Have you ever traveled to a foreign country with temperatures in the upper 90s (mid to low 30s Celsius) and conservative sensibilities during their rainy season? If you have then you understand the struggle that is packing for India in July.
I’ve had to purchase essentially a new wardrobe for this trip which consists of a pair of khaki capris, army-green joggers, black leggings, printed palazzo pants, various t-shirts/tunic tops, and a short-sleeved maxi dress. It was easier to find appropriate clothes than I expected, in fact I was pleasantly surprised. I managed to find all of my clothes at only two stores, Nordstrom Rack and Francesca’s. I haven’t had a chance to try and create outfits out of all the separates I’ve bought, so fingers crossed it works out! I think it will. Because we’ll be visiting temples and other holy sites I’m bringing three headscarves as well. I’ve also talked to my host family about potentially doing some shopping in India to get clothes that are guaranteed to be acceptable.
After clothes, my next challenge was shoes. Now I don’t generally like shoes very much. I don’t enjoy shoe shopping or choosing shoes to go with outfits or even wearing shoes. However, I also don’t like ugly shoes. Unfortunately, India’s streets don’t have the nicely manicured sidewalks that we are lucky enough to have in the U.S, so I had to do some digging to find cute shoes that would give me the necessary support. I eventually struck gold at Burch’s. I purchased a pair of shoes by Taos, a brand I had never heard of before but now love. Apparently they have the same philosophy as I do: you shouldn’t have to sacrifice style for practicality. I got a cute pair of metallic bronze sandals that will protect my feet without making me cringe. And yes, I realize how pretentious that sounds. I’m also bringing a non-practical pair of pewter sandals in case my family goes out to a nice dinner, my Nike sneakers, and my Toms (which I plan to use primarily for the plane).
Once I had my shoes sorted out, I moved on to stuff. My first obstacle was what suitcase to use. I was planning on using, and most likely will use, the same case that I’ve used for long trips since 8th grade. However, once I started packing I thought that I was bringing less than anticipated. We tried to get a new case, but ended up mistakenly getting one of the same size which we now have to return/exchange. Learn from my mistakes and use a measuring tape! Both on the case you have at home and the ones in the store to compare. Also consider how much you’re planning on buying while abroad, a little extra space might be just what you need! I was premature in getting a new case because I’d underestimated how much I had left to pack. Turns out it’s just the right size! My goal for this trip is to be prepared for a variety of situations without overpacking. I’ve got two purses, a larger one and a smaller one both of which are cross-body, a small umbrella (it’s India’s rainy season), shampoo and conditioner, a Polaroid camera and film, Pepto-Bismol, electrolyte rehydration tablets, gifts for my host family, basic toiletries (face wash, toothbrush, toothpaste, hair ties, bobby pins, etc), charger extension cord for my computer (I’m bringing the shorter cord in my carry-on), water purification tablets, plug adapters, insect repellent, sunscreen, and a book. I’ll be bringing my Kindle and another book on the plane with me, so I think that will be sufficient.
This post has gotten quite long, so I’ll be posting again later tonight with what I’m bringing in my carry-on. We leave bright-and-early tomorrow morning for New York to spend a few days with family, so I’ve got to get everything done tonight! I’m really grateful to have this blog, it’s helping to keep me on track. Until then, अलविदा!