You have your ticket, a list of must-see attractions and an empty suitcase. So, what should you pack for a trip to Bali?
Well don’t worry, I’ve got you. I have created the ultimate Bali packing list to ensure you are covered from head to toe.
For families, backpackers, rainy season and more, you will find everything you need – and don’t – for the getaway of a lifetime.
Grab a pen and paper – or screenshot this page – and use this as your checklist of what to take to Bali.
Bali Packing Tips
I’m not claiming to be a pro, but I am very efficient when it comes to packing.
Weeks before travelling I will be writing lists, preparing toiletries and laundering clothes – but you don’t need to do all that.
Below I have included my top tips to make sure you pack efficiently, smartly and comfortably for a relaxed travel experience.
The Perfect Bag
One of the best packing tips I have is finding the perfect suitcase or backpack.
No-one needs the stress of squashing all of their belongings into a small, worn and torn bag with the fear of it exploding. Find something that is comfortable to travel with, spacious and meets the requirements of the airline – it doesn’t need to cost a bundle to be good.
This is especially important for backpackers, you will literally be carrying your bag the whole trip!
This is where I often fail. I always pack too many unnecessary items in my hand luggage in the fear of what if I need … ?? No. You don’t need to carry 3 pairs of socks, 2 headphones and a mini of all your favourite toiletries. Keep it simple and light.
Have your important documents handy at all times for smooth check ins, and be ready to remove any electricals during security checks.
Unless you are travelling with a baby or young children, then perhaps you do need to carry everything and more.
Less is More
An age old saying that can be relevant for so many situations in life, but here we are talking about your packing.
You don’t really need 5 pairs of jeans for a week-long trip – especially during dry season. Be logical with your packing.
Laundry services in Bali are cheap as chips and on every corner, so you can easily rewear a lot of your clothes.
I highly recommend planning outfits. Not only will you only pack what you need, but you can save yourself some time when you are rushing from the beach to get ready for dinner. Mixing and matching your clothes will be your best friend.
Leave the Jewels at Home
As tempting as it may be to bring your best jewellery and gems for sophisticated dinners, I suggest leaving the precious pieces at home and only packing your cheaper, less sentimental sparkles.
Not only is it a safety matter about where to store them and looking a bit too flashy on the street, but the humidity isn’t good for jewellery.
Keep the sand out of your diamonds and suncream away from your gold.
I’m a sucker for those mini toiletries that they sell in stores, my favourite brands in a travel-able form – excellent! Just, don’t get carried away. As mentioned above, less is more.
Honestly, if you aren’t set on any one brand then I would even say wait until you are on the island and buy them here. Shampoos, shower gels and all your shower needs are widely available, and well-known brands are on hand.
Save some weight in your suitcase, and stock up on toiletries in one of the local mini-marts. You may even find your new favourite haircare!
Bottom to Top
One of the many teachings of my far-travelled father is to start at the bottom and work your way up to the top.
Once you are all packed, you can check you have everything you will need by starting with your toes and ending with your head. Socks – check. Sneakers – check. Flip flops – oh no! Quick, pack those!
Or, do as I do, and check off a list as you go, whatever floats your boat.
Non-Plastic – Where Applicable
Bali has a huge problem with waste. Very little is recycled, and the rivers and oceans have been deeply impacted from the amount of plastic being thrown away every day. Finding non-plastic, reusable items where you can will help ease the problem.
- Decant your bigger toiletries into small reusable bottles that you can take home with you for your next holiday.
- Bring a reusable water bottle on your trip to avoid single use plastic.
- Buy bamboo alternatives to toothbrushes, cotton buds and sanitary products.
- Purchase reusable cotton pads.
Although your trip may be short, the impact your waste has on the island could last a long time. Be responsible and aware of your footprint.
Bali Packing Must-Haves
I’ve already mentioned a lot of what not to pack, now we have some of the must-have Bali packing list items!
You don’t want to be caught on a trip to Bali without these for documenting your travels, keeping safe and having fun!
Whether it’s a digital camera, a professional set-up or just your phone, you don’t want to forget a way of documenting your holiday.
Creating memories that will last forever, one of the best things about Bali is the stunning landscapes and views. You can capture it in a photo to share the moment with your loved ones back home – or your followers.
Make sure you safely pack your device – preferably in hand luggage – with all the necessary chargers and memory. There is nothing worse than having an all-singing all-dancing camera without any storage or battery.
Speaking of batteries, how are you going to charge your camera and phone without a power adapter?
Bali has type C plugs – like the European plugs with 2 round holes.
Available online or at the airport, as well as market stalls, you don’t want to be without one of these for your travels. Small, easily packed and a must!
As well as the obvious – passport, license, tickets – there are a few other documents that should be on your packing list. Kept safely in your hand luggage, make sure you don’t forget these –
Travel insurance – you shouldn’t leave your home country without some sort of travel insurance. I recommend finding a policy that will cover you from the moment you step out of the door, until you are home. Bags can go missing, illnesses can lead to doctors appointments, and flights can be cancelled. Making sure you are covered will ensure a relaxed and safe trip.
Once you have your policy, check which documents you need to carry while travelling and make copies. Many companies only require you to carry a nifty little card.
Hotel bookings – with everything available on your phone it is very tempting not to print out your hotel booking. I preach it’s always safer to print. What if your phone battery runs out? What if there is an error in the hotel system? Save yourself some hassle, and print the confirmation.
The same goes for any tour confirmations, on-going flights or travel.
International driver’s license – if you have plans for driving around Bali, did you know you will need an international driver’s license? If you are stopped by the police without a license you will be handed a fine, and court date.
Save yourself some trouble and spend a few minutes online finding out where you can apply for your international license. It is inexpensive and keeps you covered.
Cash – there are thousands of ATMs on the island, but keeping a small bit of your home currency in your wallet is always handy.
In case of emergencies – or if every ATM decides to break down – just a couple of hundred dollars can easily be exchanged.
Indonesian Rupiah – I have personally always travelled with my home currency and exchanged on the island, though Indonesian rupiah is widely accessible at money exchangers around the world.
If you want some more security, get stocked up at home before travelling to Bali.
Credit Card – not just for shopping, a credit card is sometimes the safest method of payment. If you are making a big purchase, or paying a hotel deposit, using a credit card can give you an extra level of security and insurance. Claims are much more easily made to a credit card than a debit card.
Before you leave home, remember to let your bank know that you are travelling abroad so they don’t think your purchases are fraudulent.
Passport copy – one of the most important things to pack is a copy of your passport. May seem strange, but what if you lose your passport? You will need a copy to take to your embassy for an emergency passport replacement. Once done, you won’t even notice it’s in your bag.
Medicines & First-Aid
Bali has pharmacies on every street. They are stocked with pills and potions aplenty, however, don’t rely on them to stock your personal medications. If you are on a specific medication from home make sure you pack enough for the entire trip + extra – you never know. For paracetamols, anti-nausea or travel sickness pills, the pharmacies are a hub of information.
The same goes with a first-aid kit, it’s always useful to carry the basics on you – plasters and antiseptic. In case of a bigger accident needing a little more attention, everything you need will be at the local Apotek or Kimia Farma.
For those of who, like me, tend to get hit with bouts of motion sickness, I highly recommend pressure bands. Available online or at the airport, they can save you from air, sea or car sickness. They are perfect if you are planning to venture across the ocean to the Gilis or Nusas. The sea can get choppy and the boat bounces right over the waves, these bands will stop you from needing to hang overboard.
So important it deserves its own section, insect repellent should be at the top of your list. During the rainy season, mosquitos come for blood – literally. If your accommodation has open living, or a swimming pool, make sure you are covered when the sun has set. Not only to avoid the annoying bumps and itches, but also to protect against dengue fever.
Luckily, Bali is not a malaria zone, but dengue fever is an illness that flares from mosquito bites and can leave you severely sick for weeks – don’t I know it.
Mostly occurring during the rainy season, wear long pants if you are very susceptible and stay covered with your choice of repellent. Note – not every mosquito carries dengue. Not every bite can lead to dengue fever.
I highly recommend insect repellent bands, like bracelets you can put them on each limb – ankles included – to keep the nasty suckers away. A safe and effective method, the bright bracelets are a great way to protect children who won’t settle down for a spraying.
Different types of repellent are available on the island from creams to sprays to in-room burners. If you have any skin sensitivities I suggest bringing your own. Most accommodations are fitted with a mosquito net, it isn’t just for fancy decoration, use it for a restful night’s sleep without any buzzing in your ears.
This one goes without saying, right? You don’t want to be travelling to a tropical island without some form of sun protection.
Packing at least a factor 50 for your face, and factor 30 for your body will have you protected. Reapply hourly, especially after dipping into water. No one wants to accompany their delicious sunset meal with a bright red burnt face – do it for your future wrinkles.
Although available on the island, sunscreens are very expensive and there isn’t a wide range. If you have a favourite brand, make sure you pack enough to last your whole trip. If you aren’t fussy, pack what you have and buy more later. Any sunscreen is better than nothing.
Please consider reef-safe sunscreens to help the environmental health of Bali’s beautiful coral reefs.
Ladies Sanitary Products
Girls, we’ve all been there, we are planning the beach holiday of a life-time when the calendar lets you know your time is coming.
I recommend bringing all your own supplies to avoid any stress or accidents. However, pads of all kinds are widely accessible in Bali, but tampons and cups hold a price tag not worth spending.
If you know your period will come during your travels and you need a certain type of product, pack enough with you. If emergency strikes, just know that you can find something to get you by.
It’s important for every type of Bali holiday to pack a pair of comfortable shoes – as well as your flip flops. You can wander and explore for hours on the uneven sidewalks with a sturdy pair of trainers. Hike the Campuhan Ridge, discover hidden waterfalls and enjoy rice paddy walks in your comfortable shoes.
Not only for exploring, in some of the fancier restaurants around Bali you may be asked not to wear flip flops. Having a nice pair of sandals or espadrilles on hand will complete every outfit and match to the dress-code.
Bali Packing Lists
Alongside those specified must-haves and accompanying my packing tips, each type of traveler is going to have a different list of what to take to Bali.
Making sure you don’t miss a thing, here are my Bali travel packing lists for everyone.
Admittedly I have skipped mentioning underwear here. I am assuming you know to pack that – or not, do your thing, we don’t judge..
Bali Packing List for Backpackers
It’s important when packing for a backpacking trip to Bali to think about everything being lightweight, cool, multifunctional and comfortable.
This is my list of essentials for every Bali backpacker –
- Comfortable, light, layering clothes
- A pair of flip flops
- A pair of comfortable walking shoes
- A light waterproof jacket for cooler evenings and rainy season
- A hat
- A quick-drying towel
- A nice outfit for meals and nights out
- SPF, mini shampoo/conditioner and shower gel, deodorant, razor
- Hand sanitiser
- A packet of toilet paper – you know know with hostels
- A powerbank
- Small secret pouch for cash, passport and cards
- A reusable water bottle
Bali Packing List for Families
Packing for a family trip to Bali means thinking of every possibility and need. Depending on the age of the children, there are many things that are worth packing to keep them entertained and happy throughout the flight and into your island stay.
Ask your accommodation, before packing, if they have car seats and cots available to rent. This could save some a lot of space, and stress!
Here is my list of items for every family traveling to Bali –
- Games and toys for the plane and car rides
- Inflatable swimming safety gear – armbands, rubber rings, neck pillows, goggles
- Nappies and wipes
- Baby food jars
- Kids snacks
- Lots of SPF
- Water shoes – avoid any coral cuts
- Favourite cuddly toys to sleep
- A handheld fan for beach naps
Bali Packing List for Rainy Season
Packing for the dry season in Bali is easy, you just need to think hot! But packing for the rainy season brings a number of different challenges.
This is my list of what to pack for Bali rainy season –
- A light rain coat
- Waterproof shoes
- A light jumper for cooler mornings and evenings
- Lots of insect repellent
- A good book for those rainy days in a cafe
- Swimwear – there are still nice sunny days
- A tablet – for watching movies and shows while the rain showers down
- A waterproof backpack or small bag
Bali Packing List for Females
Sorry lads, I can’t speak for you here so I will concentrate on my ladies.
Aside from all the must-haves I mentioned above including toiletries and sanitary products, there are a few other items to add onto your list that you won’t want to travel without.
This is my list of essentials for every female travelling to Bali –
- Hormonal medication – always bring extra in case of any delays
- Modest clothing for visiting temples and local villages
- A portable door lock for some extra safety on your hotel room door
- Spacious beach bag
- A sun hat
- Small bag for evenings – avoid using a large bag for partying
- A good hairbrush
Bali Packing List for a Surf Trip
The Island of the Gods appeals to surfers all round the world for its unbeatable waves and incredible beaches. Many surfers pilgrimage to the island every year to spend time on the water and enjoy the incredible vibe of the surf life.
This is my list of what to pack for a surf trip to Bali –
- Your favourite board
- Your favourite surf wax
- Lots of reef-safe SPF
- Comfortable, light swimwear
- A rash guard
- Flip flops
- A quick drying towel
- A GoPro
- A waterproof phone case
I’m not expecting a Marie Kondo level of success from this article, yet I do believe these tips and tricks could be the answer to all your packing problems.
Learn from my mistakes and don’t overpack for a trip to Bali. You can rewear, buy and do without many things – trust me. Promising you a memorable, safe and light trip, Bali is ready to be explored with your comfortably adorned feet.