Wondering what to pack for an upcoming trip to Bali? In this article, I share with you my Bali packing list, including a few of the travel items that I can’t live without. Having visited Bali multiple times, it is one of my favorite places on earth. I know I’ve probably said that about almost every place I’ve been, but this one is for real. I mean it.
When I go to Bali, I often stay for almost a month at a time because there is very little (besides the impending exit stamp from immigration) drawing me away from the “Island of the Gods.” From the beautiful beaches to the unbeatable food to the hidden waterfalls and countless rice terraces, there’s never-ending exploring to do in Bali.
However, whenever I pack to visit my favorite place, I always have a few things in mind besides the adventures to be had… I have to remember the uneven ground, the extremely hot and humid weather, the intermittent downpours during monsoon season (October – April), the unsafe tap water, and other “inconveniences” that make packing for Bali a slight challenge.
But, by this point in my life, I’m a master packer, especially when it comes to Bali. I am prepared for almost any situation (and weather circumstance) while making more out of less. I’ve written this no-fuss guide on what to bring with you to Bali so that you can hopefully avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made in the past so you can enjoy your trip to its fullest extent.
General Packing Tips
Bali is very hot. This is the main thing to keep in mind when you’re packing. So while you’re shoving three pairs of jeans and two pairs of sweatpants into your bag, remember that those items will most likely just take up space and add weight to your bag while your legs roam free in a pair of shorts.
Bali also has some of the best shopping I’ve ever seen. I have to practically run down the main roads to keep myself from stopping into every single store or boutique with a bikini or linen shirt in the window. So be sure to leave some room in your bag for all the spoils you’ll most likely collect during your stay.
Choosing the Best Travel Bag
Choosing the right travel bag is one of the most important steps of packing. Not only is it going to need to fit everything you want to take with you, but you’re most likely going to be lugging the thing around so you need to be sure you choose one best suited to you.
There are many different factors to consider when choosing the right backpack. Is it made from sturdy material? Does it have lots of pockets?
Are there hidden compartments or places to stash valuables? Take all of this and more into mind when exploring different options. While there are hundreds, if not thousands of different backpack brands, I can personally recommend Osprey.
I’ve been traveling with an Osprey backpack for years and it’s never failed me. They even have a sizing chart to help you determine which pack is best for you.
If you’re looking to go the backpack route, check out a few of our top recommendations.
Besides your main backpack or suitcase, I’d also bring along a daypack, an everyday purse or bag, and a small very compact duffel or overnight bag. Daypacks are super versatile and can be used for day trips, treks, or even as a beach bag. And trust me, in Bali, a beach bag is essential.
We’re obsessed with the Nomatic Backpack because it fits all of our gadgets for travel days and is the perfect size for a take everywhere daypack. Not to mention there are a million pockets for staying organized and it’s extra comfy to wear. I mean, what more could you ask for in a daypack?
Generally speaking, make sure your daypack is big enough to fit a towel (or two), a water bottle, and any other gear you may need to go on a hike or hit the beach.
An everyday purse or bag is useful for exploring and nights out if you don’t have enough pockets to carry everything. It’s a good idea to have something that zips as well.
To see a complete list of backpack suggestions, check out our article that covers best travel backpacks!
Choosing Travel Clothes for Women
Repeat after me: less is more! Seriously, I can’t stress this enough. You don’t need to pack a ton, especially for Bali because there are laundry shops on every street that will do a full wash, dry and fold for a couple of bucks.
For daily wear, you can expect to throw on a pair of shorts and a tank top or a dress with a bathing suit. At night, you can generally wear the same thing as during the daytime as the temperature doesn’t vary greatly.
If you plan on taking excursions to Bali’s beautiful temples, just make sure you’re respectful of their culture. However, with that being said, don’t stress too much as most places will give or rent you a sarong and other traditional dress to wear over your clothes.
Really just focus on packing the basics in terms of clothes and you should be set. Also, when choosing what to bring, I focus on quality things that don’t wrinkle too much when I pack them.
Tops and Bottoms
- Tank tops & T- Shirts
- Athletic shorts
- Denim shorts
- Long sleeve or flannel
- Dri-fit shirt
- Maxi dress
- Short dress
- Sweatshirt (Having a sweatshirt is good for airports and heavy air conditioning. Plus it can also double as a pillow)
- Yoga leggings (If you’re going to do yoga in Bali, you’ll fit in with half of the people on the island. If leggings are too hot to practice in, opt for a pair of short spandex or biking shorts)
Undergarments and Beachwear
- Beach cover-up
- Hippie pants
- Sports bra
- Underwear (get the quick dry ones!)
- Bikinis (or one pieces- here are a few of my favorites: Cupshe, tropical one piece
Whenever I go to Bali, I make the mistake of bringing too many bathing suits so make sure you keep this in mind. Bikinis stores are on every corner… There’s no escaping them. Came to Bali rich? You’ll be leaving poor with hundreds of new swimsuits.
Footwear and Accessories
- Hat– I would personally go for a baseball cap or a sun hat with a neck strap… I spend a lot of time on the beach watching people chase after their unsecured hats that have blown right off their heads.
- Travel scarf (Pockets!!! For your valuables!!! Need I say more?)
- Sandals (I am a die-hard Rainbows fan. I wear them until there’s barely anything left! They’re extremely high quality, unbelievably comfortable after being broken in, and dependable until the very end. I justify the price by only needing one pair every four years.)
- Plastic flip flops
- Lightweight Raincoat
Choosing Travel Clothes for Men
When it comes to deciding what to bring to Bali for men, the list becomes much simpler. A few tank tops and board shorts, you’re gravy! Never the less, here are a few of my recommendations to make sure you don’t forget any of the essentials.
- Tank tops
- Long sleeve or flannel
- Dress shirts
- Athletic shorts
- Long pants
- Everyday Sneakers
- Lightweight Rain Jacket
Packing Other Travel Essentials
Apart from clothes, here are a few travel essentials that you need to pack with you for any trip to Bali! I make sure to refer to this list every time I am packing my bag even though I’ve been countless times.
- Padlock -These always come in handy for hostels or luggage.
- Travel Adaptor – Don’t get caught without a converter, you may not be able to plug your electronics in!
- Ziplock bags -pack everything in Ziplocks! This is one of my biggest travel tips for sure.
- Dry Bag – This is a good thing to travel with if you plan on taking lots of boat rides or doing lots of water activities like scuba diving or snorkeling.
- Rashguard – if you plan on surfing, although many places you rent a surfboard from also have rashguards for rent
- Travel water bottle or insulated water bottle for the beach. Water bottles can go two ways here depending on your preference. Choose a travel water bottle which collapses to maximize space and not add weight to your luggage, or choose an insulated water bottle to ensure that your water stays cold during those hot days. The only downside is insulated water bottles tend to be metal and are quite heavy, so if you’re worried about luggage weight, I’d leave it at home.
- Small LED flashlight or headlamp
- Rain cover for your bag
- Packing cubes – Use them once and change your life forever
- Quick-dry towel (be sure to check the size before purchasing!)
- Travel Wallet
- Medicine – any prescriptions (in their original bottle), Tylenol/Advil, Dayquil/Nyquil, Dramamine or other motion sickness medicine, Neosporin, Emergen-C
- Activated Charcoal Pills – Bali has its own special kind of food poisoning: Bali Belly. However, these pills combat food poisoning quickly. I’ve found that the best cure for the infamous Bali Belly are these pills and a ton of water.
- Baby wipes (an absolute must-have in my travel bags)
If you’re not a digital nomad, you can get away with bringing the bare minimum. However, if you’re working on the road or just generally like your gadgets, here are a few things we recommend you take with you.
iPad mini or Kindle
- SD cards
- Power bank
- Chargers for all of the above
- Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash
- Hand sanitizer
- Menstrual Cup– this is a GAMECHANGER for me when it comes to traveling.
- Mosquito repellent
- Lip balm
- Toothpaste and toothbrush
- Lotion (although I often opt to get this in Bali. I also almost always get lotion that’s specifically for after sun use because the sun in Bali is very strong and tends to dry out my skin like no other)
- Sunblock (reef safe)
- Nail cutter and file
- Makeup (consider what you bring carefully as you’ll probably be spending a lot of time at the beach or in the sun where makeup is likely to melt right off of your face)
Transport and Accommodation Around Bali
When in Bali, we recommend downloading the Bluebird Taxi App. It will save you heaps of time haggling with the local taxis who impose a high price.
When it comes to accommodation, you’ll have your fair share of hotels, guesthouses, hostels and villas to choose from.
Villas in Bali
Based on our personal experience of living all over Bali, we’ve compiled a list of a few of the best villas:
Apart from the resources, I listed above, I usually find great deals on places in Bali on Airbnb! If you’ve never used the platform, it is our preferred way of traveling as we like having access to a kitchen when we move around.
Last Piece of Advice
Make the most of your time in Bali! Get to know locals, explore the unique culture, and enjoy the beach! Remember that less is more and that you’re likely to pick up more clothing than you left home with, so extra space in your luggage is essential!
Stay hydrated in that killer sun and don’t forget to try Nasi Goreng (Indonesian stir-fried rice) and loads of their other local delicacies. Bali is and will always hold a special place for me so I can’t wait for you to experience the island. Happy trails!
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