Get Ready, Get Set, Start Packing! (New and Improved Packing List)
India Fall 2010 Packing List
He who would travel happily must travel light. - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Lugging a heavy pack around for the entire time we are in India can be extremely tiresome for you, and for the rest of the group. There will be plenty of times when we'll be piling into a train or bus and we don't want to end up like this. Since you will be responsible for carrying your own luggage, seriously challenge yourself to pack light. An old traveler's trick is to lie out everything you think you need, then pack half of it and return the rest to your closet. Then, carry your bag around your house for 15 minutes to make sure you are able to easily carry it by yourself. If not, take some more items out! Remember, you will be able to purchase anything you forget in India.
A NOTE ON DRESS: Since we will be visitors in India, we strive to be respectful of our hosts. This means that the clothing and the way we dress will probably be different than what we are used to at home. Indian and Tibetan cultures are more modest than that of the US and showing ones shoulders, legs, and cleavage is considered extremely inappropriate and provocative. Also, in India, it is valued to look clean, put together, and respectable. By dressing in accordance with the local culture, it conveys to others "I understand I am not in my own country, I did my homework and learned about the cultural norms in India, and I respect them."
So, when packing please do not bring tank tops, sleeveless shirts, pants that come too high above your ankle (i.e. shorts, short skirts, mid calf capris), low-cut shirts, T-shirts sporting inappropriate phrases, cut-off jeans, clothing with rips or holes, tight fitting clothing, etc.
By dressing in loose fitting clothing that covers your legs and shoulders, you are being respectful to the local culture as well as protecting your safety as inappropriate clothes draw more attention to you. In addition, you are protecting your skin from the sun and mosquitoes. And, loose fitting clothing is a lot more comfortable in the heat than tight clothes!
DON'T FORGET: Any of the cold weather clothing and gear on the packing list. Your trek in the Himalaya will require appropriate protection against cold weather.
ONE LAST NOTE: We will have an opportunity to go shopping for Indian clothes shortly after arriving into the country. This clothing is lightweight and good for the hot Indian plains. Also, there will be opportunities to do "self-service" laundry where we'll be staying.
- Internal Frame Backpack: Your main "suitcase" should be comfortable, durable, and as light as possible. You do not need to buy an expensive new backpack, just get or borrow one that is comfortable and a good fit for you. Make sure it is easy for you to carry, as you are responsible for your luggage.
- Daypack: A small backpack for daily use. This should also be your carry-on bag.
- Duffel Bag: While you'll want to be able to fit all of your things in a backpack and daypack, an extra duffel can be handy for the trip back to the U.S. This bag should be nylon and durable.
- Ziploc Bags: Like stuff sacks, these can be invaluable for keeping things organized and dry.
- Plastic Bags: This is good for wet and/or dirty clothes.
IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS AND MONEY
- Passport: Valid for at least 6 months from the beginning of your program.
- Visa: Valid 6 month multiple entry visa.
- Lost Passport Kit: Two passport sized photos, one copy of birth certificate, one copy of your passport, and one copy of your visa. Make sure this is stored apart from you passport!
- Spending Money: This of course depends a great deal on your personal spending/shopping habits. In our experience, some participants spend less than $100 of personal money during an entire semester, while others spend over $1,000. We suggest bringing at least $500 in American Express traveler's cheques, in a mix of $20 and $50 denominations. ATM cards can be used in some of our destinations though the machines are not as reliable as they are in the US and they will probably charge you a big fee to use. Also, "Cash Gift Cards" (available at some banks and through American Express) do not always work at ATMs or money changers.
- New Delhi Airport Development Fee: You are also responsible for paying a 1,300 rupee ($28USD) New Delhi Airport Development Fee upon leaving India. This fee is not covered in the cost of your airplane ticket.
- Money Belt: A very important item to wear daily, under your clothes, safely hiding your passport, money, etc.
- Sleeping Bag: Sleeping bags should be "mummy" style and have a temperature rating between -10 and 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Sleeping Pad: Much heat is lost through the ground, and a good insulating layer between the bag and the ground is important.
- 2 Water Bottles: Please bring two, one-quart, metal or plastic bottles. Sigg and Nalgene bottles can be found at local outdoor gear shops. You can look into getting a Katadyn Exstream XR water bottle as it has a water filter built into it. It's come in very handy when filtered water is not easily accessible.
- Head Lamp and batteries: Flashlights are okay, but headlamps are more convenient.
- Alarm Clock/Watch: Travel-size, to make sure you are up on time!
- Towel: Small and light beach towel size (and ideally fast-drying).
- Down Jacket: This will keep you warm on the trek. Please do not just bring a down vest. You need a jacket.
- Outer Shell: Water-proof or gore-tex, ideally light-weight and breathable.
- Sweater/Fleece jacket
- Three T-shirts: In good shape, but prepared for wear and tear.
- Nice shirt: For meetings and special occasions.
- Two Pairs of Pants: Ideally light weight. If you get cold easily, you might want to pack one warm pair and one light weight pair.
- One Pair of Jeans: A comfortable pair.
- Thermal Underwear: One top and one bottom. You will be thankful you have this on the trek.
- Gloves & Warm Hat
- Five Pairs of Socks: Make sure at least two are good hiking socks.
- Five Pairs of Underwear: Plus bras for females (at least one should be a sports bra).
- Modest bathing suit: One-piece for females.
- Sleepwear: Ideally, T-shirt/shorts can double for this. Minimize extra weight!
- Skirt/Dress: Ankle-length skirt, Dress with long sleeves. This is a good idea for women, though we will have opportunities to purchase traditional clothing in Asia.
- Hiking Boots: Please have them well worn in before we meet for orientation. You will be happy when there are no blisters on your feet when you are trekking! We recommend something fairly rigid, with good ankle support.
- Comfortable Walking Shoes or Sneakers: Durable and comfortable, for daily wear.
- Sandals, Flip-flops, or Crocs: Good for every day use in hot weather.
- Visor/Sunhat: For sun protection.
Please bring just the basics! Do not bring hair driers, hot irons, etc. All toiletries are available in India, so you do not need to bring extra large bottles! Any toiletry items that you would like to bring in your carry-on luggage need to be 3oz or less and need to be stored in a quart-sized clear plastic bag.
- Toothbrush & paste
- Hair brush/Comb
- Lip Protection
- Sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher)
- Glasses/Contacts/Contact Solution: Bring extra pairs of glasses and contact lenses.
- Purell: A small bottle of anti-bacterial hand gel or anti-bacterial hand-wipes.
- Insect Repellent (non-aerosol)
- Pads/Tampons: These may be difficult to find in India so bring enough for the duration of the program.
- Prescription Medications: Make sure to keep any medications or vitamins in their original containers and bring enough for the entire duration of your program. Also, bring a paper copy of your prescription from your doctor in case you lose your medication. Travel with all essential medications in your carry-on luggage.
- Other Medicine: While we will have an entire first aid kit, please bring the medication you normally use for minor ailments like body aches and upset stomachs.
- Probiotic Supplement: This can help keep your stomach and digestive tract strong and healthy. Probiotics are easily found at health food stores.
- Book: Ideally about the places we will visit (we can swap around to minimize weight). Be sure to look at Global LAB's library list on the blog to see what we already have in Delhi.
- Photos: Pull together a small book of photos to share with fellow participants and your homestay family. The photos can show the area that you are from and people who are important in your life.
- Camera, Extra Film, and Charger : Film is widely available in Asia. You should bring an extra camera battery and memory card if using a digital camera. Remember to pack your camera charger. You can also bring your Camera USB Cord - This will allow you to plug your camera into a computer to post pictures onto the blog.
- Homestay Family Gifts: Please bring a small gift from home for your homestay families (3 in total) as a small token of gratitude. Something that has a connection to your own country, culture, city, town, and/or neighborhood is always appreciated (i.e. a coffee table book of your home town, a small calendar with something significant to you on it, your favorite game, a picture or drawing that you made, etc.)
- Electrical Converter and Adapter
Electrical Converter - The electricity in India is 220-240 volts while the United States uses 110-120 volts of electricity. If you try to plug an American appliance into an outlet of a different voltage, you may destroy the appliance and cause yourself injury. Check your appliances (i.e. camera charger) to make sure it is dual voltage, which means it will work on 220-240 volts without a converter. If the symbol 110/220 is present on the device then it has dual voltage capabilities. If it does not, then you will need to purchase a converter to change the 220-240 volt electricity into 110-120 volt electricity in order to use your US device in India.
Electrical Adapter - You will need to bring an adapter so that you can plug your US appliance into the outlets in India. American appliances have two flat parallel prongs whereas the outlets in India are mostly for two round prongs.
They sell combination voltage converter and plug adapter as well as an all-around adapter plug set (to allow you to use any type of outlets). For more information, please check the Electricity Around the World Website: Click Here
- Bandana: These can serve multiple purposes while traveling.
- Duct Tape: Wrap a bunch around your water bottles and pull it off as you need it.
- Umbrella: A lightweight, travel umbrella can serve you well in rain or shine.
- Playing Cards: Just for fun!
- Swiss Army Knife: Handy to have for all sorts of little tasks and repairs while traveling. Pack this in your checked luggage, not in your carry-on bag.
- Stuff Sacks: These are lightweight and compact sacks bring order to your packing as they allow you to separate your belongings (i.e. clothes, food, toiletries).
- Ear Plugs: These help you sleep on long flights and bus rides, and if your roommate has a tendency to snore or talk in her/his sleep!
PLEASE LEAVE CELL PHONES AND LAPTOPS AT HOME: You can make calls from phone shops using your spending money and can access the Internet from Internet cafes where the computers are provided. Program Leaders will have phones, students will not need to have their own phones and they just pull individuals away from the shared cultural experience.
A NOTE ABOUT WATER: A water filter is not needed. While tap water in India is not drinkable, we will always have access to filtered and/or boiled water.
ONE LAST THING TO PACK: There's one more crucial element that you need to bring aside from what's on the packing list: AN OPEN MIND. You will take part in new and different experiences every step of the way, many of which may take you outside of your comfort zone. Having an open mind is essential to making this experience all that it can be for yourself and the group as a whole.