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What's In My Bag?

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what exactly I’m bringing to India, so here’s the general list. I’m bringing one checked bag and one carry-on backpack. Here’s what those bags contain: Clothing Christ University has a dress code for all students when they’re on campus. Men are required to wear collared, button-down shirts and slacks. Women must wear an Indian outfit called a shalwar kameez, which is basically a long tunic and loose pants. Women also wear a type of long scarf called a dupatta. As a result of this traditional dress code, much of the clothing I’ll be wearing will actually be bought in India. I am bringing some American clothes, though. June, July, and August are included in India’s monsoon season. The average daily temperatures are generally in the 80’s, and the humidity is high. Consequently, I’m packing as much cotton as possible. I’m taking a pair of jeans, several long skirts, leggings, a few T-shirts, a button-down shirt, pajamas, a rain jacket, socks, sandals, and a pair of boots. Documents My passport, of course. Also, in order to live and study in India, a student visa is required. My student visa is attached in my passport book. Furthermore, proof of acceptance into an academic program is sometimes required to proceed through customs. So, I’m bringing my acceptance letters to USAC and Christ University. In the event that tragedy occurs and I lose any of these documents, I have two copies of each – one copy for each bag. Having copies of important documents such as passports and visas allows U.S. embassies to more easily help you get new ones. Medicine I finished my vaccinations about one week ago. I received Hepatitis A, tetanus, typhoid, and Japanese encephalitis. In addition, I’ll be taking doxycycline malaria pills daily starting two days before my trip and ending four weeks after my trip. Doxycycline increases sensitivity to UV light from the sun. And I’m already a super pale ginger. So lots of sunscreen! I'm also bringing Alieve, allergy medication, antibiotic ointment, Band-Aids, and insect bite cream.  Money I just finished exchanging my green U.S. dollars for colorful Indian rupees. The current market exchange rate is 64 INR for 1 USD. I wish we had pink dollar bills in America! In the case of emergency expenses, I’m also bringing two credit cards. Technology I’m bringing my DSLR Cannon Rebel T3, iPhone 6S, MacBook Pro, and Instax polaroid camera (plus film). Unlike the U.S., India utilizes Type C and Type D electrical outlets. Also, the voltage in India is 230V, and the frequency is 50 Hz. In order to charge my various devices, I’m bringing an Apple outlet adapter. Other Here’s a list of other miscellaneous items:​

  • Batteries

  • Book for the plane - Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

  • Floss

  • Hair ties and bobby pins

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Insect repellent

  • Journal

  • Lip balm (with sunscreen)

  • Lotion

  • Makeup

  • Notebook

  • Pencils

  • Protein bars

  • Shampoo

  • Tazo chai tea

  • Toothbrush and paste

  • Umbrella

  • Water purification filter

  • Wrist watch

Overall, the process of packing has definitely forced me to analyze the difference between need and luxury. Packing light is essential because I want to leave plenty of room to bring back Indian treasures. So, this weekend will be characterized by some deep soul-searching as I decide what I can live without, and debate the best way to cram all my 3.4 oz liquid containers into a quart-sized bag.

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