Overland Traveller



Essential items for Indian transport (Page 2)

Train tracks, Rajasthan, India © Emma FieldPadlock and chain
Locking your luggage underneath the bottom bunk or to the overhead rack on trains and to the roof on buses will give you peace of mind from theft or losing your bag on a particularly bumpy stretch of road. Whilst it’s unlikely to prevent someone intent on stealing your property, it will make opportunists think twice.

The lights go out early on Indian overnight trains and many don’t provide individual lights for passengers. If you’re unlikely to be ready to drift off at 9pm, take a small head torch or reading lamp so you can read your book/write your diary without irritating your fellow passengers.

Toilet paper
If you’re not comfortable washing yourself with water in India, always carry your own supply of toilet paper. There will NOT be any on board your train, and there certainly won’t be a toilet on your bus so get good at holding it in if you’re travelling by road! Toilet breaks happen whenever the bus driver feels like it. These can vary from squats in roadside diners to “open toilet” (i.e. anywhere you please!). Ladies are advised to wear long tops on buses to prevent prying eyes catching a glimpse of your bits if you’re forced to relieve your bladder roadside.

Face cloth
It’s not glamorous and it’s not pleasant, but a small face cloth is essential for wiping the rivers of sweat from your face as you overheat on overcrowded, non-air-conditioned trains and buses. Accept it now or forever sting your eyes with your own perspiration.

Read related features and reviews
The Overland Traveller overland travel checklist
Travelling the road from Leh to Srinagar, Kashmir: a photo diary
The roads of Himalayan north India
Driving Assam: oil and war

White-water rafting on the Zanskar River: a near-death experience

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