What to Pack for Delhi

What to Pack for Delhi India

For me, the thought of packing for our relocation to Delhi in 2009 was the recipe for nightmares!

I scoured the internet and found new blogging friends to help with my packing list.  I created spreadsheets and lists galore in an effort to be organized (I’ll share those later).

This is a difficult post to construct as your situation may differ from mine.  Your shipment allotment may be larger than ours, or you may have a smaller budget for your move.  Your company (or the government) may dictate what you can and can’t bring with you.

My best advice to you is to start laying out the suitcases and boxes early on in your adventure and plan for lots of changes to their contents along the way.

What to Pack for Delhi

MOST things are available in Delhi.  This may not be the case in Hyderabad or Chennai, so complete as much due diligence as you can before you start packing.  Try to find out as much information as possible about what things are readily available in the city you’re landing in. Some of the things I have found we DID need to bring with us (some more for familiarity and ease)


Children’s medicines that you are used to dosing (i.e. Benadryl, Allergy medicine)

NOTE : the chemists in India have everything you need, and most of it you can “self prescribe” at a much cheaper cost.  Having the convenience of the chemist is great, BUT it is also handy to have regular “brands” available to you.  If you ask for Benadryl at the chemist, you will get a blank stare in response. The other benefit to bringing at least one sample of your normal brand with you is that you can source similar medicine by showing the chemist the list of active ingredients. 

Stain Remover if you employ a dhobi (laundry help) in your home, it is good practice to keep a bottle or two of stain remover in your bedrooms, so that you can treat stains before you discard the dirty clothes into your hamper at night.

Dryer Sheets (readily available, but expensive!)

Socks & Underwear (while available, the selection did not make my troop happy)

NOTE : Regarding women’s undergarments, you will find them available, but to save you some headaches and grief, bring a new allotment WITH you versus attempting to find your size(s) in a mall/store where they will try to stuff you into whatever size they currently have in stock!

Feminine Products OB is the only brand I was able to find on a regular basis.  Plan ahead, ladies!

Clothing I have had a blast purchasing clothes for myself and the two littles. Having said that, it is a bit frustrating to be a “large size” even though I was by no means overweight.  Shopping for my big boys was been a chore.  Indian men are (for the most part) teensy.  Even the “large” didn’t fit my 15 year old.  Be aware that if you have a larger guy/teenager, it may be a bit troublesome to find even normal tshirts, jeans, pants, shorts to fit.

Pantry Items

Crackers, cookies, cake mixes, etc.  You may be surprised that you can find most everything you desire (goldfish, lucky charms, etc!).  It can be a bit hit and run with selections.  One day you may find your favorite kind of chips, and the next time you find them, they are stale or completely broken.  The following week, they may not be available at all!

Triscuits seem to be the elusive boxed item that we have yet to find … that and Honey Maid Graham Crackers.

Cake mixes and frosting are definitely available, but at a price.  You’ll be better off baking from scratch!

Ziploc baggies are available here (contrary to what I had been told before we arrived) but the quality is not what you’ll be used to.  Adjust your preferences a bit, and you’ll be fine.

Saran wrap, wax paper and tinfoil are all available – however, we have been unable to find the boxes that contain the serated edge for tearing off your selected size of wrap/paper/foil.  I wish that we had brought at least one box of each to use as our dispenser.

Toiletries you will find most everything you need in this category.  However, if you have special needs for your hair, you may want to bring your own products (my frizzy hair demands stuff from the States).Stick deodorant for the boys in our family seems to be an elusive find.  Spray options abound … but normal run-o-the-mill STICK deodorant … you may want to stock up if you have a favorite. I will refrain from commenting on my thoughts on odor and deodorant use in India.


If you’re located in Delhi as an expat, what things did you wish you’d packed?

What do you fill your suitcases with when you return home?

What items are on your list of ‘creature comforts’ that you miss most about your life before you arrived?


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    • says

      Oh goodness, I should probably clarify! We lived in Delhi from 2009-2012, so this post was a resurrected one from my old India blog!! We moved from there to Singapore for 2012-2013 and then back to the US.

  1. says

    Other things (from an expat a bit further north…)

    My most recent blog post is actually about what we bring back with us! :)

    -Good shoes. Not cheap chappals/sandals/flip-flops/thongs, but along the lines of Keen/Merrell/Chaco.

    -Yarn. I knit, and Indian yarn that is available for sale is almost exclusively a terrible acrylic. Sari-silk yarn and Nepali/Tibetan wool is without fail export only.

    I’ll just say to glance at the most recent blog post for the rest. :)

    (p.s. – one thing we forgot this last trip back? maple flavoring!)
    darcey wunker just shared …So You Want To Move To Woodstock: What We Bring BackMy Profile

    • says

      Love that you just wrote about “What We Bring Back”! Before we moved overseas, I had no idea that I would even need to consider it! Yes to the beef jerky and pepperoni!!