What to Bring to India

A few weeks have passed at this point since I have returned from India, and I am proud to say that I did not catch malaria or typhoid while I was over there.  I guess the nauseated feeling that came with all of those pills might have been worth it after all (note: more recent prescriptions don’t have nearly as bad side effects as the old ones used to have, but this still wasn’t a picnic).  I wanted to share some of my knowledge about getting to and packing for Bangalore, India with the world, hopefully somebody can learn from some of my mistakes.  Also, you’ll find a few more pictures throughout this post, enjoy.

First things first.  Make a doctor’s appointment to make sure that you have all of the correct immunizations.  Here’s the list.  Typhoid pills and shots are only useful for so many years.  So are tetanus shots.  Also, you need to take malaria pills starting 1-2 days before you leave and continue them through 7 days when you return.  I also vaguely remember something about needing to let the typhoid pills or shot settle into your body for a few weeks before the plane takes off.

*Note: I have been informed by Reeba that the exact pills and immunizations depends on what part of India you are visiting, so be sure to check with your doctor.*

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Second things second.  You need an Indian Visa.  What does that entail?  Well, these were the best directions we found.  It involves (at a minimum) filling out 2 forms, having 2 forms of identification, a money order or cashier’s check – and if you are going to do it via mail mailing, tracking, and pre-paying both the envelope you’re sending it in and one for them to send it back in.  You should allow at least a month to account for sending it back and forth, and that’s cutting it close.  Also, if you’re trying to figure out how to mail an envelope that you’re able to track and pre-pay the answer involves fedex overnight shipping.  This may involve creating an account if the computers at fedex don’t want to cooperate with you.

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THEN, once all of those logistics are taken care of (and your flight is booked) you can start packing.  We had a few emails floating around about packing and the list we came up with was pretty extensive.  Also, I definitely spent $70 at CVS about 3 hours before leaving for the airport because I didn’t want to get to India and find out that I forgot anything.  It’s also the RA in me, I want to try to make sure that I’m prepared for everyone else as well as myself.  When we arrived, it was definitely a group effort, all 17 of us were pretty much on our games at all times.  I’m going to break this up into two pieces, general must-haves and medical must-haves.  And none of this will include the basics, those you’re just going to have to figure out on your own.  Alright.  Ready?  Set?  Go.

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Here are the general must-haves:

  • Snacks, because some nights you won’t feel like eating traditional food
  • Q-Tips, to fix your makeup (I’m sure they’re useful for boys too somehow…)
  • Toilet paper, which I actually ended up using more than I expected because a bunch of stalls were always out of paper
  • Safety pins, because it’s the easiest way to get the traditional outfits to stay where you want them to
  • Your passport, which should seem obvious, but if you’ve ever met me you know it’s not
  • Your card for the wedding you’re attending
  • A list of addresses of places you will be staying, you will need this before you even get off the plane
  • An outlet converter

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Here are the must-haves for your first aid kit:

  • Pepto-Bismal, the chewable tablets worked best (I didn’t like the cherry ones) – just remember that one of the side effects is that they might turn your tongue black, so don’t be alarmed when you wake up
  • Tums, just for a little Pepto variety
  • Gatorade Packets, in case you find yourself needing some extra supplements
  • Bug Spray, which I found out that they sell in the form of wipes, which were super convenient to put on, but not quite as convenient on the go or for sharing purposes
  • After Bite, just in case you do end up with any bites
  • Cortizone, just to add a little variety
  • Bandaids, clumsy happens
  • Neosporin, see previous reason
  • Advil, just in case
  • Tylanol, because sometimes Advil is too harsh on the stomach
  • Sunscreen, because it’s India
  • Baby wipes, for quick hand-washing
  • Your malaria pills

Things that I bought that seemed unnecessary after-the-fact were Claritin, Nyquil & Dayquil, Benadryl, and Tide to Go.

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Other last minute to dos include:

  • Changing your cell phone to an international plan
  • Calling your credit card companies
  • Taking out a little bit of cash
  • Checking the voltage capabilities on your electronics (anything that doesn’t go up to 240V won’t cut it without a converter)

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Listing out everything that needs to be done actually makes me wonder how I got it all done in the first place.  All of the planning was definitely worth it in the end though.  Alright, now to all of you people out there who have traveled to India, did I miss anything?

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Other posts about India:

The End of India 098

The Colors of India


Lists of India

2013-11-24 Bossman's Wedding Card3

Bossman’s Wedding Card

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  • Reeba

    Toilet paper and kleenex wipes for if you travel. You never know where you’ll be staying and whether the place you stop on the road will have tp….its traditionally not used.

    Also, the pills change depending on where you’re going. I’ve been to India countless times and have never taken malaria or typhoid anything….no need to in the south, where I’m from. Check with your travel clinic.

    • Ah, yes, how did I forget the toilet paper. Good to know about the pills, I’ll put a little add in in the post. Thanks Reeba!!