Packing for a holiday is like Marmite. You either love it or you hate it. Some people relish in the organisation of packing their life into travel cubes for a month, while others simply fling it all in and hope for the best. But even the most jaded packer can agree that when it comes to deciding on what to pack for India, there has to be some sort of preparation. Especially if you have an itinerary planned that sees you scaling mountains in Ladakh, sunbathing on sweeping beaches in Goa and temple hopping in Jaipur.

Ladakh and Eastern India

These regions are probably the two that need the most pre-packing thought. Both bordered by the Himalayas, their climates are unsurprisingly varied. In the spring/summer months (mid-March to June), the average temperature is a hot 38°C. But thanks to low-pressures and cold fronts brought down from the nearby mountains, temperatures can drop pretty suddenly. So apart from the essentials, we recommend (regardless of the season but especially if you plan on heading into the hills) the following: 

  • A warm down jacket, buff, hat and gloves
  • Walking boots, crampons and poles (the latter two you can probably rent once there)
  • Waterproof walking trousers and lots of layers
  • Warm pyjamas for cold nights
  • A sturdy day pack and backpack (especially if you plan on trekking)


Located on the country’s western border with Pakistan, Rajasthan sees a more arid climate. It experiences fairly hot temperatures across the year and extreme heat in both summer and winter. The region is particularly prone to droughts too, so packing a water bottle is an essential. Our other essentials for what to pack for India include:

  • Long trousers, sarongs, shirts and trousers that cover shoulders if you plan on temple hopping
  • A waterproof jacket (you never know when the occasional downpour will get you)
  • A camera (Jaipur’s ‘Pink City’ is too charming not to be captured)

Southern India, Kerala and Tamil Nadu

579 miles from the equator, Southern India is the country’s hottest region. Temperatures are hot all year round - with an annual average of 33°C - while sea temperatures hang around 28°C, making long afternoons alternating between sunbathing and swims all the more enticing. For a trip to the temples of Tanjore and the Andaman Islands, where sun-toasted beaches come fringed with primeval jungle, the first things on your what to pack for India list have to be:

  • Sun cream (the higher the SPF, the better)
  • Go Pros for capturing the island’s resident turtles, dolphins and manatees
  • A good book (or two)
  • Work out clothes. Yoga is particularly popular in this neck of the woods.
  • Cash. With the amount of street vendors selling everything from Vada Pavs to jasmine and coconut, you’ll find yourself bringing back more than a few authentic souvenirs
Contact one of our India specialists