Wednesday, June 24, 2015

What to Pack for Yoga in India [Packing List for Yogis]

What to pack to practice yoga in India TTC

(Updated 2024) Whether you only want to travel or also practice yoga in India, this India packing list is for you. It includes what to pack (and wear) for a yoga retreat, for an ashram experience, or for a yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, Goa, Mysore, Dharamshala, 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 at an Indian company.

I returned in 2010 to do my first yoga teacher training.  I stayed for another year, and since then I've been visiting India almost every year. I like to stay at Indian ashrams and 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 India 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 22 kgs (today in 2024 is about 17 kgs), 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 packing list very helpful.

To make it easy for you, I've included links to (they'll redirect to your nearest Amazon store via Geniuslink). I did exhaustive research to find the best travel items in each category, or at least the best sellers (minimum 4 stars).

These are Amazon affiliate 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 the 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 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, scarves, 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 in Rishikesh is usually not a problem though.

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

I recommend you 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 in May, to places like Dharamshala, to avoid the extreme heat in Rishikesh.  

What to wear in Mysore

Mysore, in the south of India, has pleasant weather almost all year long, but it can be a bit dry.

Between December and February, it can get 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 shorts and 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 a beautiful calm sea.  Late at night, between December and February, you might need a light sweater on rare occasions.

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 gets 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), although that's slowly changing over time.

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 bikinis on 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 forgiving 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 temples, although some temples in Kerala demand that men remove their shirts.  Go figure. 

What to Wear for Yoga in India

Ashrams in Rishikesh, and in other places around India, might ask both, men and women, to dress in conservative clothing during their yoga classes.  That means to wear loose pants and T-shirts, even during summer (no tops or leggings).

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 for women to wear leggings and tops to practice Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga.   You'll be sweating a lot so that is the most comfortable.  Normally you should wear them only during class, although nowadays (in 2024) it's common to see girls wearing their leggings everywhere all day long.

Yoga retreats, especially in the south of India, will usually be more flexible and allow you to wear comfortable clothing (shorts and tops).  In places like Kerala or Goa, the heat can be unbearable. 

India Packing List: Must-Have Travel Items for India

This packing list includes all the must-have travel items for India, in my opinion.  It is also valid if you are going to visit a yoga retreat or if you are planning to join a yoga teacher training course.

1. Passport and visa copies

I know, you are not going to forget your passport, but I do recommend having 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

I don't recommend hiking backpacks that have only a single opening on top.  Nothing can be more unpractical for backpacking. The best is a travel bag that has a large suitcase-type opening to easily access all your stuff. 

The size will depend on how long you'll be traveling for and also on what regions you'll be visiting.  Remember that winter clothes take up lots of space, but you'll need those only if you will be traveling in the north of India.

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 easier to pack every time you need to change locations.  If you are traveling at least for a month I suggest anything between 50 and 70 liters.

Here are some pretty awesome options I've found on

I used for about 10 years a 70-liter Quechua backpack from Decathlon (I live a nomadic lifestyle, which means that I carry with me pretty much everything I own).  Today I'm using a 60-liter Forclaz backpack from Decathlon.  It's perfect but I do miss those 10 liters.

3. Daypack

This is a small backpack, about 30 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.

I'm currently using this Adidas Originals Energy backpack and I absolutely love it.  Couldn't find the same color as mine on Amazon though.   

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 earplugs. 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 on

7. Mosquito repellent

You might be able to survive in India without a mosquito net but not without 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.

Update.  I can't use Odomos anymore.  I've become allergic to the smell, even if I use it only on my legs.  So now I recommend you bring your own mosquito repellent if possible.

8. Headlamp

With the frequent power cuts in India, a head torch/headlamp is indispensable. You could use your smartphone but a headlamp allows 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 to disturb others.

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

I especially like the Petzl Tikka 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 used to always travel with a travel sheet/liner. They are very handy when traveling by night train or bus.  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.  It is much easier to clean the travel sheet than the sleeping bag.

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 on 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 you'll most likely get some blankets wherever you stay to keep you warm.

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

Update.  I stopped traveling with a sleeping bag mainly because nowadays I spend most of my time in the South of India. 

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, Havaianas flip flops or Crocs. You'll need them for sure, much easier to remove than shoes.

12. UV Light Water Purifiers or Water Filter Bottles

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 to the plastic pollution which is a serious issue in India, then you can get a UV Light Water Purifier.

These UV 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?  But they are not cheap.  Here are some of the most popular on

Another more economical option is to get a water bottle with a filter like the Brita Insulated Filtered Water Bottle or the LifeStraw Go Series Water Filter Bottle.  Not as effective but they do the job. I have an old version of the LifeStraw but I got tired of having to clean the filter after every use. 

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 times.

You can order on Amazon 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 driver's 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 trouble with the police I suggest you bring an international driver's 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 trips then you should get a travel lock and chain. You can use it to lock your backpack under your seat.

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 doesn'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 coming from the US or Canada you could get this adapter by Travel Ready, but if you are coming from somewhere in Europe you'll need something like the Tessan 3 in 1.

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.

A friend I met at Kopan Monastery in Kathmandu during a Buddhist meditation retreat 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 frequently the can opener and the bottle opener.  Sometimes I also use it to tighten or loosen a screw.  Such a handy tool!

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

19. Menstrual Cup

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

  • unlike tampons, which need 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 travel, 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 preferred condom brand with you, especially if you have some particular requirements, like latex-free.

It will be 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 Travel Gadgets to Pack for India

Choosing the right tech accessories for your travels might be a bit difficult so I wrote a more in-depth article to help you decide which travel 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 to 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."

Update:  believe it or not the first time I published this article, back in 2015, a lot of people were afraid of traveling with their smartphones.  They were still a novelty at that time.  When they would see my iPhone they regretted not having brought theirs.  Lol.  That's why I wrote this.  

2. Tablet

With a tablet, you can do pretty much the same thing as with a smartphone 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.

3. Kindle Paperwhite

I've read tons of books on my iPhone 4, 5, 5S,  7, and 13 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 (if you are in the EU visit Kindle Paperwhite 16GB). The battery lasts 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 long 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 have used 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.

Update.  In 2023 I upgraded to the MacBook Air M2.  It was about time.  It's amazing!

5. External Hard Drive

To store your music, pictures, and videos. Also for the movies, documentaries, and 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 breaks, so make sure you have a backup of your backup.

Update 2024: Very different times back then.  No one collects music, films, or TV shows anymore.  Everything can be easily streamed online.  So the only reason you'll need an external hard drive these days is if you shoot a lot of videos or high-resolution photos.  In that case, I would recommend the SanDisk 2 TB.  It's super portable and long-lasting.

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 or 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'm still using a small 5000mAh power bank by Cellularline that I found in Berlin years ago. It was able to charge my iPhone 7 twice, but only about once my newer iPhone 13. Of course, the newer power banks by Cellularline are much better.  Unfortunately, they are only available in Europe.

But here are some of the most popular power banks available worldwide:

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!

Update.  Nowadays I travel with Apple AirPods Pro (for EU visit Airpods Pro).  They are perfect! Expensive but totally worth it if you own Apple devices.  I use them every single day.  Actually, as soon as I got them I stopped using wired earbuds, except for when I'm editing videos or watching a movie on a flight. 

Btw, here is a pro tip.

If you like watching movies when traveling by plane make sure that you have some wired earphones with you, with the standard plug connector.

You can usually connect them directly to the multimedia screen on 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 all the travel items I've mentioned above here are a few extra items 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.

Update Feb 2024.  I'm still using the Manduka Begin Yoga Mat but I wouldn't recommend it.  It's light and firm, but the texture is awful and it gets dirty easily.

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 too 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

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's 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.

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 teacher's 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 know yourself, and traveling gives you a great opportunity to do just that, especially when you 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.

Update 2024:  I don't use a Moleskine anymore.  All my Moleskine notebooks got damaged because of the heat and humidity.  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, recording 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 LARQ Bottle which includes a UV water purifier.

9. Travel Mug/Thermos

Very handy during wintertime 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 in your spiritual practices but you might also lose your muscles, vitality, and strength.

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

However, when I'm in India I usually order from the Urban Platter Pea Protein Powder.

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. 

Here are some of the best blenders I've found on Beware that you might need a voltage converter to fit the 230 voltage in India (unless you buy it in the EU). Any damage using a converter will be excluded from the warranty.

3. Running Shoes

It can be difficult 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.

4. 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.

5. 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 full-size acoustic guitar and although it's pain to carry it I love to have it with me for 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 with.
Update 2024:  I stopped traveling with my acoustic guitar.  I got tired of the hassle.  But I recently bought the Donner Hush-X Travel Electric Guitar.  It's an amazing guitar and incredibly portable.  I even published a YouTube video review to talk about it.  

2. Medicine

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

Get some advice from your doctor 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 weighs about 17 kg, the daypack is probably 5 kg, and my guitar is about 3.5 kg.


7 t-shirts. I don't like doing laundry every day.
7 underwear
2 Shorts
1 Boardshort/swimming suit. I use them for surfing in Varkala
1 Trousers
5 pairs 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 for meditating 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 bothered to get a new one.
1 Meditation Cushion
1 Towel

Gadgets and Electronics

1 Factory unlocked iPhone 13
1 MacBook Air M2 13 inches
1 2 TB SanDisk SSD Drive
1 X mini SpeakerI use now the JBL Clip.  My JBL got stollen a couple of years ago.  Now I use the SparkGo as an electric guitar amplifier and Bluetooth speaker
1 Joby GripTight GorillaPod Stand. I use now a Manfrotto tripod instead.
1 Petzl Tikka Plus 2. Now I use only my iPhone torch.  I haven't visited an ashram in a while.
1 Hair clipper.
1 Plug adapter with surcharge protection.


1 Pair of flip-flops
1 Pair of Sandals. To walk in the city.
1 Pair of running/hiking shoes.  I love my Lems shoes.  
1 Pair of Trekking Boots. I loved my trekking boots but they died years ago 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.
3 Sunscreen bottles.  Now I spend a lot of time by the beach surfing.
1 Lipbalm.
1 Acoustic Guitar.  I decided to leave my guitar in Mysore.
1 Travel electric guitar
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 India packing list useful to know what to bring to India, whether it is for holidays, for a yoga retreat, for a yoga teacher training course, 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 😉