As a frequent visitor to India, fashion designer Wray Cook knows a thing or two about keeping cool and staying healthy. She has amassed an arsenal of tools to help navigate the country's tricky food scene and hot climate. Read on for a list of her India packing essentials.
My husband and I travel to India twice a year for a month at a time to develop the collections for our womens-wear line Wray. While there, we are hosted by the family of our factory owner and get to experience their life as well as our own daily working life. When I wake up in the morning, I need to look fresh and sensible, but also respectful, as I am meeting many different people and representing our brand. It's nice to throw on a linen piece, grab a hat, and head out the door to get down to business.
When packing, it's important to have clothing that works for all kinds of scenarios — from a work meeting to a dinner party to a long walk on a dirt road. For the long train rides and questionable bottled water supply, I come prepared with favorite snacks wellness supplies. Here's a peek inside my suitcase.
I always pack a few of these all-naturalprotein bars, especially when I know I will be spending long hours at the factory. ($25 for 12)
Packing a straw hat can be difficult, but having something to shield the sun from your eyes is essential. This hat was designed with a ridge down the middle that allows it to be rolled up and packed in a suitcase. ($187)
Because of the intense heat, wearing comfortable and breathable fabrics is ideal. You also want something modest enough to fit in with the locals. I designed our linen-viscose-blend tie dress with all of these things in mind. ($230)
A must-pack for any visiting American. Toilet tissue is a particularly hot commodity at the beautiful temples — but just about anywhere, you will be happy to have it when you need it. ($11 for 6)
Summer can mean intense heat, maybe up to 108 degrees. My face pretty much melts off. If I want to keep my eyes fresh, pretty, and in tact, this is the only thing that makes my eyeliner stay put. ($26)
These capsules have saved my life a couple of times (possibly literally). My western diet and digestive system is not prepared for the water or local foods of India, so having a bottle of pills on hand — which bind to toxins to get rid of unwanted substances — is a lifesaver. ($7)
You'll want to pack shoes that keep your toes clean and happy — but you'll also wish you had a pair of sandals. These slides tick all the boxes. ($325)
The electrolyte-replenishing liquid concentrate is great for times when your body needs to rehydrate. If you find yourself unable to keep anything down after a bout of food-related illness, add a capful to your water to help restore your health. ($15)
My mother wore this in India recently and loved it because she was able to roll the sleeves up and button them when it got warm or keep them down for a full sleeve when it was cold. ($86)
When walking around the fabric markets — and traveling in general — I like to be hands-free, but I still want to have a number of things on me, like water, toilet paper, a book, and my camera. This backpack does the job and is cute enough to go with any outfit. ($42)
This contraption is amazing. Most Indian homes have a UV filtration system set up inside, but when you are out and about and don't trust the "bottled" water you just bought, this kills the bacteria.($50)