A year ago, GG and I and four good friends had the most incredible holiday (well it wasn’t really a holiday; it was more of an adventure) in India with TDActive (the adventure wing of Travel Department). You can read about our amazing  trip in my previous posts – part 1 and part 2. And I also wrote a post on 8 Things you should know before you go.

Here is what I consider to be essential items to pack for the trip. I had some but not all of these with me.


Runners and several pairs of socks. There can be a fair bit of walking and it is not always over the most even of terrains. It will be dusty, so white will not stay white for long.

Other comfy flat sandals for walking. Feet may swell initially until you get used to the heat, particularly if it is a long day, so ensure they are not too tight.

Loose cotton clothing is a must. I had bought two pairs of light cotton baggy trousers in Vietnam several years ago and they were a godsend.

Colourful cotton shirts and tee-shirts. Avoid black as it attracts mosquitoes. Learn from the people there who dress so colourfully.

Colourful dress India

A hat is always a good idea for added sun protection and you do not want anything too tight. Mine just sat on my head, so it was not uncomfortable.

Loose cotton dresses and skirts are wonderful too. I brought several maxis.

Large cotton scarves can be used to cover your head,  shoulders, arms and even your legs. Most temples require you to be modestly dressed.

Avoid white trousers for day wear; they will soon be off-white.

A small rucksack with several pockets. Or somebody with a rucksack to carry your stuff. I had GG!

Essential for carrying your day-to-day items when you are out and about: toilet roll or tissues (not all toilets provide it!), sun cream, insect repellent, hand sanitiser, wallet, phone, camera, scarf etc.


Stuff for an upset tummy


Everyone talks about the Delhi Belly and some of our group succumbed. I have written on probiotics recently, which I believe helped me avoid it. Obviously, we used hand sanitiser (always carried one), but if you do get it, you need IMMODIUM or some similar medicine. Of course, it is important to get the advice of your pharmacist before you go; I would say that if you have a touch of it the sooner you take the tablets the better. My friend Sara had quick-acting Immodium, so always carry some with you every day.

Rehydration Salts

Often used for hangovers, we found Dioralyte great for keeping hydrated in the heat and we took one nearly every day.

Mosquito Repellent

Mosquitoes used to love me. They avoided all others and honed in on me so I was obviously the juiciest person around. I take vitamin B complex now, which is supposed to help and they are not as fond of me as before, but I am still careful. I did read recently that it is a certain blood type that attracts them.

It is better to be diligent in this area and I applied it to any exposed skin before we set off on the day’s adventures. Some of the group did get bitten; it is better to be safe than sorry. There are plenty of effective sprays available. I know there is a lot of controversy about DEET, so do your research.

Insect Bite Cream

We brought Hydrocortisyl with us, but there are plenty of options.

Throat Lozenges

The air conditioning in the rooms can make your throat dry and luckily we had Fisherman’s Friend  and Strepsils with us.

Emergency First Aid Kit

If you get a cut, it does not matter how small, it is imperative that you use a sterile cleansing wipe and cover it with a plaster immediately. You can make up your own little kit and carry it with you everywhere. My friend Sara carried hers in a small purse and acted as nurse on a number  of occasions. Also include blister plasters.



Bring an adapter appropriate for the country and your charger(s) for your phone and camera.


Make sure you have good sunglasses to protect your eyes.

Disposable mouth and nose guards

You will see many people use these in certain areas and there were a few places when I was glad I had one. And it was not just used for nasty smells. It was very handy in The Spice Market in Delhi and stopped us sneezing. Sara had bought them in Boots.

Overnight Train Sleeping Bag

Not an essential, but I had bought a silk one in Vietnam for the overnight train there, so used it again.

Ear plugs

They would have been very handy on the overnight train, particularly to drown out the snoring noises of all my sleeping companions.


If you are gluten-free, as one of our party is, it is a good idea to let the tour guide know at the beginning so he can ensure there are choices for you. Jan always travels with biscuits and crackers and we all brought some chocolate, sweets and chewing gum.

We were not roughing it, but neither were we in top class hotels!

Hilda xx