexpensive slide-ons
-Long underwear, if you’re heading north
-PJs – remember it’s fairly warm in Ganeshpuri, so not your heavy ones
-Soap for washing clothes
-some small foods that won’t attract monkeys or rats- something you might not be able to get in India (Their chocolate is awful but ours might melt – ah, tapas; I’ll do without.)
-Females: sanitary protection for that time of month
-Stout lock/key with rounded hasp for your door
-Small powerful flashlight
-Small inflatable neck rest or pillow (good for meditation as well as plane)
-Noise canceling headphones (if airplane noise bothers you)
-3-6 medium/large sized safety pins (for sari pinning)
-PASSPORT WITH STAMPED VISA
-MUST BRING YOUR E-TICKET RECEIPT or you won’t be allowed into the airport in India!
-Cash. Some money can be changed in the Mumbai airport, if you feel the need. Iqbal’s friend Shamin provides this service in Ganeshpuri.
-India adaptor. NOTE: India electricity does not work with “universal” plug adaptors. You can get an adaptor on Amazon.com good for India plugs. But it is 220 volt, not 110.
Really, you won’t need much else. I am hoping to use a carry-on size suitcase, and bring along a backpack or large purse-like bag that closes. I want room in my case for presents to bring home – might even consider buying clothes to wear and then giving them to friends.
I do suggest you obtain and wear compression stockings on the long plane journeys. Several people experienced swollen feet/ankles/lower legs on the 2013 India Yatra. DVTs can be an issue as well; compression stockings will make your feet and legs more comfortable not only on the long plane right, but throughout the entire trip.
Bottom line: Don’t overburden yourself!