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Packing Checklist: What to Bring on Your Volunteering Trip to India

Known as one of the most vibrant places in the world, India is sure to enthral you. We have put together a packing checklist to help you bring all the things you need to thoroughly enjoy your volunteering adventure in India:

Clothes To Pack

The clothes you pack must be culturally-appropriate and suitable to Indian weather. Here are a few tips to help you figure out exactly what to pack:

March-May: prepare for a hot summer

Summer in India begins in mid-March and lasts till the end of May. If you’re visiting then, make sure you pack light, airy clothes made of fabrics like cotton and linen. They’ll help you stay cool through the subcontinental heat. Keep in mind, however, that short tank tops and other revealing clothes items do not generally conform with the Indian norms of attire. Ladies – make sure that your shoulders and knees are covered. Save your shorts and spaghetti tops for the time you go to Goa for a beach holiday. At work, keep it professional and a little more covered.

June – September: cooling rains during monsoon season

India experiences heavy showers during the monsoon season, lasting between June and September (or so it did, until climate change altered monsoon patterns). To deal with the rains and stay dry, pack a pair flip-flops, a raincoat and a jumper. No need to pack an umbrella since they can be bought in India with ease.

November – February: beautifully, mild winters

Winters aren’t too cold in India. The season lasts between November and February. You could pack cardigans, sweaters, and jumpers, rather than bringing along the heavy winter-wear you’d wear at home. Layering is your best friend. You can wear a T-Shirt during the day, and then put a cardigan or light jacket on top during for cooler evenings. As mentioned earlier, pack clothes that aren’t too close fitting, and that cover you up well. Jeans and T-shirts work well, but if you choose to pack a dress, make sure it’s long enough to cover your knees.

Handy Accessories

Women could pack a few scarves – they are one of the most multi-functional travel items! Not only do they protect you from the sun AND the cold, they also make sure you can cover yourself if necessary.

For unexpected events and formal occasions, you could also pack a pair of semi-formal trousers or skirts and shirts.

Don’t forget to pack your socks and two pairs of sturdy sports shoes or sneakers for weekend adventures!

Immerse Yourself!

You could also try blending in if you bought a few Indian clothes of your own while you’re here! Kurtas are the most comfortable, and with their vibrant colours add a little bit of spark to your day. Just in case you get invited to a wedding, you can also invest in a beautiful traditional saree or formal kurta.            

Gadgets and Technology

For obvious reasons, you wouldn’t forget to bring your phone and laptop along, but make sure you pack your chargers, plug adapters and a pair of earphones. Also think about insuring your most valued gadgets, just in case.

Safety Pockets

Try to trim your wallet and carry as little cash as possible. It’s always a good idea to pack your cash and cards in multiple safe spots. Pack all the essential travel documents such as your passport, travel and health insurance, etc. Also make sure to always carry copies of these, and ensure you’ve got digital copies as well.

Must-Have Toiletries

  • Towels
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Wet wipes (lots of them)
  • Tissues
  • Shampoos, conditioners and shaving gel filled in travel sized bottles
  • A bar soap (to save space)
  • Deodorant
  • Razor

Or you can just leave them all at home and buy them here in India. Pharmacies, supermarkets and drug stores have all the known brands, as well as very cool, herbal-based local ones to try out!

Protect Your Skin

For skincare, pack a sunscreen with high SPF, mosquito/bug repellant, and a lip balm. Although sanitary napkins are readily available at pharmacies and supermarkets, we’d suggest you pack some for emergencies anyway. Tampons, however, aren’t very easily available in India – so stack up!

Personal Safety

For personal safety, carry an emergency medical kit. Also pack a small torch, and a chain to secure your luggage while you travel on a train.

As tempting as packing all your favourite things while you head abroad might be, try to embrace minimalism as much as possible. Pack lightly – most of the stuff you can get here cheaper. Arm yourself with a couple of books and some good music, and you’re good to go!

For more travel advice and support in picking your next skilled volunteer adventure, get in contact with us.