How To Pack For India Volunteer Trip in 2020

While packing for an international volunteer trip can be a headache, with the right guide it can actually be a lot of fun! After all, you’re getting ready for the trip of a lifetime, this time should be exciting! We’re going to walk you through how to pack for an India Volunteer Trip so all you have to worry about is making life-long memories.

Checkout the list of the necessary things to pack for the volunteering days in India:

1. Do Your Research On India

Are you traveling during the winter? Summer? Monsoon season? Depending on the particular season, this will make a big difference in what you should pack for your trip! Here are some key questions to consider when packing based on the weather/season.

Is it cold at night?

During the winter season, it can be cold in the evening and morning- it would be great to bring along some warm sweatshirts and sweatpants to wear within the home. When traveling/working in the community, it would be appropriate to wear layers to stay warm.

Is it a conservative culture - what kind of clothing is appropriate?

It is appropriate to dress like locals in Jaipur which would include- Kurtis (required at work location for women), long tops/dresses (no tank tops/low cut shirts), pants/leggings, and appropriate dresses with leg wear underneath. It is respectful to dress appropriately and conservatively when working in Jaipur, which may be unlike what you are used to at home. Will you be traveling further afield during your weekends? Or participating in activities that require specific gear - like hiking boots?

How long are you traveling for- better to pack more clothes or do more wash?

If you are traveling for a longer amount of time, you can either pack more clothing items (again, depending on the season), or pack detergent items to do your washing. You can also skip packing lots of clothing all together, and buy some inexpensive, culturally appropriate clothing in the local community upon your arrival.

These are just some helpful hints to get you thinking about what you should be packing in regards to your attire. It is highly encouraged to reach out to your program coordinator with specific questions; they will surely be glad to assist you!

2. Organize Your Personal Documents

    Passport & Visa

  • Your passport will need at least 6 months validity after your final day of travel- make sure to check this far in advance, and if needed, renew your passport in a timely matter.
  • India does require all international travelers to obtain a Visa. Each country varies on the specific Visa rules, so please check this thoroughly in advance by reaching out to your country of origin's embassy along with the Indian embassy. A a Tourist Visa with Indian Embassy which will typically last for a 6 month time period. Applying and receiving a Visa to India can take time, so make sure to start this process in advance.
  • e-Tourist Visa

  • One month e-Tourist Visa | Duration: One Month (30 Days) | Entries: Double Entry.
  • One year e-Tourist Visa | Duration: One year (365 Days) | Entries: Multiple
  • Continuous stay during each visit shall not exceed 90 days for countries except USA, UK, Canada and Japan. For USA , UK, Canada and Japan continuous stay during each visit shall not exceed 180 days.

    Visit e-Visa government portal for more information on eTourist Visa.
  • Contacts & Documents

  • Make sure you have easy access to the necessary contact numbers and information ready for your arrival/departure to your destination in India. This could include the airport information, local emergency contact information, and the contact names/numbers for your program. Screenshot these sources of information, in the case your Wifi or phone service does not work.
  • Make a physical copy of your passport, Indian visa, itinerary, travel insurance, medical documents (prescriptions or medical certificates), and any other important documentation you may have or need. Leave a copy with a trusted person at home and have a digital version saved to your phone and/or in hand.
  • Get all your travel docs ready in one handy location that can easily fit in your carry-on and be quickly accessible by you. Make sure it is a safe location to, so you don’t have anything stolen or lost.
  • Inform your bank about your travel and the specific countries/dates you will be visiting. It is important to let your bank know about the countries you may have layovers in as well. This is best to do in order to avoid having your account frozen.

3. Best Bag for Traveling to India

So how do you choose the best bag for traveling? There’s no hard and fast rule as certain destinations and volunteer projects will lend themselves toward taking one over the other, but largely it’s a personal preference.

How to pack your bag is a whole other thing, and again - mostly comes down to your personal preference. Plenty of travelers swear by using packing cubes, smaller bags within your larger bag, that keep things accessible, easy to find and separated from the bulk of your clothes. These are perfect for keeping dirty laundry away from clean clothes. Another popular way to make the most of your limited space is to use the “roll” packing method, rolling your clothes into tight cylinders before packing, you can fit many clothes into a small suitcase/bag by using this method.

It would be best to obtain a TSA approved security lock for your bag/suitcase as well.

4. How To Pack Lightly For India


  • Appropriate clothes for you project. This will vary depending on your project, but make sure your clothing is culturally appropriate.
  • Pants/trousers/leggings.
  • Dress/long tops/skirts (below the knee).
  • Tops (it’s always a good idea for these to be modest and cover your shoulders).
  • Warm (light) jacket.
  • Shoes & Socks (one pair of open shoes/sandals and a pair of closed in sneakers).
  • Scarfs/head wraps.
  • Personal towel.


Medical kit with aspirin (or a similar pain reliever), antihistamine for relief from allergies or insect bites, diarrhea ‘stoppers’, powdered electrolytes, bandaids, sunscreen, lip balm, insect repellent and any personal medication (twice as much as needed in case you lose some or stay longer - many medications are not readily available).

  • Travel size shampoo and conditioner
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hairbrush
  • Hand sanitizer/wipes and soap
  • Travel laundry detergent packets

It’s always better to pack a little extra than you think you might need- you may come into an emergency situation where you will need more or you may just want to stay longer in India!

5. Carry On Packing Tips

  • Pack a change of clothes in your carry-on just in case your checked in baggage ends up lost.
  • Water bottle for the plane- stay hydrated!
  • Pain relief and any medication you may require.
  • A book, headphones or something to pass the hours.
  • Neck pillow/blanket/jacket.
  • A pen to fill out all the forms in immigration/customs.
  • Don’t forget to put your carry on liquids in a clear ziplock bag and make sure all your liquids and creams are under 3.4 ounce (100ml).
  • Make sure to keep a copy of your important documents in your carry on, along with any important electrical devices and plugs/cords.

6. What Do I Bring For My Volunteer Project In India

Have a chat with your program coordinator in India. Depending on your specific volunteer program, they can provide information on what you should bring for your projects. They will also advise on whether you will be able to purchase these items in country, which is the preferred option where possible (for light packing).

7. Get Ready For A Life Changing Experience!

Now that you’ve packed your material objects, it’s a good time to think about your mindset. The best thing you can bring on a volunteer trip is a positive attitude and an open-mind. Oh, and enjoy! You are off on an adventure of a lifetime!

Feel free get in touch for further query or question on Volunteering India Trip.

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