You’ve crammed all you can into your bag but you may have forgotten a few important items. Before heading off to the airport double-check you’re covering your bases.
Many tourist destinations require long periods in the car/bus between stops. Bumping and grinding down the dusty roads of India may not require much exertion but the constant walking up and down the stairs of the temple, forts, and palaces can work up an appetite. Your stomach may not be as ironclad as needed for the roadside stops so pack some of your favorite snacks for the trip. I use the space in-between the roller bars of my bag to stuff cereal bars. These are easy-to-reach-for snacks that fill me up and smooth out the rich excess of North Indian foods.
Slip-on Shoes or Sandals
Temples temples temples. Nothing wastes more time than the constant on and off of shoes during a day (or weeks) of sightseeing. Make it simple…pack a pair of non-lacing shoes or sandals in your bag. Some mornings I leave the hotel already prepared for a day of temple hopping. My shoes and socks are packed within easy reach in case my plans change. Also, keep in mind the random temple shoe thieves. I’d rather lose a pair of flip flops than my comfy trekking shoes that needed to get me through my trip.
Soap and water work great when found together yet most times you’re faced with just a well-used washbasin. Skip the hassle of digging through your toiletry bag by packing wet wipes. Hand sanitizer works too but over time can really dry out your hands. Wet wipes are formulated to clean hands, kill germs, and keep hands moisturized. I grab the travel packs found at most stores and stuff them, along with my snacks, in the undercarriage of my roller bag. Once in India, I keep a pack handy for the numerous times I need a quick but thorough cleaning. *See also 10 Ways to Traveler’s Diarrhea in India.
Budget travelers know from experience that towels are a luxury usually found in mid-range to 5-star locations. But even then, occasionally the towels provided don’t pass the sniff test. The easy solution is to travel with your own quick-dry towel. Cotton towels require long dry periods and frequent cleaning which does not work well with an Indian tourist itinerary. Quick-dry towels hold a tremendous amount of water for their size and are easily rung out for storage. Many are coated with an anti-bacterial formula allowing a near-infinite amount of reuse.
Tissues & TP
5 Star travelers need not keep reading. Your rooms will be well-stocked with paper products. But for the mid to budget range tourists, make room in your bag for tissues and toilet paper. Unless you plan to “Go Native” overnight, relying on the infamous spigot next to the toilet for washing and one finger on the nostril to clear the pipes, you’ll need some small luxuries. Tissues and TP can be found with reasonable pricing at many of the popular hill stations, but not as common in the more remote areas. Local brands look and feel like sandpaper so do your bum a solid and tote your favorite brand from home.