Kerala is a traveler’s delight: from sun-kissed beaches to verdant, misty mountains, from gushing waterfalls to lush green forests, from centuries-old temples to modern amusement parks, this tiny South Indian state has it all. Moreover, English is widely spoken and understood, as is Hindi, making it easier for both domestic and international travelers to communicate. Before you start making your packing list for Kerala trip, there are a few things you need to know about the state:
Almost the whole of Kerala is well connected by road and rail, and major cities are connected by air as well. It is more or less wholly urbanized, and ATMs and cashless payment facilities are available almost everywhere – except in a few remote hamlets. Law and order are pretty well maintained as well, and the cities and towns are mostly clean. All these factors make Kerala one of the most visited places in India. The main highlight and Kerala tourist attractions is the wide list of tourist places in Kerala.
- During all seasons
There are some things you absolutely need to have with you regardless of the season you’re going to visit, or the places you’re going to see.
- Extra bag / space / weight
Your passport, visa, vaccination certificates (like yellow fever etc. If required); if you are a foreigner and have converted to Hinduism, carry your conversion certificate, so that you can visit temples and go inside. Most temples in Kerala do not permit non-Hindus to enter. If you are a young, recently married couple, it would be wise to carry a copy of your marriage certificate, as some hotels here do not permit unmarried couples to occupy the same room.
Don’t forget your camera – you’ll have loads of photo ops on this tour, that’s for sure. Bring your smartphone, as wi-fi is available in many public places, hotels, restaurants airports etc. You can stay in touch with folks back home. Indian sockets have round apertures, so get a universal adapter that converts from rectangular to round. Also, the voltage standard here is 220 v, and if your appliances are 110v, you may need to also bring a converter. It’s always a good idea to pack a flashlight, and especially if you’re planning camping outdoors.
Plastic is a good way to go. Keep cash handy for small transactions, but debit and credit cards are accepted in most shops, hotels, and restaurants. By not carrying too much cash, you will be safe. ATMs are also available everywhere, and if you do have a crunch, you can always withdraw some.
These are available easily in Kerala, and there are tons of good healthcare facilities open to everyone – you don’t necessarily need an insurance – however, if there are any meds you take regularly, we would recommend that you carry enough quantity for your trip.
Don’t forget the dhoti:
This is a long white cloth with a golden or colored border at the bottom and on the outer side, which you need to have on your packing list for Kerala trip if you want to enter temples (for men). Women can wear sarees or long skirts (ankle length is recommended). In some temples, pants are allowed, but women need to wear a long top, and men may be required to remove their shirts. Women can also wrap a dhoti around themselves if they are in short skirts. The general rule when talking about clothes wear in Kerala is, dress modestly, and you are good. Keep the skirts below the knees, and ladies, capris are fine, but you’d do well to avoid shorts – though in cities, longish shorts are not frowned upon as they used to be. Longer tops are preferable with jeans, leggings or jeggings.
You’re sure to do some shopping here – you cannot go back without buying some of the exquisite handicrafts made of wood, bamboo, or metals like brass and copper; aromatic spices, and of course, the very famous and Crunchilicious banana chips. Make sure you leave enough space in your baggage.
Indians use water to clean up after toilet, so if you’re only used to using toilet paper, we recommend you carry it. Upscale hotels and restaurants often do have toilet paper, but you never know where or when you may need to go. Bring some books or your kindle so that you have something to read when you’re waiting at the train or bus station, or want to spend a lazy day at the beach. Kerala celebrates a wide range of festivals, in which Onam festival is the best. Kerala food is pretty spicy, and a lot of coconuts is used. If you’re not used to spicy food you could get gastritis. It is recommended that you carry antacids and digestive aids like probiotic capsules – lactobacillus or similar.
Monsoon… the time of the year when nature rejuvenates herself; when all of Kerala seems to adorn a verdant carpet and welcome new life; when the hills and valleys look resplendent in a sea of green! But it’s not all goosebumps and heavenly feelings. Kerala monsoon can be quite difficult as well. When it rains, it pours; and it can continue or days. Read more on some of the best places to visit in Kerala during monsoon. Make sure you include these in your packing list for Kerala trip in rainy season:
- Umbrella and raincoat
- Insect repellant
- Sensible footwear
An umbrella is good unless you also have strong winds at the same time, which can happen quite frequently in Kerala. Your umbrella could get blown away, or turn upside down and you could end up getting drenched. On the other hand, if the wind is too strong, it usually drives the rain away. A raincoat has the advantage that it can cover you fully, and leave your hands free – and if you’re backpacking, you can just put it over your backpack. However, storing it, and getting into buses or tuk-tuks can pose a problem.
We strongly recommend that you carry insect repellant cream or lotion and sprays, as the mosquitoes come out in full force during the rains. You can also buy them locally, but it is always advisable that you use skin products your skin is already used to. The rainy season also brings in the leeches, especially in hilly regions, so you’d do well to keep some salt handy.
If you visit in monsoon season, and you’re planning to go anywhere outdoors like hilly or rocky places, waterfalls and the like, be warned that it can get extremely slippery. Water resistant footwear with a good grip is what we would recommend protecting your feet. If you’re just not planning any treks, we would recommend rainy boots to keep out the water.
Dresses to wear in Kerala monsoon should be preferably synthetic for quick drying, dark-colored – as you don’t want to get your whites or light colored clothes muddy from the slush, and of course, avoid overly long and flowing clothes.
In the coastal cities, the summer is not all that bad – but it is pretty humid. The interior regions like Palakkad and Idukki can get hotter and drier. So you will need to pack accordingly. Plan your best places to travel in Kerala during summer. Here is your packing list for Kerala trip for the summer:
- Skin care
Light, loose, cotton or linen clothes are the best when you go to Kerala in the summer. The mercury can soar to 37 or 38 celsius; humidity here is often in the high 90s, so you won’t get a heat stroke, but you will perspire a lot. Light clothes that can wick away sweat work great. Make sure you have a hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes and head as well.
Open sandals or flip-flops are good, but if you want to head for the beach, you may need your trusty crocs or something similar.
Sunscreen is an absolute must, as is a good moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated. Chapped lips can be a huge problem, so a chapstick or lip balm is essential. It may also be a good idea to carry deodorant, as you’re likely to sweat a lot – and probably smell too.
Now plan out your family summer vacation ideas on a budget.
Hill stations like Wayanad and Munnar can get pretty chilly from October to February, so we would suggest packing some light winter wear – woolens, scarf/muffler, caps, jackets, and so on. You’re not likely to need gloves. Pack moisturizers to keep your skin from drying out, and hand sanitizers – the water may be too cold for you to keep washing your hands every time.
So what do you wear in Alleppey? Though Alleppey is not a cosmopolitan city, the people are used to seeing travelers coming for the houseboat cruises. Women traveling alone should preferably dress modestly – pants is fine, and is also practical, as you have to climb into the boat and out of out. Pack your Kindle or books as a Kerala houseboat is all about lazy relaxation.
Most important of all, learn to keep an open mind, and explore this beautiful destination to the fullest, and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Ultimate list of things to carry while traveling to Kerala
Toursinindia is one of the best tour operators in India to offer reliable and customized tour packages especially Alleppey houseboat. For more details and to make your trip a memorable one contact us.