India Travel: Top 10 Things Every Female Traveler Should Bring

October 22, 2013
India Travel: Top 10 Things Every Female Traveler Should Bring

foreign-correspondent badge final As a solo female living in India, I’ve found that there are a variety of essentials every woman should pack when heading on an epic trip to one of the most diverse and incredible countries in the world. After spending six months traveling throughout the north and south of India in 2008, and now living as a Clinton Fellow for the next 10 months in Delhi, I’ve compiled a crucial packing list for every female traveler, which will bring you safety, peace of mind, and fun while in India.

Here are 10 indispensable items to add to your packing list:

1. Sturdy cross-body purse with zipper

Having a day bag in which you can carry along some of your essentials is extremely important no matter where you travel. For India, get yourself a good quality cross-body purse with a zipper that will stay close to you in public. The more zippered compartments it has inside, the better.

2. Head scarf/Dupatta/Sarong

Head scarves are an important part of Indian culture, and in some areas, such as temples or mosques, they are required garb for women. Bring along a good quality scarf that can cover your head. If you plan to travel lightly, bring along a sarong because you can get a variety of uses out of it: head scarf, towel, bed sheet, sweat rag, etc.

3. Makeup/Makeup remover

Makeup and makeup remover is hard to find in more rural areas in India, and even in the cities, the brands are not great. If you’re into wearing makeup, bring along a few essentials, and something that will take it off at the end of the day.

4. Modest clothing

To divert unwanted attention, dress modestly in India. Suggested clothing includes long pants, shirts that cover the shoulders, and knee-length dresses or skirts.

5. Doorstop alarm

A handy doorstop can easily fit underneath a door. If any unwanted intruders try to enter your room, a high-pitch alarm will sound, while additionally barring the intruder from entering.  This device will give you peace of mind while staying in one of those three dollar hotel rooms. You can find some great and cheap doorstop alarms on Amazon.

6. Undercover bra stash

A small and discreet under-clothing coin purse designed to keep necessities safe, the undercover bra stash is the perfect device for hiding extra money and securing it on a hot and sweaty day. My favorite is from Eagle Creek.

7. Tampons/DivaCup

Tampons are hard to come by in India, so stock up. I recommended the O.B. brand because of their small size.  If you’re traveling light, you can also opt for a reusable silicon cup like the DivaCup.

8. Pepper spray

It’s a good idea for a solo female traveler to carry pepper spray. I carry my pepper spray with me everywhere I go, and if I find myself alone on an uncrowded street it makes me feel safer.

9. Leatherman pocket knife

A pocket knife that has a variety of uses definitely comes in handy while on the road in India. Whether you need a knife for cutting food, scissors for repairing worn clothes, or a nail file for fixing broken nails, make a multi-use pocket knife part of your packing list.

10. Leggings

Leggings are very fashionable these days for Indian women, so pack these in your bag so that you can pair them with kameezes when you get to India. They’re lightweight, comfortable, and breathable in the stifling heat!

There are plenty of other great items to bring to India for your travels, including a sleeping mask and earplugs, a prescription of Ciproflaxin, sturdy walking sandals, and Dr. Bronner’s soap. But whatever you end up bringing, just remember that the most important things you should carry with you to India can’t be packed: a sense of adventure and spontaneity, respect for the incredible cultural traditions, a bucket-full of patience with a splash of humility, and a feeling that anything–absolutely anything–is possible in India.

Enjoy your travels and stay safe.


For more, visit Brittany’s blog. Top photo by Unsplash. 

About Brittany Boroian

Brittany Boroian is a Clinton fellow living in Delhi until July. She loves India with all of her heart, and you can usually find her sipping chai at her office or wandering through the many street markets. For more on her travels, visit her blog.

4 thoughts on “India Travel: Top 10 Things Every Female Traveler Should Bring

  1. sonya
    February 19, 2014

    women travelers to India have a viable and safe option: a women’s venture ([email protected]) that provides safe and comfortable home stay in Delhi/Gurgaon , assistance of all kinds including airport pick-up and drop-off. It also organizes safe, fascinating, economical journeys into the northern and western parts of India for small groups of women, offering them authentic, informative experiences of a wide variety of Indian flavours: spirituality, culture, history, adventure, festivals, rural life, cuisine, handicrafts, people, business etc.

  2. Stacey
    January 23, 2014

    I am traveling to India very soon and it just occurred to me to bring pepper spray. What I’m not clear on is if it’s ok to bring on the flight or if I should try to purchase it there. With all the recent news and violence against women, it will make me feel better to bring. Please advise if you know about bringing on a plane or purchasing there’s. Thank you!

    • Brit
      January 23, 2014

      Hi Stacey! You can bring pepper spray from the US, but put it in your packed luggage and not as a carry-on.

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