Wednesday, June 24, 2015

What to Pack for Travel and Yoga in India [Teacher Training Checklist]

What to pack to practice yoga in India TTC

(Updated 2019) Whether you only want to travel or also practice yoga in India, this packing list is for you. It includes every must-have travel items for India and also what to pack (and wear) for an ashram experience, for a yoga retreat or for a yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, Mysore, Goa or anywhere else in India.

My personal experience

The first time I visited India was back in 2005.  I stayed for a whole year, mainly in Mumbai, doing an internship in an Indian company.

I returned for another year in 2010, as a yoga student, and since then I've been visiting India almost every year. I like to stay at Indian ashrams and to follow yoga classes with different teachers all over India.

As you might be able to tell, I do have a few things to share. This packing list is based on my accumulated personal experience after all my multiple trips to India.

It is not only valid for India though.  You can use this checklist for other Asian countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Cambodia which I have also visited multiple times throughout my journey.

But first, here you have some related articles that I've written before. You might also find them helpful to prepare for your next yoga adventure to India:

If you're looking for tips to travel light then I can't help you. My backpack is usually about 20Kgs, and it's not my only bag! But if you want to make sure that you have all your bases covered then I think you'll find this checklist very helpful.

To make it easy for you I've included links to I did an exhaustive research to find the best products on each category, or at least the best sellers (minimum 4 stars).

These are affiliates links. If you buy a product through these links you'll be supporting me to continue sharing awesome free content like this, via a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

What Clothes to Wear in India

What clothes you'll need to pack for India will depend on the answers to these questions.

  • When will you be in India (which season): during monsoon season or summer?
  • Which region will you be in India: South or North? Which state? Weather can change drastically from state to state.
  • For how long will you stay in India: A week? A month? three months? Six months or more?
  • What will you do in India: Will you be traveling all around India in a short period of time or will you stay for weeks or months wherever you go?

If you don't know the answers because you have no plans... then that's great, you are in my team! But that means that you'll probably need to pack just about everything, as I do.

Now, generally speaking:

Whenever you travel by bus or train at night, or if you are landing at an airport very late, you should have some warm clothes with you.

It can get surprisingly chilly in places like Mumbai, Bangalore, and Delhi during winter (December till February), especially past midnight. 

What to wear in Rishikesh

If you are planning to visit Rishikesh during winter (between December and February) you will definitely need warm clothes. Think of gloves, winter caps, long trousers and so on.

Believe me, it gets really cold. It can get close to 5 degrees Celsius (41 F) in January, and guess what, there are no heating systems in India. Hot water is not a problem though.

The most pleasant weather in Rishikesh is between March and April, or October and November.

I recommend you to avoid visiting Rishikesh during the monsoon season, between July and September.  It not only rains a lot but many schools and restaurants close their doors, so there is not much to do.

People usually head further north starting June, to places like Dharamsala, to avoid the extreme heat.

What to wear in Mysore

Mysore, in the south of India, has pleasant weather almost all year long.

Between December and February, it can get a bit chilly during the night and early mornings.

If you are planning to drive a scooter to your yoga class early in the morning it will be good to have a Windstopper jacket and a scarf.

It gets pretty hot between April and June, but that's usually when the yoga season ends.  Most yoga teachers resume their classes from July or August onwards.

What to wear in Goa

Places like Goa and Kerala get really hot during the season, so make sure you pack your swimwear and comfortable summer clothes.  You'll be wearing flip-flops all day long.

The high season in Goa is between November and March.  That's when you can find the best weather: beautiful sunny days, not too hot and beautiful calm sea.  Late at night, between December and February, you might need a light sweater.

In my opinion, October and April can even be better.  Still good weather, less crowded and better deals.

Starting May until September pretty much everything is closed in Goa, and the sea is not as pretty.  You will probably need an umbrella or raincoat.

Be respectful of the culture

It is also important to wear clothes appropriate for the culture.  For women that means to ALWAYS keep your shoulders and legs covered (below the knees).

The only exception will be Goa where you can wear pretty much whatever you want.  You can even go completely naked at Candolim beach!

It is also acceptable to wear tops, shorts, and bikini in beaches like Varkala and Kovalam Beach, in Kerala; Gokarna in Karnataka and Mamallapuram, in Tamil Nadu.

Depending on the neighborhood, big cities like Mumbai and Delhi can be a bit more forgiven about what you wear.

As far as I know, there are no restrictions for men.  We could swim in our briefs anywhere in India if we would like to. Lol.

Of course, you should always dress conservatively when visiting any temples or churches.

What to wear for yoga in India

Ashrams in Rishikesh, or around India, might ask you to dress conservative clothing during their yoga classes.  That means to wear loose pants and t-shirts.

Some ashrams might even ask you to wear a uniform, especially if you do a teacher training course with them.

In Mysore, it is perfectly fine to wear leggings and tops if you are practicing Ashtanga yoga.   You'll be sweating a lot so that is the most comfortable.  But you should wear them only during class.

I know, because there are so many westerners around, especially during the high season in the Gokulam neighborhood, you can see many girls wearing their leggings or tiny shorts during the day.

So you might think that it is perfectly acceptable, but it is not.  Just ask local women for their opinion.

Must Have Travel Items for India

These are all the must-have travel items for India.  It is also valid if you are doing yoga in India, so make sure you go through the whole list.

1. Passport and visa copies

I know, you are not going to forget your passport, but I do recommend to have a few passport and visa copies with you.

Every guesthouse, hostel or hotel will request a copy of your documents to register. Most of the time they can do it themselves but having some copies with you can be helpful.

2. Backpack

Whatever your needs are I suggest a backpack that is big enough to leave a bit of empty space after packing.

That will make it easy to pack every time you need to move, or just to add anything extra that you might get on your travels.

I suggest anything between 50 and 70 liters.

I've been traveling with a 70 liters backpack and it's been all right but not necessarily the best size. Every time that I have to pack I wish it was bigger and every time that I have to carry it I wish I could through half of my things away (probably the best solution).

I've been using since 2010 a Quechua backpack from Decathlon and it's as good as day one. Best value for money.

3. Daypack

This is a small backpack, about 20 liters or less, that you can use as hand luggage to carry all your valuables and to use for short trips. The way I see it, if something happens I should be able to leave my big backpack behind and run with my daypack.

4. Travel Guidebook

Especially useful for your first trip to India or if you want to travel as much as you can all around India.

The only problem is that they are bulky and heavy, but if you have a smartphone, a Kindle or a tablet then you can get the Kindle version of the Lonely Planet or the Rough Guides to read on your device.

5. Earplugs

Finding a quiet place in India is a real challenge. Even if you stay at a nice peaceful ashram there is always something happening to disturb your sleep.

A Hindu festival, a temple with loudspeakers, a snoring neighbor or the alarm clock of the guy/girl in the next bed (if you stay in a dorm).

Get at least a dozen of ear plugs. You'll need them for sure and they are not very easy to find in India.

6. Travel mosquito net

Sometimes you don't need them at all and sometimes it seems just impossible to live without one.

In South India, they can be really handy, especially if your blood is like mine, sweet nectar for mosquitos.

Actually even in the North, during summer, mosquitos drive me nuts! Many ashrams and guesthouses have mosquito nets but not always.

I've stayed in many places with no mosquito net so I've had to sleep with Odomos all over my body. 

So these are the best travel mosquito nets that I could find in

7. Mosquito repellent

You might be able to survive in India without a mosquito net but not without a mosquito repellent. Fortunately, you can find them anywhere in India.

Just ask for Odomos in any shop. It has a nice smell and feels like body lotion. It comes in a tube like a toothpaste so be careful. I once applied toothpaste on my skin thinking that it was mosquito repellent! Lol.

8. Headlamp

With the frequent power cuts in India, a head torch/headlamp is indispensable. They allow you to keep your hands free to do things like going to the toilet or looking for something inside your backpack. 

They are also good for night reading and handy if you are sleeping in a dormitory. You won't need to switch on the lights disturbing others.

I've used the Petzl Tikka Plus 2 and one of the Black Diamond Headlamps. They were both great.

I especially like the Petzl Tikka Plus 2 because it also has a dimmed red light which allows you to be more discrete instead of using the strong led light.

Word of advice, don't forget to remove the batteries when you are not using them. Both of my headlamps got ruined because the batteries leaked inside!

9. Travel Sheet

I always travel with a travel sheet/liner. They are very handy when traveling by night train cause it can get a bit cold at night.

They are also very useful when you have no choice but to sleep in one of those guesthouses where you wish you could levitate to avoid touching the bed.

They are also great to use inside your sleeping bag. The travel sheet is much easier to clean.

I used the Cocoon Cotton Travel Sheet for about four years. It was perfect. Then I got the Cocoon Silk TravelSheet which I also used for four years.

I wanted to try the silk one because it's lighter, smaller and it's supposed to be more comfortable either in cold or warm weather.

Unfortunately, silk is very delicate so many times my fingernails, toenails or even my dry heels (oh yeah, you'll get them in India!) snag the sheet. And it didn't feel that comfortable in my skin.

So next time I buy a new one it will definitely be the Cocoon Cotton Travel Sheet.

10. Sleeping Bag

If you are traveling in North India or anywhere where it can get pretty cold at night you'll most likely get some blankets to keep you warm.

But if you care about cleanliness or if you suffer from allergies then you better travel with your own sleeping bag. I always travel with a sleeping bag and I've used it many times.

11. Walking Sandals/Flip Flops

In India, you'll normally need to remove your shoes before entering a temple, a house or a room where others are barefoot. If you stay at an ashram you'll probably need to do this countless times.

So make sure you have comfortable walking sandals, flip flops or Crocs. You'll need them for sure, much easier to remove than shoes.

12. UVA Water Purifiers

You can find water bottles or filtered water pretty much everywhere in India, but if you don't trust the filters, or if you don't want to contribute with the plastic pollution which is a serious issue in India, then you can get a UVA Water Purifier.

These UVA water purifiers kill 99.9999% of viruses and bacteria, without removing the minerals from the water. You can just fill your bottle with tap water, use the purifier for a few seconds and then drink it. Isn't that awesome?

The travel UVA water purifiers:

13. Travel Umbrella or Raincoat

Unless I'm trekking in the mountains, or driving a bike during monsoon season, I always prefer an umbrella over a raincoat. It is usually very hot in India so if you wear a raincoat it gets really sweaty.

I actually traveled with a raincoat for three years and I never used it, but I've used my umbrella countless of time.

You can order online a good quality travel umbrella but you can also find cheap umbrellas anywhere in India.

14. International Drivers License

Please don't tell anybody but I did a motorcycle road trip in Cambodia and in India, and I drove a bike in Mysore for months without having a drivers license with me.

I'm sure my skin color helped, and I was always wearing a full head helmet.

Please don't follow my example. If you don't want troubles with the police I suggest you bring an international drivers license with you, especially if you can't pass by as a local.

15. Locking Chain

If you want peace of mind to be able to sleep comfortably during your night train trip then you should get a locking chain. You can use it to lock your backpack under your sit.

I used one for a little while but I don't care anymore. My bag is so big and heavy that I don't think anybody would bother.  Of course, I always keep my valuables with me in my daypack.

Now, if you want to be absolutely safe you can get the Pacsafe 55L Anti-Theft Backpack and Bag Protector.  A friend travels with it and she uses it ALL the time.

It is quite handy.  If you travel solo you can use it to keep your valuables safe whenever you have to go to the toilet.  And if you don't trust your roommates you can even use it in your guesthouse when there are no lockers available.

Another alternative for protecting your valuables is to get a 5L or 12L Pacsafe Portable Safe.  Very portable and practical.

16. Plug Adapters and Voltage Converters

Your smartphone, tablet or laptop don't need a voltage converter.  Their power adapter already converts the country's voltage to the needs of the device.

If you check your laptop's power adapter you'll notice that it says "input 100 - 240 V" (meaning dual voltage) which covers the voltages of all around the world.

You might need a plug adapter though to be able to fit the plug to the power sockets in India (plug adapters don't convert voltage).

You can find really cheap adapters anywhere in India, but if you care about your gadgets you better get a good quality plug adapter with surge protection.

They help to protect your devices from the inconsistency in voltages and power cuts.

I bought in India the GM 3 Pin Travel Universal Multi Plug and I use it EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I've also been able to use it in Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia.

If you are outside of India you could get this adapter by Travel Ready.

Other electronics like hair dryers, electronic razors, hair trimmers and so on might need a voltage converter if they are bought in countries such as the US and Canada.

You should check your device manual to know what is their supported voltage input.

Europe uses the same 230 voltage as in India so normally electronics bought in Europe won't need converters, but you should still check your manual.

17. Microfiber Travel Towel

I had a travel towel for a while and guess what, I hated it! They are supposed to dry quickly but they don't and they can easily get mold. On top of that, it felt horrible on the skin.

My friend Dennis of SeeTheWorldInMyEyes recommended me to get a sarong instead. They feel great on the skin, they dry super fast and you can use them as a beach towel, or a skirt (not me, lol).

18. Swiss Knife

There is not a day that goes by when I don't use my Swiss Knife. It was the best present ever. Thanks, dad!

I use the knife to cut fruits and the scissors to cut just about anything. I also use the can opener and the bottle opener.

Of course, it has a few other tools that I have no idea how to use, or what they are for. Lol.

19. Menstrual Cup

Nope, I don't have personal experience on this, lol, but one of my friends insisted I add this item.  She even gave me the reasons why:

  • unlike tampons, which needs to be changed every 8 hours, the Diva Cup can be worn for up to 12 hours, making it more convenient during travel days
  • It is a lot more compact than having to carry around pads and tampons, which sometimes are not even accessible during travels, depending on the country
  • saving the environment, you are eliminating a ton of waste
  • saving money, no need to worry about purchasing pads or tampons
  • healthier, no bleached or plastic products in your body
  • more comfortable, fewer chances of leaks

I'm convinced.  If I was a girl I would get one for sure! Lol.  My friend suggested the Diva Cup brand.

20. Condoms

Yes, I am talking about condoms.  This is an important item, don't you think so?

It is definitely more convenient that you bring your prefer condoms brand with you, especially if you have some particular requirements, like latex free.

It will very difficult to find these in India, and I'm sure you don't want to go through the hassle of searching for pharmacies in big cities.  Don't even bother in smaller towns.

If you don't get them at home, the second easiest option is to buy them at airport pharmacies.  They can have a good assortment of brands.

I know what you are thinking now. "Will I need these if I'm staying at an ashram?"

To be honest, most likely you won't.  Usually, men and women sleep in separate dormitories.

But you never know where your journey might take you after your ashram experience, besides,  a yoga retreat or a TTC is a very common place to meet your soul mate.  So better be prepared.

What Gadgets You Might Like to Pack for India

Choosing the right gadget might be a bit difficult so I wrote a more in-depth article to help you decide which gadget to bring to India: Should I Travel India With a Laptop, a Tablet or a Smartphone?

1. Smartphone

A camera, a video camera, an iPod, an internet device, a phone and a lot more. Yes, you should definitely bring your smartphone to India.

If you ask me for a recommendation I would suggest a factory unlocked iPhone. I'm an Apple fan so no matter what others say I'll try to persuade you to get an iPhone.

I couldn't imagine traveling India without my iPhone. To know how to use an iPhone in India you can read "How to stay connected with mobile internet while traveling in India."

2. Tablet

With a tablet, you can do pretty much the same thing as with a smartphone (except phone calls) but with a more comfortable screen.

If you want to do lots of reading, especially with pdf files then a tablet is a good choice. Which tablet? I would suggest the iPad of course and I would choose the 64 GB iPad Mini with Retina Display.

3. Kindle Paperwhite

I've read tons of books on my iPhone 4, 5, 5S and 7, and I can still see but my eyes do strain a bit after a while.

For reading books, I think nothing beats the Kindle Paperwhite. The battery last forever, you can read without distractions and direct sunlight is not an issue at all.

Personally, I do not want to carry more gadgets with me so I'll have to stick to my iPhone.

4. Laptop

To write comfortably for longs periods of time, to do things that touch screen devices can't do and to manage media files that can't fit any longer in your smartphone or tablet.

Which laptop? I use a MacBook Air 11 inch since August 2013 and I think it is a gem, best laptop ever. My iPhone and my MacBook Air are my best travel companions.

5. External Hard Drive

To store your music, pictures, and videos. Also for the movies, documentaries, TV shows that you'll probably collect from the travelers that you'll meet on the way.

I've been using a 1.5 TB Toshiba Canvio and so far I've had no problems.

But I can tell you that no matter the brand eventually every external hard drive brake, so make sure you have a back up of your back up.

6. Portable Speakers

For those moments where you just want to take a break and be normal again. They are great to use with your smartphone or your laptop to listen to music and to watch movies.

I have an X-mini but it's quite old now. I replaced my X-mini with the JBL Clip Waterproof Wireless Speaker and I think it's awesome. Super portable, waterproof and it works perfectly.

7. Power Bank (Portable Charger, Portable Battery Pack)

I traveled for years without a portable charger, but once I got one I couldn't believe I ever traveled without one.

I use my power bank especially to keep my phone charged when I'm traveling by bus, train or whenever I'm flying.

And of course, if you are in India, or anywhere in Asia, they are very useful whenever you have to deal with power cuts.

I use a power bank by Cellularline that I found in Germany. It can charge my iPhone 7 about two times. Unfortunately, it's only available in Europe.

If you prefer to get a better brand with higher capacity, then here are the top three power banks that are easy to travel with:

  • Anker PowerCore 20100. Weight: 12.5 oz (354g.) Size: 6.54 x 2.28 x 0.87 in (16.6 x 5.8 x 2.2 cm) It can charge an iPhone 8 almost seven times.
  • RAVPower 22000mAh External Battery Pack. Weight: 14.53 oz (412g.) Size: 6.5 x 2.8 in (16.5 x 7.0). It can charge an iPhone X about 5 times.
  • Anker PowerCore II 20000. Weight: (369 g) (13 oz.) Size: 17 x 6.2 x 2.2 cm (6.4 x 2.7 x 0.9 in) It can charge an iPhone 8 almost 6.5 times.

8. Noise canceling headphones or earphones

On a day to day basis, I like to use the standard iPhone earbuds so that I can also hear my surroundings.

When I'm traveling it is another story though.  Whether I'm on a train, bus or a flight, I like to use earphones (in-ear headphones) to be able to reduce external noise.

I use a cheap pair of SkullCandy, but if you want to take it to the next level you gotta get noise-canceling earphones.  One of my friends swears by them.

She uses the Bose QuietComfort 20 Noise Cancelling Headphones and she says that they have completely changed her travel experience.

Actually, I've been testing them for a couple of hours now, while updating this blog at a noisy cafe.  I must say they are pretty impressive.  I need to upgrade!

Btw, here is a pro tip.

If you like watching movies when traveling by plane make sure that whatever earphones you get they have the standard plug connector.

You can usually connect them directly to the multimedia screen in your flight. Even if the screen has two headphone jacks they will still work.

The headphones airlines provide are so uncomfortable and you can't hear a thing.

What to Pack for a Yoga Retreat or Teacher Training in India

Besides what I've mentioned above here are a few extra things you'll probably need to pack to practice yoga in India, whether you plan to stay at an Indian Ashram, a yoga retreat or for a yoga teacher training course.

1. Yoga Mat

Some ashrams have yoga mats for guests but they can be so dirty and smelly that you won't even feel like putting your feet on them.

You could buy a sticky yoga mat in India but sometimes they are a bit hard to find, especially if you want a good quality yoga mat, so the best option is to bring your own yoga mat from home.

I use a sticky yoga mat, no fancy brands, but I did try once the Jade Yoga Travel Mat - 1/8" (3mm) and I loved it.

It was thinner and lighter than my sticky yoga mat, but firmer and more consistent so my joints and spine felt better supported. If I buy a branded yoga mat in the future this one will definitely be my first choice.

Update Jan 2020.  I did buy a new mat but not the Jade Yoga Travel.  I bought the Manduka Begin Yoga Mat which is lighter and thicker.  You can visit Manduka Begin and Pro Travel Yoga Mat: 2020 Review to learn more about it.

If you like to have more choices these are the most popular yoga mats brands. I'm purposely excluding the "travel" versions cause I think they suck. Way to thin so they don't provide enough support for your knees or back. I recommend something between 3mm and 5mm.

2. Yoga Mat Bags

You'll probably like to have a yoga bag to carry your yoga mat while you walk towards your next class in the streets of Rishikesh or Mysore.

You can find cheap yoga bags in India but if you want something more authentic and of excellent quality you can visit:

3. Yoga Towel/Yoga Rug

For an intense practice like ashtanga vinyasa yoga, you'll need a yoga towel to protect your mat from your sweat and to avoid slipping on it. Believe me, you don't want to slip while doing a jump through or handstand.

The most popular yoga towels:

In Mysore, you can find yoga rugs at Rashinkar which are thicker and heavier than yoga towels. They are located in Gokulam, near the main shala or in the city center at #1640, Near Gandhi square Srivarampet.

4. Hand Towel

You'll also need a hand towel to dry your sweat, or for your teacher to use when he/she needs to adjust your postures.

5. Leggings

For the ladies only, I hope. Lol.

You can normally use leggings for yoga classes with local teachers but ashrams tend to be more conservative and prefer loose clothing.  You should check the dress code or just look at what others are wearing.

My girlfriends recommend for Ashtanga yoga, the Lululemon brand, especially the Lululemon In Movement Tight.  It soft, light and dries quickly.

For travel, they recommend the Lululemon Align Pant.  It is super comfortable.  It can also be used for yoga but it doesn't dry as quick.

You can also visit my friend Melissa Etsy store IlMioYogaShop to check her hand made leggings.

6. Meditation Cushion

If you are serious about meditation or pranayama then you should probably travel with a meditation cushion.

I know, it's not very practical, they take lots of space, but when your meditation time comes you'll be grateful to have a cushion with you.

They are also useful for when you have to sit for lectures during a yoga teachers training course or a yoga retreat.

The only other good option for traveling that I could find was the Mobile Meditator Inflatable Meditation Cushion.

7. Travel Notebook

Journaling is a great way to get to know ourselves, and traveling gives you a great opportunity to do just that, especially when we travel alone.

And if you are on a spiritual journey then with even more reason, there will be lots of things that you'll need to write about.

I use a Moleskine and I really think this is the best notebook you can get. They are a bit expensive but if you believe your thoughts are worth it then you'll love to have a Moleskine with you.

Nowadays I use my Moleskine only for my yogic studies (I couldn't keep accumulating notebooks). For journaling, I use an iOS and Mac app called Day One.

The app is fantastic and I use it for everything: journaling, taking notes, writing quotes, writing my blog drafts, to record my dreams and a lot more.

8. Water Bottle

Every Indian ashram offers purified drinking water so it's a good idea to have a water bottle to refill and to carry with you around.

In this way, you can avoid using plastic bottles which contributes to plastic pollution.   I suggest you look into the Camelbak All Clear Purifier Bottle which includes a UV water purifier.

9. Travel Mug/Thermos

Very handy during winter time in North India. It can get really cold and you probably won't feel like drinking cold water but you still need to keep yourself hydrated.

Also nice to keep your chai (Indian milk tea) warm for a while. Check out the Zojirushi SM-Stainless Steel Travel Mug, 16-Ounce/0.48-Liter

10. Electric Water heater

Also practical when you are traveling during winter time in India and a good companion to your travel mug. You can find cheap water heaters in any local electrical shop, but don't leave them unattended, they can be very dangerous.

11. Passport Size Photos:

I always have a bunch of passport size photos with me. Sometimes you need them to register at an ashram or to register with a local yoga teacher. You will also need them to be able to buy a sim card for your phone and you'll need them to apply for a visa for your next destination.

What to Pack to Stay Fit and Healthy in India

1. Protein Powder/Supplement

If you stay in India for a while sooner or later you will realize that the food that you are eating is not enough, especially if you stay at an Indian ashram where you'll be eating overcooked vegetables and hardly any greens or raws.

I can tell you this by experience, you might progress on your spiritual practices but you'll lose your muscles, vitality, and strength.

Bringing a good protein powder with you is a really good idea, especially if you want to focus on some intense yoga practices like Ashtanga yoga.

Finding good reliable supplements in India is not easy, and if you find good ones they are usually imported from the US, so they are very expensive.

These are some of the most popular vegan protein supplements that you might consider buying:

2. Blender

A blender will make it very easy for you to make your protein shakes, smoothies, soups, and other simple fresh meals.

One of my flatmates in Mysore used to make a great Gazpacho. Hmmm, yummy!

Believe me, this is not uncommon, I have several friends who travel with a blender, mostly hand blenders, but I've also seen countertop blenders.

The best for backpacking I think is a hand blender but it all depends on your needs. These are the top three blenders that I've found online. Beware that you might need a voltage converter to fit the 230 voltage in India. Any damage using a converter will be excluded from the warranty.

3. Foldable Steamer

A blender? A steamer? You must be thinking, "This guy wants me to bring my whole kitchen!" but I promise you, if you stay for at least three months in India you will miss your kitchen, especially if you stay for a long time in one place like I always do.

If you like steamed vegetables then a collapsible/foldable stainless steel vegetable steamer can be super handy. They are light and take not much space.

4. Running Shoes

Most likely you won't be able to find a good place for running (with no traffic and clean fresh air) while traveling in India, but if you like running then you have no choice.

Better to carry your running shoes with you and not use them, than regret not having them for that rare opportunity.

5. Skipping Rope

Maybe you can't run but at least you can jump. A skipping rope is very practical and easy to pack. You can use them almost anywhere and they take little space. Another reason why to bring running/sport shoes.

6. Resistant Bands

Bringing dumbbells with you is not an option but you can certainly pack a resistant band. I know, they are not the same as dumbbells but I have found them indispensable to workout when traveling. 

One of my yoga teachers, a physiotherapist from the US, recommended me the Perform Better Superbands.

Other Items You Might Like to Pack for India

1. Musical Instruments

I travel with a guitar and although it's pain to carry it I love to have it with me whenever I have the opportunity or whenever I am in the mood to play. Fortunately, musical instruments are allowed in Indian ashrams, at least in the ashrams where I've been.

So far I've never had any problem when taking a flight. I have taken many local flights in India and international flights from India to Sri Lanka, Nepal, Cambodia, USA, Europe and I never had to check in my guitar or pay anything extra.

If you don't want to travel with a guitar but still want to take this opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument that it is easy to travel with then here are a few choices:
  • Harmonica: Best musical instrument to travel.
  • Ukelele: Super light and portable. You can find chords for any song online.
  • Indian Flute: Called Bansuri and made of bamboo.
  • Harmonium: Best instrument to learn in India but not easy to travel.

2. Medicine

You might consider bringing something for Delhi Belly (diarrhea), painkillers, fever, antibiotics, and rehydration salts.

Get some advice from your doc about what medication to bring and what immunization shots to take. I've never taken malaria medication. I've spent so much time in India and in nearby countries that it doesn't make sense for me to take malaria pills.

What I Pack to Travel in India

This is what I've been traveling with for the past five years. Like I said, if you want to travel light I can't help you but if you want to have an idea of every single item that you might need to pack then this is the place to be.

My backpack weights about 20 Kg, the daypack probably 5 Kg, and my guitar... I have no idea.


Women have to be more mindful about clothing than men to respect the local culture. Try to keep your shoulders covered, wear loose clothing and no small skirts.

7 t-shirts. I don't like doing laundry every day.
7 underwear
2 Shorts
1 Boardshort/swimming suit. You'll need them in Goa!
2 Trousers
5 pair of socks
1 fleece
1 sweater
2 Termic Underwear. I had to buy them to survive the winter in Rishikesh. It can reach 5 Celsius (41 F)!
1 winter cap
1 scarf
1 Large shawl. Perfect to meditate during wintertime. You can find them anywhere in North India.
1 Sleeping bag
1 Cocoon Silk TravelSheet.  I used it until it completely tore apart. Haven't bother to get a new one.
1 Meditation Cushion
1 Towel

Gadgets and Electronics

1 Factory unlocked iPhone 7
1 MacBook Air 11 inches
1 1.5 TB Toshiba Canvio External Hard Drive
1 X mini Speaker.  I use now the JBL Clip
1 Joby GripTight GorillaPod Stand. I use now a Manfrotto tripod instead.
1 Petzl Tikka Plus 2. Need to get a new one.
1 Hair clipper.
1 Plug adapter with surcharge protection.


1 Pair of flipflops. For the beach
1 Pair of Sandals. To walk in the city.
1 Pair of Running Shoes.
1 Pair of Trekking Boots. I loved my trekking boots but they died in Sri Lanka.


1 Pair of sunglasses
1 Umbrella
1 Yoga Mat
1 Yoga Mat Bag
1 Toiletry bag including toothbrush, toothpaste, razor and lots of other tiny stuff. You can find everything in India.
1 Banana Boat Sport Sunscreen
1 Lipbalm.
1 Acoustic Guitar.  I decided to leave my guitar in Mysore.
2 Moleskine Notebooks
1 Passport, passport size photos, and other personal documents.
1 Skipping rope
1 Elastic Band
1 Travel mug
1 Water bottle

I hope you've found this information useful to know what to pack for India, either if it is for holidays, for a yoga retreat or for an authentic ashram experience.

If you have any friends that are planning a trip to India to visit ashrams, or for a yoga retreat, then please don't hesitate to share this India packing list with them. I'm sure they will appreciate it. Thanks for your support!


  1. very informative ... I will make a checklist out of this...thank you...

  2. Hi Marco great list it has been really useful. I'm heading to india next week and spending a month in Mysore. Do you find 2 pairs of shorts enough for daily yoga practice? I practice ashtanga and find I go through yoga clothes so quickly. I'm trying to work out how many shorts/singlets I shuld take!

    1. Hey, I'm happy to hear that you find this list helpful. Yeah I think two pairs is more than enough, that's what I normally use, but of course underwares is another story. I usually use underneath my shorts one of those boxer swimming shorts so you can easily wash them everyday. They dry very quick. Some guys just practice in them but I prefer using shorts on top.

    2. Thanks Marco I might go out an by myself a fair of those swimmer shorts! Btw I too travel with a guitar. I recently bought a baby taylor. It's quite small and sounds surpringly good! ;)

  3. This is some of the best advice I've read. Your blog has been really helpful helping me decide what to do and where to go... abd of course what to take ;) cheers !

    1. Thank you Franco! I'm glad you've found it helpful 😊🙏

  4. Espectacular Guía orientativa! Muchas Gracias Marco!!!

  5. Replies
    1. Sophie!!! YES! That was you! 😆 I miss your gazpacho

  6. Many my friends consistently recommend Grape seed Extract during travels in India. Do you?

    1. Hi Tehre. Oh, I had never heard about it. For what purpose do your friends recommend it? From what I read online it seems that it can be helpful against parasites, yeast and bacteria. I guess it can be a good idea to have. Oregano oil, garlic, castor oil and papaya seeds are used for the same purposes. Garlic you can find everywhere. Papaya seeds a bit more difficult. From personal experience I can also recommend oregano oil. It is ridiculous strong so you gotta be careful how you use it.

  7. Really good and informative for all travellers to India as well as Asia.It seems to be almost everything you need .The more needed is related to Trains ,Interstate Bus tickets ,
    If you permit Iam happy to share this in our web[page as well as to our Guest.

  8. most of the links are not working

    1. Thanks for letting me know. It's on my to-do list 😉