Duke and Duchess’ Trip to India Boosts Tourism – Must Read Packing Tips If You Decide to Follow In The Royal Couple’s Footsteps
Recently Will and Kate spent six days visiting hot spots in Mumbai, New Delhi, and Bhutan. Fortunately for all of us they had an official photographer along on the trip. You can see all the photos of their trip in India and Bhutan on travelandleisure.com here.
Typically the “Kate effect” is referred to when there is a sell-out of her high demand pieces of clothing but in this case we are seeing something much grander. Based on TripAdvisor data, there has been a 25% increase in rental bookings in India since the royal company returned from their trip.
“Increasingly we’ve noticed that when high-profile public figures like the Royal Family are photographed in a destination, holidaymakers will actively search on TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals for properties in those locations,” Saskia Welman of TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals told IBTimes UK. “This developing trend is illustrated by the correlation between the high volume of media coverage resulting from the Duke and Duchess’ trip to India and the recent surge in demand for the country on the site.”
In addition to the 25% boost the website reported a 200% increase in searches for Mumbai, the first stop of the royal company on the trip.
photo credit: travelandleisure.com
Packing Tips If You Decide To Visit India
When people come to India for the first time, they are very often nervous about getting sick, getting lost and getting scammed. Because they have no control of what will happen when they get to India, they get a little OCD in their planning of India–because that they CAN control.
This leads to one of a happy holiday’s biggest hindrances: overpacking.
Overpacking leads to carrying a heavy bag in the heat and feeling stressed. It also means having no room for shopping, which in India is a real tragedy. So let us help you travel a bit lighter and, in turn, enjoy India just a little bit more.
Here are 10 things you think you need to pack for India, but can really do without.
- Mosquito net. Nearly everywhere you go in India that has mosquito problems at night, will have a mosquito net or at least a plug-in wall sprayer. You can also put some spray on yourself before bed (and you can buy it in India–local brands tend to work better as well). For the most part, if you have your window shut, your bathroom door shut (they like water), and the door is shut, you will be okay. In my over 3 years travelling here, I haven’t encountered a place without nets even in 500-rupee-a-night places.
- Too many medications. Yes, there are chemists (pharmacies) in India! The brand names of things might be a little different but the scientific names are the same. You can get their version of Advil, Imodium, and antibiotics… and you can get it a LOT cheaper than home. Forget bringing band-aids and the first-aid kit.
- Full-size sleeping bag. I feel bad for those with a sleeping bag attached to their backpack. I’m talking about the type we used at sleepovers when we were kids. Nowadays you can buy a thin (but warm) sleeping bag at a camping store, or on Amazon, very cheaply. There are so many varieties; most roll up to the size of a football and can be put in the bottom of your bag easily to pull out on trains or if you stay in a room which isn’t very clean.
- Travellers’ cheques. I think I’m too young to even understand these, but people bring them a lot; I’m not sure you can even cash these here! I even checked with Indian friends and they just didn’t know what I was talking about when I mentioned these. Bring your ATM card and an emergency credit card. Find a bank that offers reimbursement on your ATM fees abroad (in the US, Charles Schwab does). You can then take out small amounts at a time and feel safe carrying it.
- Water purifier. You can definitely bring one if you are very eco-friendly and don’t want to use plastic bottles, but you can find bottled water everywhere in India so it’s nothing to be worried about.
- Rape whistle & pepper spray. I know India is not talked about so nicely when it comes to sexual assault, and for good reason if I’m honest. Unless you plan on carrying these things with you and having your hand in your purse ready for action at all times, it doesn’t do you much good sitting in your bag. It’s just taking up space.
- Full-size toiletries. You would be surprised how long travel-sized shampoo can last! Most places in India have Pantene, Treseme, and Dove among others. You can find very good toiletries here so don’t fret about bringing enough to last you six months.
- Full-size Lonely Planet. You can get the online version and put the PDF on your phone or Kindle. That saves so much space and weight in your luggage!
- Laundry detergent. It’s great to do your laundry yourself if you want to stay on a tight budget and not pay for a service (although laundry by hand here is about £5 a bundle). You don’t need to bring your own washing powder or liquid though. You can buy small packets at most corner shops for 1 rupee…yes really, 1, that’s about 1 penny in the UK!
- More than one pair of jeans. Jeans actually don’t need washing that often so one pair really is enough. You can wash them weekly and it saves more space than you think. Most times, even if you pack two you end up wearing the same ‘favorite’ pair over and over anyway. Plus it will quite likely be hot in India–bear that in mind with all your clothes-packing.
Now having given you 10 things NOT to pack, there are of course a lot of things you do need to bring that you might not think of. Try bringing these, none of which take up much space:
A chain lock to lock your bag on the trains, a sleeping bag liner (very thin) that you can use just to stay a little cleaner on public transportation, or to add warmth, and a travel pillow as overnight buses do not give you one and they can easily fit in the side pocket of a backpack.