An Indian summer typically lasts from March to June before the advent of the monsoons. Depending on where you are going, temperatures in different places can vary from 30 degrees Celsius (in hill stations) to a high of 50 degrees Celsius in parts of Central India and desert areas such as Rajasthan.
The key to summer travel is staying cool by dressing appropriately and staying hydrated. Here is a list of things to pack in summer:
Packing for the Summer
- Clothes: Wear light cotton or linen clothes to keep cool. India is largely a conservative country, so avoid wearing revealing outfits such as shorts or sleeveless tops, particularly in religious places or small towns. I would recommend buying a few cotton pants – full length or three quarters and shirts before your trip. If you do have the time to shop, look out for the ubiquitous and comfortable local ‘Kurtis’ (Indian tunics) to pair with pants or ‘salwars’ (local baggy pants).
- Footwear – Unless you are on a trek or a long hike, Slip-ons and open sandals are most comfortable to allow your feet to breathe in the heat and humidity. These can be bought cheaply in India and are readily available on most street corners.
- Sunblock: A high SPF sunblock is of utmost importance to prevent sunburn in summer. It is advisable to carry the sunblock with you and reapply every two hours for it to remain effective.
- Umbrella: In addition to the sunblock, you can use an umbrella to shield yourself from the harsh rays of the sun. Convenient folding umbrellas are easy to carry and do not take up much space. Umbrellas are quite cheap in India and it is best to buy one when you get there.
- Scarf: Scarves to cover your hair and face are a common sight in India for further protection from the sun and are great if you have sensitive skin, although it can get quite cumbersome to remove the scarf each time you want to pose for a photograph. Cotton Scarves or stoles are available easily in all hues and fabrics in India. They are also useful if you are visiting a temple, as some will require you to cover your head.
- Sunglasses: Wear good quality sunglasses to protect your eyes from both sun and dust.
- Hydration: Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated. Water can be contaminated in small restaurants and eateries so it is best to buy packaged water that is widely available. You can also revitalize yourself in the heat with refreshing energy drinks. It is a good idea to carry energy powders such as ‘glucon-D’ and ‘Electrol’ available at most pharmacies in India that can be quickly mixed with water. These energy drinks replenish depleted salts and provide a boost of energy just when you need it.
- Facial tissues/napkins: High humidity places especially near the coast will leave you perspiring heavily and you will be glad to have that handy face wipe readily available.
- Mosquito Repellant or Nets: High heat and humidity attracts plenty of mosquitoes and it is best to prevent yourself from being bitten so that you don’t get sick. Mosquito borne diseases such as malaria are very dangerous. It is therefore important to keep repelling mosquitoes using tropical strength repellant. If you are able to set one up easily, a mosquito net is also worthwhile for when you sleep.
This is a list of things that are useful for travel during the summer. You can find more great tips on what to pack during summer in these threads
Latest comments for What to Pack to Travel in India During the Summer
Like to add a few points to consider including as a part of the ''luggage''!
1. Note down your blood group & medical issues (if any, say sugar, BP or any ailment) & have it in your pocket.Especially if you are travelling to central India or desert areas (as mentioned in the article) it is easy to get a sunstroke or dizziness if you are dehydrated! The medical note would help others to help you quickly.
2. Carry a list with important (local & personal) contact numbers in your baggage, just in case if you could not use your mobile phone /memorize numbers!
3. Carry your own medicines advised by your family doctors! When in travel, either you may not get the brand you want or the one you get in the local shops might not suit your health