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Best for Planning: Lonely Planet India Travel Guide at Amazon "Delivers up-to-date, 100% researched information that you can trust."
Best for Exploring: Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack at Amazon "Both lightweight and spacious, with a total capacity of 20 liters."
Best for Safety: Peak Gear Travel Money Belt at Amazon "Boasts a slim design, a comfortable buckled strap and a moisture-wicking backing."
Best for Health: Surviveware Small First Aid Kit at Amazon "Ideally sized for travel at just 5.5” x 7.5” x 3.5”.
Best Tech: Sokoo International Voltage Converter at Amazon "Suitable for use in over 150 countries."
Best Travel Pants: prAna Convertible Pants at Amazon "They're water-repellent, quick-drying and wrinkle-resistant, with UPF 50+ sun protection and a ventilated inseam gusset."
Best Travel Shoes: Teva Sandals at Amazon "Teva are the experts in all-rounder sandals that perform just as well in the city as they do in the bush."
Best for Making Memories: Canon PowerShot SX740 Camera at Amazon "It’s pocket-sized and amazingly easy to use, with nine shooting modes ranging from fully automatic to manual."
Our Top Picks
Best for Planning: Lonely Planet India Travel Guide
As incredible as India is, the sheer variety of things to do can make planning your trip a little overwhelming. A travel guide helps you make informed decisions, and as the number-one bestselling guide to India, Lonely Planet’s version is a great choice. It uses its 1,248 pages to deliver up-to-date, 100% researched information and includes sample itineraries, highlight overviews and interesting background information on regional culture and history. The guide covers both major and off-the-beaten-track areas of India, from Delhi to the Andaman Islands.
Each destination write-up includes insider tips and honest reviews of attractions, tours, hotels and restaurants to suit all budgets, whether you’re a luxury senior traveler or a backpacker on your gap year. Each review also gives helpful information, ranging from hours of operation to prices and contact details. There are 220 maps and countless photographs included throughout, all in vivid color. The book’s only downside is its weight – so if packing light is a priority, consider purchasing the Kindle version instead.
Check out our other reviews of the best India travel guide books available on the market today.
Best for Exploring: Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack
Whether you’re touring the palaces of Rajasthani or delving into Delhi’s markets, a reliable daypack is a must-have for keeping your belongings handy. Osprey’s Daylite Plus pack is both lightweight and spacious, with a total capacity of 20 liters. Made of Double Diamond ripstop nylon, it’s also exceptionally durable. In the main compartment, you’ll find plenty of space for essentials like a light jacket, sunhat, camera, snacks and more. There’s also a padded sleeve for your laptop or tablet.
Use the side mesh pockets to keep a water bottle within easy reach, or to stash your hand sanitizer (a lifesaver when using public toilets in India). The backpack also has two front pockets, including one that comes with a key clip and a mesh organizer for your smaller items. With foam-padded shoulder straps and a breathable, mesh-covered back panel, the backpack is even comfortable to wear in hot weather. It’s perfectly sized for use as a carry-on and connects to many of Osprey’s larger backpacks. Choose from a range of colors including real red, tahoe blue and black.
Best for Safety: Peak Gear Travel Money Belt
If you plan on spending a lot of time in India’s busier cities (and there are many reasons to do so), be aware that carrying a conspicuous wallet or purse can make you a target for pickpockets or muggers. To protect both yourself and your valuables, investing in a good money belt is a smart idea. This one from Peak Gear boasts a slim design, a comfortable buckled strap and a moisture-wicking backing that makes it practical for wearing against your bare skin in hot weather. It’s also made from durable, water-resistant nylon and has high-quality buckles and YKK zippers.
There are two compartments with multiple organizer pockets, so you always know where your passport, cards and coins are. RFID-blocking technology protects against electronic theft, while belts that are directly purchased from Peak Gear also include $250 Theft Insurance. Plus, two free decals from lost and found company ReturnMe also increase the chances of finding your belt if it goes missing on your trip. The belt comes in three sizes and three colors (beige, black or gray).
Take a peek at some of the other best travel money belts you can buy.
Best for Health: Surviveware Small First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is a must-have for any trip, and the Surviveware Small First Aid Kit is ideally sized for travel at just 5.5” x 7.5” x 3.5”. It comes in a water-resistant, 600D polyester bag that’s easily packable yet strong enough to withstand hours of travel on India’s bumpiest roads. Straps on the back let you attach it to your belt or backpack on a hiking trip, and if you get caught in a downpour or capsize while exploring Kerala’s waterways, the contents are protected in waterproof laminate pouches.
There are 100 items in total, including 6-inch shears for cutting through clothing or seat belts, splinter probes, a CPR mask, an emergency blanket and nitrile gloves. You also have a full range of different bandages and wipes for alleviating stings and sanitizing wounds. All of these things are well-organized in labeled compartments, making them easy to find in an emergency. There’s even a separate zippered pouch for adding your own medication. We recommend anti-malaria pills and rehydration sachets/diarrhoea medication for treating Delhi Belly.
Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best first aid kits.
Best Tech: Sokoo International Voltage Converter
Electrical sockets in India deliver 230 volts alternating at 50 cycles per second. If you’re visiting from the States or anywhere else that uses 110 volt/60 cycle electricity, you’ll need a voltage converter to use your single-voltage appliances safely. Enter the Sokoo converter, one of the best options on the market. First, it's compatible with any appliance of up to 250 watts, which means that unlike many travel-size voltage converters, it’s safe to use with your hair straighteners and curling irons as well as laptops, phone chargers and more.
Secondly, India has three kinds of electrical sockets — Type C, Type D and Type M. This converter’s included detachable power cable has a Type C plug. It also comes with four international adapters including the rarer Type D plug, making it suitable for use in over 150 countries. In addition to two standard American plug ports, the device also has four USB ports for charging multiple devices at the same time. For your protection, it automatically shuts off in the event of power surges or overheating.
Best Travel Pants: prAna Men’s Stretch Zion Convertible Pants
A sturdy pair of travel pants is essential in India – and if they double as shorts when the weather gets really hot, all the better. The prAna Men’s Stretch Zion Convertible Pants are 97% nylon/ 3% spandex for unparalleled flex and durability. They're water-repellent, quick-drying and wrinkle-resistant, with UPF 50+ sun protection and a ventilated inseam gusset for beating the heat. You can zip the legs off to create stylish cargo shorts and adjust the waistband for the perfect fit. Colors include bronzed and charcoal.
For women, the Halle Convertible Pants are a favorite choice. They're made from the same high-performance fabric as the men’s pants and have a zip that transforms them into below-the-knee capri pants. Capris are cooler than full-length pants but still modest enough not to cause offence. A relaxed, straight-leg fit with trouser styling makes sure you look good, while the interior waistband drawcord can be adjusted for a proper fit. The pants come in three inseam lengths and colors range from coal to dark khaki. Find the women's version here.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best travel pants.
Best Travel Shoes: Teva Men’s Katavi 2 Sandals
If you choose smartly, you may only need one pair of shoes for your India adventure. Teva is the expert in all-rounder sandals that perform just as well in the city as they do in the bush. For men, the Katavi 2 Sandals offer a well-ventilated, open-toed design and a sturdy suede upper. The contoured EVA footbed supports your arch no matter how long you’re on your feet, the nylon shank affords stability on uneven terrain, and traction is guaranteed by the Durabrasion Rubber outsole. Choose yours in Walnut or Black Olive.
Ladies are equally well-served by the flattering Tirra Sandals. They have the same contoured EVA footbed, supportive nylon shank and grippy rubber outsole. However, their synthetic and polyester webbing uppers are designed to get wet, then dry quickly – a particular benefit if you’re headed to India’s greener regions. Better still, a special antimicrobial treatment prevents bad odors no matter how humid it gets. The sandals are available in sizes 5 to 11, while colors range from practical, simply taupe to pretty, hera mango (coral). Shop the women's version here.
Best for Making Memories: Canon PowerShot SX740 HS Digital Camera
A camera is the ultimate way to preserve your memories of India forever. There are countless options out there, but if you’re looking for a camera that provides far superior quality to your phone but isn’t as complicated (or expensive) as a DSLR, the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS is the ideal all-rounder. It’s pocket-sized and amazingly easy to use, with nine shooting modes ranging from fully automatic to manual. With 20.3 megapixels, you’re guaranteed great quality images that you’ll be proud to show your friends back home.
You can also use the camera’s self-timer to take an Insta-worthy group photo, or shoot in continuous mode to make sure you don’t miss out on the perfect shot. Perhaps the most unique feature of this camera is its astonishing 40x optical zoom, which gives professional lenses a run for their money and allows you to take close-up photos of wildlife and birds. You can also take high-quality, 4K video. The camera comes in black or silver, has an in-built flash and a flip-up LCD screen.
Our writers spent 6 hours researching the most popular items to pack for India. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 20 different items overall, screened options from 12 different brands and manufacturers, read over 35 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 1 of the items themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.