What To Wear In India
To sum it up - Travel light and dress modestly
- If you are traveling to India, carry minimal clothing - both clothing and laundry are cheap.
- A soft bag or rucksack is a more practical option than hard cases when travelling around the country. Combine it with a fold away day sack that will carry your essentials on day trips.
- India is very traditional and some heads will turn if you dress provocatively in public. Short tops, short skirts / shorts, tight or body revealing clothes etc should be avoided. You might invite unwanted attention from certain men who stare and pass comments at women to amuse themselves.
- For women clothes should cover both shoulders and knees.
- For men loose cotton shirts or T-shirts and long linen trousers work well. Long - to avoid being bitten at night.
- In the big cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Banglore, Pune, etc you can wear shorts but we wouldn't recommend it.
- However when you are not in the tourist hotels or shops, cotton shirts or T-shirts, with cotton trousers or ankle length skirts are good and cover your shoulders with a wrap.
- Take jeans and some full-sleeved shirts and T shirts for comfortable travelling.
- Full-sleeved clothes are ideal protection against sun tan during the day and mosquito bites at night.
- Be sure to have good sturdy shoes with you since your feet will get dusty and dirty while travelling (try Hotter shoes, they are incredibly comfortable and look great too).
- It is best to avoid high heels, flat sandals will do just fine. We love the Lindsay Phillips Switch Flops range - using interchangeable shoe and flip-flop bases with snap-on decorations, you can change your look from day to evening in an instant whilst still packing light.
- A sunhat is a must for the summer and an umbrella is great for the rain and sun.
- While visiting places of worship (temples, gurudwara or mausoleum), women must wear long skirts or trousers and have covered shoulders. Also, don't forget to remove your footwear before entering any religious place.
- Sleeveless shirts, if decent can be worn without any problems.
- It is advisable to carry a light stole or scarf with you to cover your head in case it gets too hot. Some religious places also require you to cover your head, so it may come handy then. Why not take a sarong that can double up as dress, shawl or cover up.
- If you are travelling out of the main tourist areas, the best and most comfortable wear are the local loose trousers and long top called Lehngas, readily available and very reasonably priced.
- If you are travelling by train a pashmina or jumper will come in handy as the air conditioning can be fierce. For long or overnight journeys you will also benefit from earplugs, an eye mask and your own toilet roll. Your own cotton sleeper sheet is advisable too in case of bed bugs.
- Indian summers are very hot. So, if you are planning to go in the period of March to June, pack light cotton clothes. Do not wear synthetic as you may develop some skin allergy or heat burns.
- Make sure you take a good sun screen (we love the Riemann P20 range - apply just once a day, even if swimming, for a whole 10 hours protection) with you – it's expensive in India.
- Quality sunglasses and sun hat are a must.
- Swimwear, take it with you as it's difficult to get and expensive as Indians never use or wear it.
- Winters (October to February) in India are quite cold, especially North India. So, pack some warmer layers. Also, pack some thermal underwear, especially if you are planning to roam around.
- And we like Thorlos hiking socks - they have options designed to keep your feet dry and comfortable in all climates.
- Buy mosquito cream out there – you will need plenty.
- Away from the main hotels toilet facilities will be basic and more likely a hole in the ground, take your own toilet paper and anti-bacterial handwash.
- No matter how good a sleeper you are we suggest you pack ear plugs this can feel like a country that never sleeps.
- Avoid eating with your left hand as it's considered dirty.
- Don’t drink or even brush your teeth in tap water. Consider taking a waterstraw water purifier or safe drinking water bottle.
- And another tip for trying to avoid "Delhi belly" is to have a mouth full of antiseptic mouthwash when you shower.
- Keep your electrical gadgets (camera, phone, iPad etc) fully charged using a solar powered charger. This one gadget will charge most devices anywhere at any time, and it also cuts down on the number of leads and adaptors you need to pack.
- Look after your mobile phone with a phone bunjee - this elasticated strap will secure it to your bag or pocket, so you don't need to worry about dropping it anywhere.
- For more pictures and ideas, see our Pinterest board: What to Wear in India.
- Stay healthy on your trip - travellers' diarrhoea can affect as many as 50% of people travelling abroad. We've tried and recommend Bimuno Travel Aid pastilles to help support your digestive health. And WhatToWearOnHoliday readers can claim a great 10% discount on Bimuno using code WHBIMUA at their checkout.
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