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February 1, 2009

Packing and Equipment

First, choose a small suitcase or backpacking pack as your main container - 21" or 22" inch suitcase or a backpack that can hold 3000 - 3500 ccm. We will be extremely mobile during our trip and you'll want to be able to unpack and repack quickly. Bring a duffel bag (empty) that can be used to check items on the flight back to the U.S.

Lugging a heavy pack or suitcase around for the entire time we are in India can be extremely tiresome for you, and for the rest of the group. We can find anything you might need in India, and you’ll also want room to pack gifts to take back to the U.S. Seriously challenge yourself to pack light, and lighter still…you definitely will not regret it!


MOST IMPORTANTLY: We strive to be model visitors and therefore ask that everyone bring clothing that is lightweight and durable, but that also covers the body well, and looks respectable. Tie-dyed T-shirts, T-shirts sporting inappropriate phrases, cut-off jeans, clothing with rips or holes, tight-fitting shirts and/or leggings, and tank tops are inappropriate as they show disrespect for local cultures.

BAGS
Small Suitcase or Small internal-frame pack – Your main “suitcase” should be comfortable, durable, and as light as possible.
Small Daypack or "over the shoulder" Bag – A book-bag to use for daily excursions.
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 – Gallon sized - Just a few, these have multiple purposes.


GEAR
Passport – Valid for at least 6 months from the beginning of your program.
Money Belt – A very important item to wear daily, under your clothes, safely hiding your passport, money, etc.
Sleeping Bag – Sleeping bags should be able to pack down very small - temperature rating can be any.
Water Bottle – Please bring two, one-quart, plastic. Nalgene bottles can be found at local outdoor gear shops.
Head Lamp – Flashlights are okay, but headlamps are more convenient.
Alarm Clock/Watch – Travel-size, to catch early buses and trains and be on time for class.

CLOTHING
Outer Shell – Jacket. Water-proof or gore-tex, ideally light-weight and packable - Rain comes sometimes to McLeod Ganj.
Sweater/Fleece jacket
T-shirts – 2, in excellent shape, but prepared for wear and tear.
Nice shirts – 2, for meetings and special occasions.
Pants – 2 - One ideally light weight for walking and hiking, and one appropriate for guest speakers.
Gloves & Warm Hat
Socks & Underwear – 4 pairs each.
Sleepwear – Ideally, T-shirt/shorts can double for this. Minimize extra weight!
Skirt/Dress – Ankle-length skirt, Dress with long sleeves. Shorter skirts and dresses can only be worn with long pants underneath.
Walking Shoes/Sneakers – You won't need proper hiking boots, just shoes you will be very comfortable walking in. They should be easy to take off and put on and durable.
Visor/Sunhat
Sunglasses

TOILETRIES (Just the basics! No hair driers, irons, etc.)
Toothbrush & paste
Hair brush/Comb
Shampoo
Chapstick
Sunscreen
Towel – Small and light (and ideally fast-drying).
Medications – That you take regularly. Keep pills in original containers to avoid head-aches with Customs. Global LAB will carry a separate, comprehensive first aid bag.
Glasses/Contacts/Contact Solution – if you wear them. (Extra pair of glasses is a good idea).

OTHERS
Digital Camera – You should bring an extra camera battery and memory card. If you are shooting film, extra is widely available in Asia.
Notebook/Journal
Pen/Pencil
Book – Bring your two books for Mrs. Kasevich's World Religions course and anything else of interest from the reading list.
Gifts – A few light items to share with your homestay families.(Something that shows what your life is like in the U.S. - post cards of your home state, a simple t-shirt, a small calendar or picture book).
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, but the machines are not as reliable as you might be accustomed to.

OPTIONAL
Sandals – Good for every day use in hot weather.
Shorts – 1 pair, at least mid-thigh length (shorts won’t be appropriate to wear any other time than for sleeping).
Bandana – These can serve multiple purposes while traveling.
Umbrella – A lightweight, travel umbrella can serve you well in rain or shine.
Duct Tape – Wrap a bunch around your water bottles and pull it off as you need it.
Insect Repellent
Playing Cards

Good Luck with Packing, Everyone! Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have questions or concerns.

Tracy
tracy@global-lab.org

February 10, 2009

Pre-Travel Orientation

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