I learned a lot from packing too many unnecessary items on journeys in the past. Having to carry an extremely heavy backpack never feels comfortable and the more you take with you, the higher the risk of losing something. It will make your trip a lot easier if you know what essentials to bring with you.
That’s why a good packing list with the right essentials for your trip can be useful.
This article will help you prepare for a three-to-four week visit to Rajasthan and Delhi in India. The guidelines in this article are based on my own experiences. Either way, if you’re going to Rajasthan, Delhi or any other part of India, this article will help you out with deciding what essentials to take with you. It will also point out what items you should not bring to India.
Follow this packing list with care to make sure you will have a joyful visit to India.
Table of contents
- What to pack for Rajasthan and Delhi? (Packing Essentials)
- What clothes you need to pack for Rajasthan and Delhi
- My full packing list for Rajasthan and Delhi in India
- What not to bring to India
- Like This Travel Guide about India? Pin it!
What to pack for Rajasthan and Delhi? (Packing Essentials)
The travel gear that I recommend in this article will help you out with securing a smooth trip as packing only the essentials will save you a lot of weight and hassle. Remember that India is a large country and you’ll often travel long distances when you hop from one place to another. Bringing too much gear will make your journey a lot more uncomfortable. It will exhaust you. Optimizing your travel gear will make your travel experience more convenient and secure. Keep in mind that traveling to India has either pros and cons.
You’ll need a visa to enter India
Getting a visa to India isn’t difficult because you can apply for it online. All you have to do is go to https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/index.html and fill in the form pages for the e-visa tourist visa application. Don’t go to any other websites to book your India visa because they will ask a higher service fee (scam) on top of the standard visa application fee. A visa application will be reviewed within 72 hours. You will need a scan of your passport page and a colored digital recent photo of you facing to the front with a white background. Filling in the forms will take you about 30-45 minutes. Make sure you double check the fields you fill in because if you make a mistake, there is a chance you’ll have to pay the application fee again for a second application.
Ensure travel insurance for India
Expect unforeseen things to happen when you travel to India. Ensuring you’re backed up by good travel insurance will make a world of difference. I recommend World Nomads as travel insurance, and so does Lonely planet. A World Nomads insurance for India will arrange financial aid when you’re in an emergency or when your stuff gets stolen on your trip to India. Ending up paying hospitalization costs or having to replace all your gear by yourself will be a lot more expensive. They also cover an return plane ticket when you have to get home for an unforeseen emergency.
A good backpack is your best buddy
When in India, you’ll need a backpack that is convenient. It should have many compartments so you can easily separate important items like your passport, money or your lonely planet. A good backpack is also very strong and durable so it can remain your backpack for at least a few years. Always make sure you got a rain cover for it because when it’s monsoon in India, everything will get wet. A rain cover helps you to protect your stuff. Also, think well about how much travel gear you are planning on taking with you because I recommend you not to take too much stuff so you can bring a 30l – 35l backpack. It’s smaller, but it will save you a lot of burden and annoyance when you are hopping off and on trains, exploring cities and the desert in Rajasthan.
First-aid, medication, and vaccines
Don’t bring too many first-aid items. Only take what’s necessary:
Small first aid kit with bandages: essential when you get bruised or get cut by tripping over a cow or chicken.
Immodium: very essential when your body tells you “you ate something bad yesterday”.
Disinfecting balm for small wounds: small wounds can infect and you might get small wounds that need to heal quickly. There is a lot of dust in Rajasthan and Delhi. This balm will help small wounds to heal in no time.
A guidebook for Rajasthan and Delhi in India
A good guidebook on the road can inform you well about certain locations. There are many guidebooks about Rajasthan and Delhi in India, but personally, I’d recommend the Lonely Planet guidebook. Get to know where good restaurants are, what the hot spots are in a city and where to find decent accommodation. If you are looking for India tips from someone who has lived in India for many years, I’d recommend the India Ebook by Hippie in Heels.
Best camera equipment for India
No trip is complete without a good camera for capturing your memories. You need a camera that’s not to heavy and which you can use to point and shoot whenever you see an opportunity for a good photo. Bringing a DSLR is an option you have, but it’s a bit heavy and graceless to grab and shoot. I recommend a good point and shoot camera.
Best books for travel in India
In India, you will have plenty of time to read as travel by train is a cheap and decent way to get around. Sitting on a train for many hours will give you a good opportunity to read. Here are a couple of good books about travel that I recommend:
Extra tip: Get a sim card on arrival at the airport
As you probably have a smartphone and you probably will take it with you on your holiday, you should know that you can get a sim card in India with good 4g coverage, texts, and calls. The sim card and plan is cheap and you’ll only need a copy of your passport and 2 recent colored photographs of yourself. Best sim card providers in India are Airtel and Vodaphone.
What clothes you need to pack for Rajasthan and Delhi
When you travel through India, the weather and climate will depend a lot on where you are and when. There are both wet and dry seasons, some scorching hot in the summer and some cold in the night. In India, there are either dry desert areas, wet jungle/forest regions, icy Himalayan mountains or regions with something in between. Want to spend time at the beach? Visiting Goa is a good option then. Don’t forget to bring your swimming gear to Goa. And, if you plan on visiting big cities or rural areas in India, you need to wear something that covers up your knees and shoulders.
In Rajasthan, you’ll averagely find a dry desert climate all year long (especially in Jaisalmer and Bikaner). There is rain during the monsoon period in southern to eastern parts of Rajasthan. Whilst Rajasthan can be very hot during the daytime, you need to take into account that you’ll have to cover yourself up. In Asia, this is a common thing to do in temples. In India, you pretty much have to do this anywhere (except if you are in Goa).
These types of clothing are what you need to take with you to Rajasthan, Delhi:
What you should wear in India as a woman
The rule of long sleeves and long skirts or pants can easily be bypassed by being creative with what you wear. Always bring (or buy a local) thin scarf with you. With a scarf to cover you up, you can easily wear a top or t-shirt. This tip is a blessing as Rajasthan can be scorching hot. Use the scarf as well to protect your face from dust or too much sunlight.
Tip: only take essential clothing with you for 1-2 weeks. The rest you can buy locally. You can ask for a laundry service in your accommodation.
What you should wear in India as a man
In Rajasthan, you will blend in better with the local folks if you wear long pants or knee-covering shorts. Wearing shorts is not a disaster, but considering the fact that I never saw an Indian man with shorts on the streets, you’ll feel better when you adapt your clothing to local standards. T-shirts are ok to wear. Only in temples do make sure you wear a long sleeved shirt.
Tip: don’t bring heavy shoes to India. One pair of flip-flops or sandals and 1 comfy-casual pare of shoes will do.
My full packing list for Rajasthan and Delhi in India
- 30l backpack: Take a backpack with you that’s as you really need. I tried out several backpacks and I discovered that a 30l backpack is large enough for three to four weeks of travel.
- 1 small backpack: A small (10l) foldable backpack is a very convenient bag because you can fold it up and it makes a great hand luggage bag on a flight. It’s also a good half-daypack: it’s perfect for a light sweater, your money, a camera, road maps snacks and a small bottle of water. If you don’t need the small backpack, just fold it up and tuck it in your main backpack.
- A money belt: I always take one of there belt bags with me. It’s especially useful in urban regions or when you go bargain shopping in the bazaars of Rajasthan. You can wear this belt bag underneath your shirt and no one will notice it. It’s especially useful when there is a risk of pickpocketing. Tip: wear most of your money and passport in a belt like this and put 20$ worth of cash in your wallet. If you lose your wallet, you’ll only lose 20$ in this way.
- A small toilet bag: keeping your toiletry stuff separate from your other gear is practical and more hygienic.
Taking clothing with you for 7-10 days should be plenty enough if you plan on staying in hostels or hotels. Most of these places have a laundry service, so you can just get your clothes washed there. In this way, you’ll save yourself a lot of carrying weight. Imagine having to drag dirty clothes with you from a month of travel.
- Three t-shirts: Take a couple of t-shirts or tops with you. Either sleep in it or wear it during the daytime. For women: if you wear a top, cover your shoulders with a thin scarf.
- Two long sleeved shirts: For visiting temples, big cities and rural areas. You’ll blend in more appropriately this way.
- Two long trousers: No jeans. Just bring a pair of long thin trousers that are comfy to wear.
- Four pairs of socks: Only four pairs? Yes, as you’ll be wearing flipflops or sandals most of the time, you won’t be wearing socks all the time. Unless you’re going for the white socks and sandals fashion, which I don’t recommend in India.
- Seven pairs of underwear: I always take week’s worth of underwear and get it washed by the laundry service of my hotel or hostel.
- One swimming shorts: Finding a pool in a desert area feels like heaven. Bringing swimming shorts will be useful when you take a fresh dive in one of the large hotel pools. Tip: you don’t always have to stay in the hotel. A small fee is enough just for a swim in the hotel pool.
- A smartphone: make sure it has a good camera for quick snaps. Good battery life is also useful. Buy a local Indian sim card to enjoy 4g, which is very useful if you want to have a good internet connection.
- A Camera: best is to bring a point-and-shoot camera that doesn’t take a lot of space in your bag. A DLSR is also an option if you don’t mind the carry weight.
- Phone & Camera charger: You’ll need to charge the battery of your equipment. Want to protect your charger?
- SD card: taking a lot of pictures asks for memory. A fast SD card with a good amount of capacity.
- A power bank: Not a must, but definitely useful.
- A plug adapter: India probably has different sockets than your home country has. One or two plug adapters will do.
- Toothbrush: Bring one toothbrush with you to keep your teeth healthy.
- A bar of soap: wrap a bar of soap in a rag and put it in your toilet bag.
- Shaving razors: for shaving necessities.
- Two small bathing towels: Don’t take a very large bathing towel, because it will take up a lot of space in your travel bag. One or two thin, but quality bathing towels will do.
Other Useful Travel Gear
- Rain poncho: A plastic, foldable rain poncho will be very useful in the monsoon rain because it will keep you and your gear dry.
- Sunscreen and sunglasses: Get ready for a lot of sunlight and bring a small bottle of sunscreen and your sunglasses. It might not always be sunny, but just in case.
- Two copies of your passport and passport photos: For safety reasons and necessary for buying a local sim card.
- A brass lock with a key: for the lockers and for keeping your backpack safe.
- A decent tripod for your camera: here’s a good guide on travel tripods.
- A chain lock: when you travel by train, attach your backpack to the bars of your seat to secure your bag and belongings.
- A small notebook with a pencil: Not necessary, but you might want to make some notes or drawings
- A few plastic bags (or Ziploc bags): Useful to keep your stuff organized, clean and dry.
- Earplugs and a sleeping mask: Sleeping in a large Indian city or on a plane can be so much more comfortable with proper earplugs and a sleeping mask.
- A hammock: for when you are planning on staying somewhere for a while and you want to relax. Get one here. Or here (Dutch site).
- Toilet paper: bring at least one roll of toilet paper.
- Books to read: When you travel long distances in the train, a good book can be your best buddy.
- Sanitizing wipes: for cleaning your hands and face.
What not to bring to India
- Don’t bring too many clothes: you can use the laundry service to wash your clothes in hotels or hostels. Also, you can buy cheap clothes in India if you didn’t bring enough clothes with you.
- Don’t bring large bathing towels: large bathing towels are heavy and take a lot of space in your backpack
- Don’t bring too much cash of your own currency: There are plenty of ATM’s where you can get cash safely. Bringing too much cash has a risk to it. You might lose it or it might get stolen.
- Don’t take too many valuables with you: Only take with you what you can miss. For instance, don’t take a laptop with you. And if you do take valuables with you. Make sure they are safely stored all the time.
- Don’t take too many books with you: Don’t take hardcover books with you and don’t take too many of them. Two travel-sized books will do.
- Don’t bring unnecessary items you know you won’t need: Think well about you will need and what you won’t need. Don’t overpack yourself with redundant items.
- Don’t take your best shoes with you: only take flipflops/sandals with you and one pair you wouldn’t mind losing.
- Don’t overpack yourself with medications and toiletries: Think well about what medicines and toiletries you take with you. Keep in mind that toothpaste, shampoo, soap etc is available everywhere in India.
- Don’t bring more than one set of warm clothes: because deserts have such little water vapor in the air it’s harder to maintain heat or cold. At night, the sun no longer heats the desert sand and the heat from the daytime doesn’t stay. This is why some deserts can get cold at night. So bring one set of warm clothes, but really don’t overpack yourself with it.