The 9 Best Items to Pack for India in 2019

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The Rundown

Best Money Belt: Peak Gear Travel Money Belt at Amazon

"Boasts a slim design, a comfortable buckled strap, and a moisture-wicking backing."

Best First Aid Kit: Surviveware Small First Aid Kit at Amazon

"Ideally sized for travel at just 5.5 x 7.5 x 3.5 inches."

Best Tech: Sokoo International Voltage Converter at Amazon

"Suitable for use in over 150 countries."

Best Camera: Canon PowerShot Camera at Amazon

"It’s pocket-sized and amazingly easy to use."

Best Guide: Lonely Planet India Travel Guide at Amazon

"Delivers up-to-date, 100 percent researched information that you can trust."

Best Water Filter: LifeStraw Personal Water Filter at Amazon

"Can filter up to 4,000 liters of contaminated water."

Best Earplugs: Mack's Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs at Amazon

"You can rest assured that your ears will be protected and comfortable."

Best Bag: Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack at Amazon

"Both lightweight and spacious, with a total capacity of 20 liters."

Best Travel Shoes: Teva Women's Tirra Sandals at Amazon

"All-rounder sandals that perform just as well in the city as they do in the bush."

Our Top Picks

01 of 09

Best Money Belt: 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 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.

02 of 09

Best First Aid Kit: 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 inches. 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/diarrhea medication for treating Delhi Belly. 

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best first aid kits.

03 of 09

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 U.S. 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. 

Check out our other reviews of the best travel adapters available on the market today.

04 of 09

Best Camera: Canon PowerShot SX740 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 videos. The camera comes in black or silver, has an in-built flash, and a flip-up LCD screen. 

Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best point-and-shoot cameras article.

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05 of 09

Best Guide: Lonely Planet India Travel Guide

Lonely Planet India Travel Guide

Courtesy of Amazon

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 percent 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.

06 of 09

Best Water Filter: LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

Designed for hiking, camping, and emergencies, Lifestraw's Personal Water Filter is also great for travel — and a necessity in places like India, where water may not be safe to drink. The award-winning LifeStraw can filter up to 4,000 liters (the equivalent of five years) of contaminated water for safe, clean drinking water, yet it's super lightweight at two ounces. It meets EPA standards and removes all bacteria (including E. coli), parasites, and microplastics, so you can drink water directly from rivers, streams, lakes, or any water source. Whether you're backpacking in Hampi or strolling the streets of Jaipur, make sure you pack this portable water filter in your purse or daypack.

07 of 09

Best Earplugs: Mack's Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs

From the trains to the temples, things can get loud in India. To get a good night's rest and block out the noise, bring along these Mack's Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs. They're made of low-pressure, comfortable foam and are ergonomically shaped to fit your ears, with a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 32 decibels to effectively prevent hearing loss. Mack's is even the #1 doctor recommended brand of foam earplugs, so you can rest that assured your ears will be protected and comfortable from snoring, crowded areas, or any loud environment. This comes with 50 pairs of earplugs and can be used outside of travel, including concerts, studying, or at work.

08 of 09

Best Bag: 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.

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09 of 09

Best Travel Shoes: Teva Women's Tirra 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. The flattering Tirra Sandals have a 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).

For men, the Katavi 2 Sandals offer a well-ventilated, open-toed design, and a sturdy suede upper. Its 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. Shop the men's version here.

Our Process

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.

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