Planning what to pack for India can be a bit overwhelming. As a special request from a traveler heading to India on a 3 week trip, Travel Fashion Girl’s India packing list shows you how to choose the right clothes for your adventure!
Follow these guidelines to make trips to India a breeze! Travel Fashion Girl shows you what to pack for India.
What to Pack for India: Packing List
India is an incredible travel destination. It was my first major trip and it was also the country that changed my life forever. Packing can be a bit tricky as the weather can be extremely hot, the air dusty, and your choices of clothing can dictate how you are perceived.
It is very important to plan conservative yet light, airy clothing for trips to India. While cities like Mumbai and beach destinations like Goa may have a more relaxed “dress code”, it is still imperative to respect the local culture and dress accordingly.
If you’re headed to Kerala, Goa, and the Mumbai region, read this post on what to wear in India in the south!
There are two things to keep in mind when planning your India packing list: shoulders and knees should always be covered.
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10 Piece India Packing List for Various Regions
includes 4 Tops + 3 Bottoms + 1 Dress + yoga outfit
Pack ¾ sleeve or long sleeve tops that give you coverage and modest appearance. Try to choose light fabrics that will be airy and keep you cool in the heat.
You can pack sleeveless shirts just keep in mind that you’ll have to pair them with a wrap to cover your shoulders. You’ll have an endless selection of wraps and scarves in India – get ready to shop!
1 Maxi Dress:
Nothing better than to slip into an easy flowy maxi dress when it’s hot. Pair with flip flops during the day for a casual look and add sandals at night to take it up a notch. Consider getting a Lapis style convertible dress that also doubles as a dress for more versatility.
Avoid cleavage flashing necklines. Add a scarf or shawl for style and shoulder coverage. Respecting the local culture should always be priority when choosing travel clothes.
You should have a pair or two of light weight pants. Some travelers like to pack a pair of jeans if traveling to colder areas and also to go out in places like Mumbai. Otherwise, you can choose from an eclectic array of baggy pants in India.
Leggings are essential as suggested by travel blogger Belinda from Travelling Belle who’s traveling in India. If you plan to spend a lot of time in the beaches, add a pair of denim shorts to your India packing list. A note about cargo pants: if you pack them, make sure they have zippers as the pockets can be targets for wandering hands.
These are the ten best leggings for women that travel!
1 Maxi Skirt
Choose a skirt that falls below your knees. Make sure your skirt doesn’t sit too low as it will collect dirt at the rim. Solid, neutral colors allow you to mix and match easier.
1 Yoga Set
If you’re planning on doing yoga occasionally on your trip to India, pack one set of yoga pants and top. It’s a good idea to choose items that you can also wear with the rest of your travel wardrobe or use as layers if you go to cooler regions.
Legging style yoga pants are ideal because you can wear them under kaftans, tunics and longer tops. Choose breathable, moisture wicking fabrics.
Comfortable Sandals: Wear something you can walk in for hours!
Flip Flops: A must in every Asia travel bag, flip flops are extremely versatile. If you’re an ultra-light packer and only want one pair of shoes, splurge on a hybrid pair that you can dress up or down.
Read TFG’s ultimate guide to choosing travel shoes!
Minimalist South India Packing List
includes 2 Tops + 2 Bottoms + 1 Dress + 2 Layers + 2 Pajamas
For my 2015 travels to India, I packed slightly differently. Instead of packing everything I needed I took less clothes with five core pieces for 3-4 months travel: two tops, two bottoms, and one dress.
I traveled to Mumbai, Goa, and Kerala so my plan on what to pack for india was slightly different than my first trip with clothing from the above tips on what to pack for india.
Take a look at my complete South India packing list!
In addition, I added two light layers for altitude and evenings: leggings and a long sleeve. My pajamas doubled up as clothing and workout gear: running shorts and tank top. In addition, I took one lightweight jacket (button up shirt).
In total, I packed ten pieces to start and everything fits in one packing cube.
But wait, aren’t all capsule wardrobes ten pieces? Yes, but they don’t include pajamas, layers, or outerwear. Therefore, I only have five of the main pieces I need. I’m planning to add three to five more pieces when I buy local clothing in India to create my perfect capsule.
Take a look at our TFG signature capsule wardrobes for summer and winter!
Why this packing strategy?
If you’ve taken my course STOP OVERPACKING, you’ll notice that this clothing set is drastically different than the original.
- It’s ultra-basic
- There’s less color
- There are less items
My first priority for India is to pack ultra-light. The less clothing and the lighter the bag the easier to weave in and around the buzzing country. If you’ve ever been to India, you know that you want to pack as light as possible to move easily through the jam packed trains and sidewalks.
The next major priority for me was fabrics. Since I’m traveling during the hottest time of year I want to make sure each clothing item is as airy and lightweight as possible. Coming from the UK in winter, summer clothing is limited so I didn’t have the best selection.
Find out the best fabrics for travel!
As I searched online for summer clothing and realized that most of what I liked was sourced from India. The bohemian summer look I wanted I could probably find for a fraction of the price in one of my first stops: Goa.
With that in mind I packed only the basics and plan to buy a few additional items as needed upon arrival. With the exception of the dress, when you buy basics you’re often limited in color. While creating the packing course I gave myself a major reminder: only wear colors you like. In my case these are black, white, ivory, and the RIGHT shades of brights. (I don’t really like prints.)
Unless I find the perfect shades of turquoise, aquamarine, jewel purple, or muted red – I’m not buying it. My perfect capsule wardrobe depends on this.
Why I chose specific clothing items when I planned what to pack for india:
- Tops: They’re 100% cotton and a light color to reflect the sun.
- Shorts: Denim shorts are a beach bum staple.
- Pants: They’re comfortable, functional, feather thin, lightweight, loose, and will wash and dry quickly.
- Dress: It’s 100% cotton, provides adequate coverage, and is a fun print.
- Long Sleeve: It’s feather light, can be layered, and (hopefully) won’t be worn often.
- Leggings: They’re light and thin but not see through and will work as layers, for warmth, and for yoga.
- Tank Top: It’s light, wicks moistures, and can be re-worn without absorbing scents.
- Running Shorts: They’re light and multi-purpose.
Three of these pieces are from Adea. I love this clothing brand because their fabric is wonderful for travel. It doesn’t weight anything; it folds into a tiny little ball, and feels amazing against the skin. In the heat I feel so cool and in the cold it doesn’t suffocate me as an under layer.
After traveling to remote Raja Ampat last year, this became a staple in my wardrobe when I wore the same Adea top with Anatomie travel pants for 6 days straight and they didn’t smell even in the grotesque unbearable heat. My long sleeve cotton top was putrid after one day!
Travel Fashion Tip: The key to re-wearing clothing even in the heat is to air them out and hang them up after they’re worn. Learn more about this smart traveler packing tip!
A few more tips on what to pack for india:
Adjust the list according to your activities. Add more yoga gear if you’re going to an ashram, add a jacket/jeans if going to the Himalayas, and add a sun dress if heading to the beach.
My best suggestion when planning trips to India is to buy your travel clothing upon arrival. Check out Laura Klein’s custom clothing shopping experience in New Delhi. Hope this list helps you figure out what to pack for India!
What are your India packing list essentials?
For more Asia packing lists, please read:
- Thailand Packing List
- Nepal Packing List
- What Travelers Actually Wear in Southeast Asia
- Southeast Asia Backpacking Packing List
Suggested Travel Resources: