My follow up product and brand packing advice for an American moving to India. It’s the best way I have come up with to explain to others moving here what products you’ll get the same of and what you may wish to bring from home. If you haven’t read Part 1: Beauty and Hair, start there. I have lived in India now one year and am going home for a visit, so while I was making lists in my head of what to bring back to India, I figured I’d share for people in a similar situation. My American moving to India packing list part 2 includes clothing, electronics, and everything else.
*Disclaimer: You can get anything in India thanks to world shipping but it will cost a lot more and take longer. It’s best to stock up on what you know you use most.
Part 2: Everything Else
This time around, I’ll start with food.
India has: I’m a big eater so not having my little favorites puts a damper on my mood! I’m only talking grocery store here, not restaurants of which there is a lot of variety. Some popular western food I can get in stores which makes me a happy camper: Salsa, Doritos, Poptarts, Mac n Cheese, English candy, Heinz soup (so not as good as Cambell’s), skittles, all kinds of gum, Oreos, Goldfish, Special K cereal, butter popcorn, Kool-aid, and Lays (Bakers) potato chips. Because it’s all imported, Doritos will cost you 10 bucks! Kool-aid is crazy expensive as well.
A pile of goodies my mom sent with a friend who visited (PS can’t get fruit poptarts here, only chocolate!)
I bring: Real Ranch dressing (I literally cannot live without it), some favorite candies like sour patch kids and Hershey’s chocolate- no one agrees it’s better than Cadbury, which you can get in India, low-calorie water flavoring packets, granola bars, cheddar pretzels, kettle corn, and decent mayonnaise (which you can get in big cities for higher prices).
Clothing & Shoe Shopping
India has: High-end fashion is all over India. If your budget can include Gucci and Louis V, don’t worry you’re all set to shop up a storm. If you’re more into Forever 21 you’re shit outta luck. They do have some, as well as some Zara and H&M but the options are limited and what they do offer at Western stores, I honestly think must be different than the clothing in the States because I never like any of it and I find it shockingly much more expensive than the U.S. List below:
What you will find in big city malls: Sunglass Hut, Accessorize, Guess, Nike, Converse, DKNY, Deisel, Mango, United Colors of Benetton, Adidas, The Body Shop, Tommy Hilfiger, Vera Moda, Puma, Quicksilver, Wangler, Levi’s, and Marks and Spencers, among many others that I haven’t heard of prior. Like I said, I’ve noticed that what they sell is different than what is in stores in the U.S. so I’m starting to think they make different designs for India. If you haven’t heard of Marks and Spencers, it’s a huge store in England and you can get decent clothes as well as lingerie designed by Miranda Kerr.
Mall in Bangalore had most of the shops mentioned
I bring: Shoe options are limited so bring more than you think you need. I once saw a Steve Madden, but I can’t find a cute pair of heels and really miss Aldo, Macy’s, and Bakers. In general for clothing and shoes I’ll do most of my shopping while at home. I explained before how online shopping from Western websites is a terrible option. Clothing I do buy in India is direct from up and coming designers in Goa and are always cute options like Tia & Tan, Doe Designs, and La Vie Boheme.
I wrote an ENTIRE article going into detail about the clothes you need to move to India.
India has: Samsung, Apple, Sony, Bose, and Croma are everywhere. You can get almost anything on Amazon India. Since living here I got a Croma tablet rather than an iPad mini (a genius decision I was talked into by my techy boyfriend), a military shock resistant Transcend 1 TB external hard drive, rechargeable batteries, and Beats by Dr. Dre headphones and speakers.
I bring: A few items I wanted and couldn’t get because of specific brands: a Wi-Fi extender, a travel size power strip that will fit Indian plugs, and a solar portable charger are items I’ll bring from home next time.
I’ve got a post on what luggage I took abroad. Most of the luggage I got in India has fallen apart, so it’s better to bring nice ones from home. Read here: Luggage expats need.
If you have Bad Eyesight…
I did see an eye doctor here and ordered my Acuvue contacts at about half the price of the U.S. but will buy my glasses at home because they frame options here are limited. I get my solution and eye drops at the doctors office bcause there are more brand options like Opti-Free and ReNu.
Appointments to make before you leave the U.S. of A.
This is not really directly linked to this post, but I do see the dentist, eye doctor, dermatologist, and primary care doctor in India. Other than getting my glasses at home with the prescription I received here, I don’t need to make any appointments while I’m back. I spent about 10 bucks for a teeth cleaning and guess what? The eye doctor was free.
I also get my hair done here. There are plenty of high-end salons and spas that do a great job and it will cost about the same as the U.S. because most are trained through L’Oreal or other popular hair schools. In salons, you can find even more hair products.
Other Random Items I Miss & Will Bring for Next Year:
- Candles from Yankee- the ones here are so weak! Seriously, haven’t found a decent candle. I love incense but candles at night were an obsession back home. What I wouldn’t do for a Buttercream one.
- I will bring two or three bottles of Bath & Body lotion. There are some scents I really miss. You do get Body Shop here, but it’s still foreign to me.
- A warm weather robe and slippers. I have looked all year for these in India and can only get big bulky robes or cheap silk ones. Where’s the middle ground? I have stolen a few hotel slippers… but those never last.
- I’m going to take Cranium out of its box, which will actually make it fit well. I love board games because I’m an old woman. During monsoon, we played Monopoly, Scrabble, and Life a few times but got sick of them. Need a new game for next monsoon!
- A few personal touches, I can’t think of what yet. Our place is pre-furnished and we don’t have one single item that is “ours”. I want to bring at least one mug from home for my morning coffee. It’s these little things you should think of when packing that will make your move feel less intense.
- I want so badly to bring my favorite fancy sateen sheets. I haven’t found any nice ones here, even at Fab India, so I’ll try to stuff those in.
- Goody brand claw hair clips, ties, and blonde-colored bobby pins
- I’ll bring decent biscuits for Huckleberry Finn. They do carry Pedigree dry and wet food, but the snacks here are off-brand and have no nutritional value.
- He also needs a retractable lead. Really, the Indian ones are cheaply made. We have tried every brand we can find and they all break in a week. Everything else for dogs, like Frontline you can get here under a different brand (Protektor).
I will follow up this post with more information on what clothes, purses, accessories you will need to pack to live in India. Also, make sure you have all affairs in order with this newbie expat checklist. If you have questions about other brands, leave it in the comments and I’ll reply or add it to the post!