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What to bring to India

VISA– Visa is REQUIRED for travel to India. If you have time and want to apply for the traditional 10 year visa, allow yourself at least one month (or more, just to be safe) prior to your flight for processing. We recommend Travisa travel service for arranging your visa.  Arrangements can also be made directly through your local Indian Embassy.  The form you need to fill out is on the Indian Government Website.  Complete, print, and sign this form and either ship it (along with the full requirements given explicitly on Travisa’s Website) or gather up all the materials required and visit your local embassy.  Traditional 10 year visa costs $120.  *NEW EASY* online e-Visa option is available.  This visa can be applied for completely online, costs $100, and is valid for 1 year from your travel date with multiple entries into India.  You fill out the application at Indian Visa Online  and will be emailed your visa which you must print and bring with you on your travels.  This can be applied for with minimum of 4 days before traveling, as processing is fairly quick. However, we recommend doing it sooner rather than later. For further questions about Visa application, please contact us directly. To Print your E-Visa- go to the Indian Visa Website, select check status, and enter your ETA and passport numbers and click print status.  Please print in color and bring a couple copies.

PASSPORT – An obvious one for international travel. We recommend you to make  a couple photo copies of your passport to bring along just in case- you never want to risk being stranded across the world with no way to return… you probably won’t use these but it doesn’t hurt to be extra safe!

CLOTHES – Light, comfortable, modest clothing is optimal. Especially for women, because the culture there is so different, it is not recommended to bring tight, form fitting clothing. Save yourself the discomfort of harassing stares or situations by bringing loose, free fitting clothing, ideally with both your shoulders and knees covered for ladies. Trust us, it’s worth it. Some temples will require covered heads and or shoulders for both men and women, so bring some light scarves. Keep in mind you will want to buy things there- great prices on super beautiful items, so pack light!  Also- generally weather will be hot except in Dharamsala in the Himalayan Mountains.  One sweater for there will be enough. 😉

COMFORTABLE SHOES– Lots of walking and exploring to be done, make sure you have whatever keeps your feet happy!

SMALL EASY TO CARRY PERSONAL BAG– Preferably with a zipper or something that closes effectively… Just to keep your rupees all in check 😉

JOURNAL/SKETCHBOOK – Some deep processing may be done. Some awesome memories may need to be recorded. Give yourself the chance to take notes.

CASH – You will be able to get out rupees from ATMs around (mostly… Rishikesh in particular tends to have ATMs ‘not working’ so before we get there definitely pull out some extra rupees), but sometimes having dollars to exchange is helpful as well.

GIFTS FOR CHILDREN – A really sweet thing… So many beautiful children, many living in extreme poverty, who have never seen or rarely seen foreigners. Having something simple to give them to remember you will truly touch your heart. Little chapsticks, pens/pencils, key chains, etc… anything from your country, and these kids just light up! We will be visiting an orphanage at the end of our trip, so any supplies for the orphanage as well that you want to bring (coloring books, crayons, toys, etc.) feel free to bring and keep safe in your bag until the end of our stay where we will leave them in this beautiful children’s home and school.  Keep in mind you will have to carry around these gifts until the end of the trip, so make sure it’s small items that you can manage.

HAND SANITIZER – YES! You will need it all the time. Trust us, bathrooms are not always in the best conditions and you will definitely want to purify.

TOWEL/LIGHT YOGA MAT – We will be practicing on the go, and you will benefit from having something to practice on.  However, it’s best to travel as light as possible, so you may not want to bring your heavy duty manduka mat.  We recommend a light yoga mat (you can even purchase these at Walgreens) or a light towel that folds up easy into your bag.  Another option is to purchase a cheap mat there.  Whatever you chose, make sure it’s easy to carry around.  We bring yoga straps to carry ours.  Something like this for example — yoga mat strap.

SILK SLEEPING BAG – We like to bring our silk sleeping bags with us for our overnight train ride.  The train does have AC and provides linens and pillows that are washed, but let’s be real, it’s India and quality isn’t always what we Westerners consider clean.  These are perfect because they are super light and don’t take up a lot of space in your bag, yet provide you with another level of comfort knowing that you’re sleeping in clean and protective sheets.  Here is an example that comes in both double and single size.  The double is a little more roomy but its up to you what you prefer.

SNACKS – Having some bars, nuts, or whatever to keep you fueled and energized can make a big difference during long days.

MOSQUITO REPELLENT – We may encounter some buggy areas; be prepared.

SUNSCREEN – They don’t call it the Indian Sun for nothing.  Protect your skin.

SMALL FLASHLIGHT – Can save your butt in a power outage situation, which is common in India.

PORTABLE UMBRELLA – It will be the transition out of monsoon season which may bring some rainy days.  A little umbrella can go a long way.  This is also available to purchase in India for very cheap.

SMALL FOLD-OUT FAN – This goes along with the whole ‘Indian sun’ thing.  It’s India; it’s hot.  Having that extra breeze from your small hand fan can add an extra bit of comfort on our sight seeing excursions.  Again, you can purchase this in India easily at next to nothing cost.

EARPLUGS – If you’re a light sleeper, bring some plugs. The bigger cities like Delhi will not be forgiving for you.

SWIMSUIT – There are a few hotels that have a pool.  Ladies bring the most modest swimsuit you own.  Indian women wear full wet suits when swimming, and while it is a hotel with fellow foreigners we want to respect the culture as much as possible.

COMPRESSION SOCKS – The long flight can be painful on circulation.  Compression socks can make a world of a difference! Carry them on the plane with you and put them on right before take off.  You’ll thank us!

SMALL LOCK FOR ZIPPER ON SUITCASE– We have one overnight train, which is very safe, but if you suffer from paranoia locking your bag up overnight (which will be placed under your bed) can get you to relax deeper into the rhythmic chugging of the train as you sleep.

LIGHT CLOTHESLINE – Every city offers laundry through the hotel service at a reasonable cost so you can wash clothes during your trip. However if you do want to do any of your own laundry you’re going to need a way to dry it. Also nice if you get wet or rained on for any reason and can hang up your things overnight.

ELECTRIC PLUG CONVERTER – You will need a converter to charge your precious smart phone. You can get one there too, but sometimes it’s just better to be prepared.

EMERGEN-C – India may use it’s magic to wreak havoc on your immune system. Traveling can be tough- be prepared.

GINGER CANDIES – One of the best recommendations we’ve had- the Indian road conditions + car qualities can make for quite a bumpy ride. Nausea may ensue and a little ginger candy can really do the trick to keep you feeling well. Plus they are yummy!

DIARRHEA MEDICINE – Of course, natural medicine is always the best. However, there may come a time where you will be thankful you brought your strong Western Imodium. Trust us, been there, VERY grateful.

ECHINACEA – Keep that immune system up up up!

COLD MEDICINE– We’re talking decongestants.  If you for some reason get stuffy or head pressure nothing is worse than still having to travel onward.  Best to just be prepared with any medicine you may need because Indian pharmacies will not have our Westernized strong options.

TEA TREE OIL – Great antiseptic for small cuts/scrapes that you want to keep clean and infection-free!

BEFORE THE TRIP – Beef up your immune system at least 2 weeks prior to travel with probiotics, garlic, vitamin c, and what ever else you use to get your immunity nice and voluptuous.  The stronger you are before, the better chance you have of staying healthy.  Of course we will take all the proper precautions while we are there, such as brushing teeth with bottled water and avoiding street food, but it’s still good to close up any holes you have in your immune system before traveling so that there isn’t a lot of room for viruses to get in.