Adarsh Gill Brar

Why Cannot India / Indians Travel Light

November 29, 2016

Ever wondered why Indian’s carry their whole world around when they travel?! We are an extra ordinary race. We live life KING Size and we travel like that too! Very few Indians believe in minimalist travel luggage. Hefty excess baggage also doesn’t deter them from carrying their lock, stock and barrel with them. From the daily change of two sets of clothes for all the family members who are part of the voyage (Ours is a warm country you see and we shower and change twice!) to never ending supply of toiletries to our footwear to eatables, some carry it all. A Senior HR Manager who travels a lot on account of work says that it is embarrassing to see how some fellow Indians travel. A frequent flier, he says that it is linked to mismanagement and indecisiveness. Indians carry their whole world with them because they cannot meticulously decide on what to carry and what to leave.



Various sets of clothes: The weather at our destination may or may not be hot, but we are habitual and conditioned to bathe and change twice, so we will carry our entire wardrobe in our suitcase. We are an extremely image conscious, hierarchy conscious  lot and we feel that if we do not change our clothes regularly, we will be judged. Also, different set of clothes to party and different to work out, a separate set for the day and evening too. And then night wear. And if you have kids you multiply all of this with the number of offsprings! And when we are returning, we will have a bag full of dirty laundry, and perhaps another one dedicated to our new purchases. Yes! Some even carry a spare bag for that.


Foot Wear: Men have to carry their formal shoes for business meetings, sneakers for jogging, bathroom slippers for the night. Women, let’s not even get there!

Here I recall a particular incident from the days when I was working with an International Student Exchange Organization. My family hosted an 18 year old boy from Germany for a duration of 10 months and the only footwear he made did with for that duration was a pair of running shoes. An Indian Boy was to go to Japan for an exchange for all of a week and one of the three bags that he was carrying only had shoes. Running shoes, Studs (in case he got a chance to play soccer during that one week), slippers, Crocs, Formal shoes in black and formal shoes in brown.

why cannot india travel light

Toiletries: Endless supplies of shampoo, soap, body lotion, toothpaste etc. Most of it if travelling abroad because of the general perception that these things are expensive overseas. Within India too, we like to go fully stocked.

Ladies Clothes: Someone once quoted in jest, “Ofcourse Indians travel light. The sadhus do! Any man can travel light until he has a wife and children”. No brickbats, ladies! I have a viable explanation for this. Indian attire for women is heavy. Period! A saree is nine yards, remember! And a rucksack would neither be able to accommodate that and nor would we want the beautiful attire to crush. The same applies to our other formal wear.

Shopping: If you are visiting relatives, chances are that half your bag is full of gifts for them on your way to your destination, and is full of gifts from them on the way back. We are a generous lot. Need we say more!

Eatables: Indian moms obsess with food. It’s their way of showing love and affection. Whoever coined the phrase, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” must have been an Indian. The best manifestation of maa ka pyaar in India is the amount of food that she feeds us. So, it comes as no surprise that the luggage of Indian students travelling abroad to study is more of mathri-achaar than books and clothes. And it’s now official — a survey conducted by an international airlines says that Indians travelling abroad devote nearly 30% of their baggage space to food items. Some travellers do not relish other cuisines, so chances are they are carrying food to see them through days of their travel.

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