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Travel in India

How to Travel Light to India
By:Beth Anderle

Traveling light to India is becoming more of a necessity today as more airlines charge for heavy or extra bags. Here are some tips for packing as lightly as possible.

Consider backpacking. Taking nothing but a large backpack filled with essential items is one way to travel lightly through India, and many frequent travelers to India recommend this method. Purchase a backpack guide, such as "Lonely Planet" or "Let's Go--India/Nepal," and look for suggestions on how to pack the bare minimum.

Do your research. Plan ahead where you want to go, where you want to stay and what you want to do when you get there. This will force you to make an itinerary; it will also help you anticipate costs for meals, entertainment and entrance fees to attractions.

Plan your wardrobe. If you know what you are doing each day, you can bring just the right clothes for each activity. Choose clothing that can do double duty. A simple black knit dress can go from sightseeing during the day to a nice restaurant at night by changing accessories. Pick items that travel well without wrinkling, and choose clothes that can easily be hand-washed and hung to dry, limiting the number of outfits you will have to bring. Choose one or two comfortable and versatile pair of shoes and/or sandals. Also, be aware of any local dress requirements for restaurants or attractions.

Do without unnecessary items. A lot of extras make up much of a travel bag's weight. Do you really need to bring your laptop on this vacation? Maybe you can make do with just your cell phone by adjusting your service for a month or so. Is it necessary to bring office work with you? If so, how much can you pare it down? Women may want to do without a lot of makeup since India is very hot. Take just one good book with you, and plan to give it away to someone if you finish it before the trip is over; you can either exchange with someone else or pick up another one along the way. Invest in a good, up-to-date folding map so you can keep track of where you want to go. Print off a small list of phrases in the native language of the area in which you will spend the most time rather than carrying a separate book.

Buy locally. No one knows the climate like the native people. Leave most of your clothes at home, and buy most of what you need at the local bazaar. You will have clothes that suit the weather, are inexpensive and will make wonderful souvenirs of your trip.

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