A Girl Packing for India – The List I Wish I Would Have Had

When I started packing for my first international trip, I made so many mistakes! I am still not an expert, but I have learned so much from India! I want to make sure that you do not make the mistakes I did. Before I get to the actual packing list I wish I had used, let me tell you a few packing tips to make your life easier!

  1. Pre-pack: I cannot stress this enough- Pack everything in the suitcases you are using just like you will for the trip two weeks ahead of time! This will give you an excuse to get everything you need early, see how much your bags weigh, and help you adjust what you are bringing.
  2. Have a small carry on and personal item: Running through the German airport and almost missing my flight was terrible. I wish I would have just had my backpack and a duffel bag, so take it from me if you have short layovers and are unfamiliar with the international airports you will be going through, carry something you can run with and that will get through security quickly!
  3. Underpack- If you are studying abroad, this goes double for you. You will buy so much when you are there, and you still only have the bags you came with! Looking at my revised packing list, it is still a lot, but I brought even more! I should have half-packed each bag!
  4. Use luggage straps: When I landed, I could not remember what my bags looked like. I had just bought them a few months ago and was exhausted from the flight, but I did remember what color my luggage straps were- red and blue. As soon as I saw red and blue straps, I knew those were probably my bags. One other reason to use luggage straps- my smaller bag’s zipper was horrible, and when I got if off the conveyor, it had partially unzipped and the only reason it had not completely fallen apart, leaving all of my things thrown everywhere, was because that luggage strap held it together!
  5. Place a copy of your flight itinerary inside each of your checked bags and take pictures of the inside and outside: If your bags get lost, this will help you, I promise!
  6. Use luggage tags: I put one inside and outside my bags because the outside one could fall off. Again, if your bags get lost or even misdirected, this is helpful!

Now on to what I actually wish I had brought, this is India specific and student specific, but it has general travel items that are useful for everyone! Keep in mind, I had to wear Indian kurtis to class everyday, so I did not have to worry about bringing clothes for class, as we bought them when we got there! Also, I was in Bangalore, so there were malls and bigger stores that I could walk to for most items I needed!

Backpack(my personal item):

-Airplane tickets, boarding pass, and flight itinerary

-Dried fruit (I will post later on how sick I got on the flight, but a neutral snack would have been great!)

-My cell-phone and charger

-Laptop, laptop charger, and earbuds

-Filtered water bottle (empty until after security of course)

-Passport, driver’s license, and copy of the arrival update from my study abroad program

-Pocket Tissues, a hair-brush, powder makeup, a small pack of baby wipes, and chap-stick

-Local currency: I brought how much my program recommended($200 worth), but it depends on you.

-Travel pillow with eye mask (Amazing, and I used both after I got to India!)

Carry On(small duffel bag):

-Medication I normally take and the prescriptions

-A week of clothing: 2 pairs of jeans, a pair of sandals(the shoes I wear daily!), 2 scarves, 6 tops(I brought conservative ones), 4 pairs of leggings of different colors because they wear these a lot in India!, and undergarments

-Travel itinerary, insurance papers, shot records, and acceptance letter from study abroad program and host university (these are program and country specific, so ask your program!)

-Camera and external hard drive

-Hair ties and bobby-pins

-Travel liquids: Check your airline and security on the current regulations! I brought mascara, hand-sanitizer, shampoo, body wash, moisturizer, and face wash in my 1 quart bag- I put this in my backpack, so I could take it out easily at security and then I put it in this bag.

Big Suitcase:

-Non-perishable snacks- I wish I had brought more of my favorite granola bars because I miss them!

-Small sewing kit(with just a few needles and neutral threads) and basic first aid kit(band-aids, antiseptic)

-My travel journal

-My pink blanket and one set of sheets, pillowcase included, and printed out photos: This helped me so much with making my room more homey!

-A big pack of makeup wipes

-Tarot cards with my tarot book: I do not take long trips without my tarot cards!

-Clothespins and earplugs: These are very India specific. It helped me fall asleep and do laundry!

– Filters for my water bottle

-Jump-drives for printing off homework at the computer lab (My program recommended this, so helpful!)

-Cords to hook camera to computer

-Medicines: allergy medicine, migraine medicine, cold medicine, yeast infection medicine(trust me ladies, you need these), melatonin (lots of it!), and insect bite cream

-Paper planner

-School Supplies: A pack of pencils, two notebooks, and a composition notebook

-Undershirts: I packed two white ones, three black ones, and a few colored ones. This was plenty!

-1 formal outfit: I brought my favorite black dress with gold embellishments

-3 button ups with roll up sleeves(These are only for going out), 2 long sleeve cardigans(Grey and black), 1 sorority t-shirt(only for a cute picture) and 1 “school t-shirt”(only for a cute picture), 2 cute crop tops to wear underneath my button ups

-A pair of dressier shoes and shower shoes. I wore black flats on the plane and put my sandals in my carry-on

-Three basic bras (one that converts to strapless, a nude one, and a pretty one) and lots of panties!

-Two weeks of footies/socks

-One week worth of pajamas that can double as workout gear: gym shorts, tanks, t-shirts, yoga pants

-My cross-body everyday purse

-One conservative bikini

-Five scarves

-Three pairs of Sunglasses

-1 make-up bag for tampons and liners

-1 large roll-up bag for a full size shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, face wash, body wash, shaving cream, razors, and hairspray, 2 stick deodorants, dry shampoo(my lifesaver most days), face moisturizer, body lotion, floss, toothbrush: I liked having bigger sizes because it gave me more time to figure out where to buy the best versions of these items

-1 make-up bag with an eye-shadow pallet with various colors, pencil eyeliner, lip liner, and blush as well as my brushes

-My little panda(my only stuffed animal I brought, and I love him!)

-Two towels

-Plug/Voltage converter: I got the bigger one that doubled as a voltage converter and surge protector that also has a plug converter for various countries. India’s power is constantly going on and off, and I did not want my laptop getting fried.

-A small box of jewelry: earrings, necklaces, and bracelets

Things I did not bring, and am happy I did not:

-American hair dryers and flat irons or any other American hair electric tool: India has great styling tools, promise!

-Too much jewelry: There are beautiful stalls everywhere!

-More than 6 pairs of shoes: I wear the same shoes almost everyday

-Lots of workout gear


That is it! I know it was long, but keep in mind that I am still learning, and I am thinking of what makes me personally comfortable. When you pack for abroad, think of your needs and what you will miss when you leave home! Thanks for reading!


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