There’s something wonderfully appealing about India, whether it is from the tantalising scent of spices in the air, the colours and the mystical energy that seemingly radiates from its temples and mountains. It’s little wonder that many travellers are drawn to it like moths to a flame, lured by the promise of experiences so extraordinary they’re hard to replicate anywhere else. Regardless of your travel style, there’s a tour or a local experience bound to capture your attention.
Most of India’s visitors will travel either independently or by joining a group tour and tend to visit in the winter months when the weather is much more pleasant. On the other hand, many flock here in the summer months as well. The real question is, what should you pack for a tour to India for summer?
A visit here during the hottest months must be planned properly, starting with packing the right clothing and other necessities, right after staying hydrated, of course.
Are you ready to explore this incredible country? Take a look at the most popular tours travelling to India.
What’s the weather like in India?
In India, there are three seasons: summer, monsoon and winter – though if you’re trying to plan your visit based on it, it’s much more complicated than that. If you’re lucly, you might find some tours offer reduced prices during some seasons, so it is best to plan ahead where possible depending on your budget or what you want to see.
- Monsoon season: Technically, India has two monsoon seasons – the Southwest Monsoon, which starts in June and drenches the whole country from July through early October, and the Northeast Monsoon, which only affects the eastern states in November and December. Is it a good time to travel, despite the rains? It’s mostly a no, especially during the Southwest Monsoon. Sure you get the discounted rates and the intermittent clear, sunny days, but you must also suffer transportation delays, heavy flooding and even property destruction.
- Winter season: India’s winter months from November to February are also it’s busiest and most expensive. After all, the monsoon has cleared the skies, the temperatures have cooled and most of the country is enjoying the pleasant weather. With the exception of the Himalayan region, which often receives heavy snowfall, it’s the perfect time to visit India, if you don’t mind the crowds and the sky-high rates.
- Summer season: There’s a reason why a majority of travellers to India prefer its winter season. Summer, which starts in March and extends through May, can be oppressively hot with temperatures of up to 40°C. That wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that it’s also very humid, especially in late May as the monsoon approaches.
If you quite enjoy that type of weather, then you’ll most likely love the experience—so long as, again, you often hydrate. Head to the national park for exciting wildlife sightings at the watering holes where the animals take a respite from the heat.
If not, it’s best to visit the mountainous parts and the hill stations, which are cooler or make a beeline for the beach. Bear in mind, however, that these areas also experience a spike in tourist traffic around this season and you’ll likely pay higher rates.
Miscellaneous essentials to pack for India in summer
Why start with the miscellaneous stuff? Because packing clothes are easy and come naturally to most, especially those who are seasoned travellers. Packing – or even remembering to pack – the miscellaneous essentials, on the other hand, doesn’t quite come as intuitively to many as you might think, particularly if they’re not used to travelling to developing countries. If you’re joining a group tour, your Tour Guide can always help you find any last minute items, however, it’s always best to avoid that type of stress while your travelling.
Here are a few miscellaneous essentials you must consider packing in your luggage when travelling to India in the summertime.
- Note with your medical information: Before your trip, write down your medical issues or concerns, any implants you might have, and your blood type. Keep it in your pocket at all times as it could mean the difference between life and death.
- A photocopy of your passport and ID: If God forbid, you lose your passport, having a photocopy of it and your ID will be extremely useful. The photocopy might not be enough to reenter your country, but it will make the process of obtaining a new one from the embassy easier.
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications: Brand-name and generic medication might not be readily available especially in India’s rural areas. Bring enough to last you throughout your vacation.
- Antimalarial tablets and diarrhoea medication: Travellers are at moderate risk of contracting malaria even in the bigger cities. It’s highly recommended to bring some antimalarial tablets, as well as medication for diarrhoea in case the food doesn’t quite agree with your stomach.
- Lifestraw or water purifier: As we’ve said several times before, staying hydrated whilst travelling around India in the summer is very important. However, tap water isn’t safe to drink in the country; and though bottled water is always available, you might want to pack a Lifestraw or some water purification tablets just in case.
- Sunblock: Pack a bottle or two high SPF sunblock. Use generously, and remember to reapply every two hours.
- Umbrella, scarf or wide-brimmed hat: Sunblock won’t cut it. Pack a lightweight travel umbrella (or buy one when you arrive), or a light scarf or a wide-brimmed hat if you hate having to carry something while on explorations.
- Bug repellant: Find a good yet eco-friendly brand that works for you. A bug repellant helps keep the mosquitos—and by extension, malaria—away.
- Facial and cleansing body wipes: Humidity combined with dust isn’t very comfortable, and wipes come in handy to freshen up a bit especially when you don’t get a chance to come back to your hotel to do so.
- Travel adapter and converter: If you’re coming in from the United States or from a country that doesn’t use the standard voltage 230 V, the frequency 50 Hz, and Type C and D plugs, pack an adapter and a converter or a two-in-one unit.
Clothing to pack for India in summer
Breathable fabric, light colours and loose-fitting clothing are key to surviving India’s summertime temperatures. Pack for walking around, for excursions and for activities of the adventurous nature, but remember to pack a few things for meals at nice restaurants or drinks at fancy bars as well.
- Light, breathable tops and t-shirts: To combat the oppressive heat, pack light tops and t-shirts made of breathable fabric. Avoid wearing rich, intense colours as well as shades of black as they absorb more light. Opt for light, neutral colours instead.
- Tank tops: Tank tops are acceptable in India, especially in the urban areas. However, make sure to pack tank tops that do not show too much skin to avoid unwanted attention from the locals.
- Yoga pants: Yoga pants for women work great as they aren’t only breathable, keeping you comfortable, they’re also perfect for wearing under cotton kurtis and covering your legs when visiting religious sites. Pack at least two pairs.
- Shorts: Depending on the length of your stay, bring with you a pair or two. Pack longer, loose-fitting ones.
- Skirts and/or dresses: Specifically for women, midi and maxi skirts and dresses are best as they cover your legs, keep you nice and cool, and allow you to look nice and fashionable.
- A smart outfit: Pack a dressy outfit or two—including a pair of dressy shoes—in case you end up having dinner at a fancy restaurant.
- A pair of sunglasses: The purpose is two-fold: to protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays, and to shield them from dust.
- Comfortable sneakers or hiking shoes: If you’re doing a lot of walking, which you most likely will, a pair of comfy sneakers or hiking shoes will go a long way. Be sure to break them in before your trip.
- Sandals or flip-flops: If sneakers prove too hot for exploring India in the summertime, a pair of flip-flops or sandals come in handy. Pack a sturdy pair, and bring it with you when out and about so you can switch it out and give your hot feet a bit of a breather.
- Bathing suit: Well, because you’re gonna want to take a nice, refreshing swim whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Feeling inspired to start the adventure? Take a look at the most popular tours travelling to India and prepare to fall in love with the sights, sounds and unforgettable experiences that India offers.