As soon as the plane ticket was booked for India, the worries about what clothing to pack that would last 3 weeks, but not overload us, began. Everything we had read warned about checking bags on international flights to India due to the high number of bags that go lost or stolen. We also would be taking many domestic flights within India and didn’t want to pay extra for baggage, so our plan was to only take one carry-on and small purse/bag each.
After reading blog after blog, mostly written by college age hipsters, we decided backpacks were the way to go. I have had my Deuter backpack for a few years and have hiked the Appalachian Trail with it strapped to my back many times. It has a lot of room, enough pockets to cram lots of things in, is compatible for a hydration system, is less than 4 lbs when empty and has a pretty flower to make me feel just a little bit girly when I’m on hikes with mostly burly men. So I knew it would be perfect for this trip.
But what clothing should we pack? We again, searched through the hipster blogs to see what was appropriate. Since we would be in many different parts of India with different expectations and what was considered appropriate for women to wear, we wanted to take a little bit of everything, but still be able to fit it all in the backpacks.
In the more traditional areas and to visit temples we would need long skirts and scarves. I found a great deal on reversible wrap skirts- 5 for less than $30, so couldn’t pass that deal up! That is basically 10 skirts, at $3 each!
Scarves were also an easy buy at less than a dollar each! Who can pass that up?
Since we were traveling in the warmer months, we figured t-shirts would be all that were needed, and since I was going cheap, I just ordered a couple basic Hanes t-shirts that matched the skirts.
Another necessity was one pair of jeans and some comfortable pants. For me, comfortable means yoga pants, so two pairs of yoga pants and a pair of jeans got rolled up and placed in the bag.
One thing to be aware of when visiting India, is that you will need to be able to slip your shoes on and off when visiting any temples or religious sites. This was a big subject of many messages between Jen and I. We didn’t want to fill our bags with heavy shoes, but also wanted to make sure we had what we would need for walking, slipping on and off and taking showers or bucket baths on dirty floors. We probably brought too many shoes, at least I know I did. I would have been fine just packing the cute Crocs I found on Amazon. Yes, cute ones actually exist. They slip off and on easily, are waterproof, cover toes from all the dirty roads, are extremely comfortable and look cute with skirts or pants.
Of course we couldn’t forget our undergarments and as a woman in my forties, with a forty something body type, I knew walking around in skirts could possibly cause a lot of discomfort and chafing on the inner thighs, but I also didn’t want to wear pants underneath the skirts because of the heat. Now as a mom of three boys, I have purchased many a different style of underwear for them over the years and knew boxer briefs would be the perfect solution to my conundrum; long enough to cover rubbing thighs and yet would allow me to stay cool under all the layers of silk. I searched and searched for women’s boxer brief shorts and found some at Target! Who knew they would be so hard to find, but I’m glad I did!
We packed and repacked, watched videos on how to fit everything in one bag and measured once, twice and three times to make sure the bag would fit carry-on measurements. We were good to go!
One point I would like to make to any other non-college age, not fit women taking this trip; After all of the planning, the backpacks were a little too heavy and bulky to be carrying on long stretches of time at airports and taking on and off to go through all the numerous check points. We ended up buying luggage carts with wheels and hooking the backpacks up so we could wheel them around. It made life a whole lot easier! If we made the trip again I would probably use a small wheeled carry-on suitcase. Although I’m not sure I could fit everything in like I did in the backpack…hmmmmm…..
Of course clothing wasn’t the only things we packed. We took other necessities as well, such as a water purifier, toilet paper, monthly supplies, medicines and so forth and I will write another post on those items at a later date, because these are definitely things you do not want to forget! Especially the toilet paper!!!!
Note- all of the items above are exactly what I took with me. If you want to purchase the items above, click on the pictures and Jennie and I will make a commission supporting our blog and podcast without costing you any more money than if you went to the site yourself! Thanks for supporting us!!