Your flights are booked, your itinerary is set and now it is time to pack your bags and go on your trip to Bali! But packing for a destination you have never been to can be quite hard, and for that reason we have created the ultimate Bali packing list. With this list you don’t have to worry about, overpacking of leaving anything at home as we have included all our tips, tricks and knowledge of having travelled to Bali on four different trips. And even if you forget something, don’t worry, Bali truly is a shopping paradise, so instead of overpacking that suitcase you probably want to leave some space to bring some of those beautiful souvenirs home. But now, without further ado, keep on reading to find out our top packing tips and the ultimate Bali packing list that includes everything you need to pack, and shouldn’t pack, on your trip to Bali!
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First things first, before we discuss in detail what you should and shouldn’t pack for your trip to Bali let’s talk about some of our favourite packing tips. After three years of full time travel these are the rules we live by when packing our bags:
Packing cubes – Nothing is worse then not being able to find that shirt you bought or that dress just when you were planning on wearing it for a night out. When living out of a backpack or a suitcase things can get messy quickly, but they don’t have to be. Using packing cubes you can easily stay organised during your trip, separating your clothes by either items or by occasion!
Less is more – When it comes to travel we honestly believe that less is more because there is nothing worse then having to carry around an extra 5kg of clothes that you never ended up wearing during your trip. One thing we always do is layout all our clothes before heading to our next destination, if we doubt if we should take it we simply leave it at home. This tactic allows us to currently travel full-time with a 30 litre bag that when it is full only weighs 8.5kg!
Mix & Match – Another tip that will help you to pack less is to make sure your clothes mix and match. This way you can create multiple outfits with just a few basic items. We make sure our clothes mix and match by laying them out on the bed before packing up our bags, this way you can see if the colours would easily match. We especially loving packing neutral colours such as black, grey, dark blue as these can very easily can be combined with other items!
Laundry – And last, but definitely not least, is do to laundry on the road if you are going on a trip that is longer then 2 weeks. With the amount of tourism in Bali it has become easier then ever to do laundry in Bali. We normally get laundry done at least a week and always try to find a place that does laundry by the kg (price often ranges between 10.000 – 20.000 IDR per kg). Most hotels will have laundry services as well but they often charge per item, which can get a bit expensive if you are traveling Bali on a budget. Another option is to pack a bit of laundry detergent with you and to hand wash a shirt or a pair of shorts!
The Ultimate Bali Packing List
Before we get into the exact details of what you should and shouldn’t pack, let’s talk about what you should pack your things in to Bali. We often get the question if you should bring a suitcase or a backpack to Bali, and in our honest opinion both are just fine. As there is a lack of public transportation in Bali you will probably have to hire private drivers to get from one destination to the other. And as they bring you from hotel to hotel it really doesn’t matter.
So what do we pack our things in? With the motto of “less is more” in mind we are currently traveling with a small duffel bag because the reality is that you really don’t need a lot of clothes for these tropical climates even if you are traveling full time. This small duffel has a rough 30L capacity and is an absolute no frills sturdy duffel with lockable zippers, exactly what we needed to keep our stuff safe during our travels! Over the last three years of full time travel we have really learned to pack as light as possible resulting in our bags currently only weighing 8kg each!
On top of the small duffel bag we each carry a day bag with our enormous amount of tech gear about which we talk a bit more below. Rob currently uses the PRVKE backpack from WANDRD and I am using a Sirrus hiking backpack from Osprey. Besides acting as day bags we also use these backpacks for overnight trips and hikes where we only pack the essentials and leave our small duffel bags behind at a hotel or guesthouse.
How about you, what do you normally use for traveling, do you prefer suitcases, backpacks or a simple duffel? Be sure to share it with us in the comment section down below! And now, without further ado, let’s talk about what travel essentials, clothes, toiletries and other things you should be packing for your trip to Bali…
Bali Travel Essentials
Now, before we start filling up that suitcase with clothes and shoes, let’s talk about the absolute essentials, the things you must take with you to Bali to make your vacation a guaranteed success. There are a couple of things that we don’t travel without anymore, no matter where we travel too, these are our favourite travel essentials:
Travel Towel – Travel towels are small in size, lightweight and dry quick, perfect for those days of relaxing at the beach or exploring waterfalls. We honestly don’t travel without quick dry towels anymore and use them on a daily basis!
Padlock – Keep your valuables safe with a simple combination padlock. This is especially a must have for backpackers who are planning on staying in dorms. A small padlock can be used to lock your valuables away in a locker so you can relax at the beach worry free.
Reusable water bottle – Many hotels and guesthouses these days will have a water refill station for their guests. So bring a reusable water bottle to not only save some money, but also to produce a lot less plastic waste during your travels in Bali!
Money Belt – There is nothing worse then loosing your passport or important documents during your travels, something that could easily ruin a trip of a lifetime! So to keep our most important documents save we always travel with a money belt, this way we can sleep on the plane and on public transport without any worry of being robbed.
VPN – While you can’t technically pack this, it is still an absolute must have these days as during a trip you log onto multiple (public) wifi networks, not knowing how safe or secure these networks are. For that reason, plus the fact that with a VPN we always have access to websites that otherwise might be restricted (such as Netflix), we use a VPN 365 days a year. Not sure what a VPN is or why you need a VPN? Read all about it on ExpressVPN here.
Travel Insurance – Technically another item you can’t pack, but it is so important that we believe this item deserves to be discussed in a bit more detail. Which insurance to get and where to get insured in depends on a lot of factors such as where are you going, what activities will you be doing during your trip, how long is your trip and what is your nationality. If you have no idea about travel insurances and don’t know where to start then perhaps check out these travel insurances, which are currently some of the most popular and well known travel insurances on the market:
We personally don’t use any of these insurances though, mainly because we travel 365 days a year and these insurances weren’t the best fit for us. I, Odette, am currently insured through OOM Verzekeringen a company that specialises in Dutch citizens who travel or live abroad long term. Through this travel insurance I am not only insured abroad but also at home when I visit my family. I’ve used this travel insurance for the last three years, have made multiple claims after having gotten sick on the road and don’t have plans to switch any time soon as for my personal circumstances they are great value.
Rob, who is from Canada, switched to Safety Wing last month so we don’t have much to share about this company yet. It is basically a travel insurance created by digital nomads for digital nomads, and while rather basic it has been one of the more affordable options for Rob on the market. We haven’t had to make any claims yet, and well honestly prefer to keep it that way. How about you, do you currently use travel insurance? Tell us about your experiences using travel insurance in the comment section down below, we would love to hear all about it.
What to wear in Bali
So now that you have packed all the essentials, it is time to move on to clothes. Now you might we wondering what to actually wear in Bali, and all we can say is: think hot. Bali is a tropical destination and temperates are on average above 30 degrees year round. With the spirit of packing light in mind we normally pack clothes for 7 days and simply wash our clothes on the road. We would advise you to do the same for any vacation that is longer then 2 weeks because or else your suitcase will just get too heavy. These are the basics we recommend packing for Bali:
- 5 Tops/T-shirts
- 1 Dress shirt
- 3 Shorts
- 1 Long pants
- 1 Sweater
- 7 Underwear
- 4 Pairs of socks
- 2 Swim shorts
- 1 Lightweight rain jacket
- 4 Tops/T-shirts
- 3 Shorts/Skirts
- 1 Long pants
- 1 Sweater
- 2 Dresses
- 7 Underwear
- 2 Bras
- 4 Pairs of socks
- 2 Bikinis/Bathing suits
- 1 Lightweight rain jacket
Accessories and Footwear
When it comes to clothes we highly recommend packing natural fabrics instead of synthetic fabrics as the latter can make it quite hot and sweaty in the warm tropical climate of Bali. However, these are just the basics and there are a couple more items we recommend packing, but these items do depend on the activities you are planning on doing. There is no need to pack workout clothes if you just want to relax at the beach and vice versa. Here are some of the items we recommend packing based on specific activities:
Dress code for temples in Bali – When it comes to visiting temples in Bali there is a certain dress code you should adhere to. A sarong is mandatory to be worn by both men and women and while often not stated, shoulders should be covered, not doing so can be considered quite rude. So bring a t-shirt for those days you are planning on visiting temples or even a thin scarf you could drape over your shoulders if you are mainly wearing tank tops. It is not necessary to pack a sarong as these can be rented or borrowed at the temple entrance.
Adventure seekers must haves – Bali is filled with some of the most natural sights we have seen in Asia. From stunning hikes, chasing waterfalls to white water rafting, adventure lovers could easily keep busy for weeks on this island. If you are planning on doing any of these or other adventurous activities we would highly recommend bringing a pair of sports shorts and a pair of water shoes or sandals as they dry a lot quicker then regular sneakers and jeans shorts. As we had a lack of space in our small bags we opted to bring a pair of Teva Sandals which has been doing the job, however, perhaps not the best long term solution due to the velcro.
Yoga and fitness lovers – And last, but definitely not least, of popular activities in Bali is yoga and fitness. If you are planning on doing a yoga retreat or a couple of classes, perhaps get a workout done or two during your trip then you might want to bring some workout clothes. Sports bras, leggings, sport shorts and a pair of sneakers are something you will find standard in our backpack, no matter where we travel to!
Next on the list, toiletries! There aren’t any specific toiletries that we would recommend packing specifically for Bali, and even if you forget any then know that you will be able to find almost everything here. One of the few things we would recommend bringing though is sunscreen, mainly because the options are fairly limited and quite expensive in Bali. If you are planning on doing any activities such as snorkeling or swimming in the ocean opt for reef safe sunscreen that is non toxic to the underwater environment. Besides this, here are the basics we always like to pack:
- Shaving items
- Nail clippers
- Make up
- Make up remover
- Aloe vera or after sun lotion
- Hair ties
- Nail file
- Face wash
- Feminine hygiene products
Space saving tip: Replace bulky shampoo bottles with shampoo bars! Not only are they an absolute space saver, they also produce less plastic waste and they can’t leak in your bag. We are currently using shampoo bars we bought from the DM in Germany, however, shampoo bars can also easily be ordered online or bought in stores like Lush. Plus, you can do the same for both soap as well as conditioner and save even more space!
On to the next category, health. Staying healthy while traveling is one of the most important things because getting sick can easily ruin your vacation. We have created a personal first aid kit that is a combination of over the counter medication and first aid kit essentials, perfect for when we are not feeling too well or accidentally get a cut or a scrape. Here is an idea of items that you could pack to create your own personalised first aid kit:
First aid kit essentials – We personally like to pack our first aid kit essentials is a small zip lock bag or pouch to keep everything need and tidy together, ready to grab it whenever we need it. This is what we personally pack in our first aid kit:
- Bandages in various sizes
- Betadine or other antiseptic
- Sterile gauze to either clean wounds or pack up larger wounds
- Tape to help keep gauze or bandages in place
- Blister bandaids
- Tweezers for those painful splinters
- Scissors to cut medical tape or gauze
- Antiseptic wipes
- Thermometer to take our temperature
Over the counter medication – Besides the basic first aid kit essentials we also carry a selection of over the counter medication with us:
- A selection of painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol
- Anti diarrhoea pills such as loperamide
- Oral rehydration salts (ORS)
- Motion sickness tablets for those bumpy boat rides
Over the years we have found that these over the counter medications were the absolute essentials for us to carry with during our travels, perfect for those emergency situations on the road. If you take any prescription medication be sure to only pack over the counter medication that you know how to use and that won’t interact with your other prescription medication, if you are unsure contact your doctor.
Prescription medicine – Besides the standard over the counter medication be sure to pack the necessary amount of prescription medication with you if you take any that will last you for the duration of your trip. Pack your prescription medication in your hand luggage if possible to avoid being without medication in case your luggage gets lost. If you pack any prescription medication with you be sure to check up on the latest drug laws of Indonesia and to take a valid prescription plus a doctor’s note with you. Indonesia has some of the most strict drug rules of Southeast Asia and tourists have been arrested in the past for bringing prescription medication with them without following correct procedure.
Insect repellent – And last, but definitely not least, is insect repellent. Mosquito bites are not only itchy and annoying but in Bali there is also a risk of Dengue Fever in Bali. As there is no vaccine for Dengue Fever the best way to prevent getting it is by preventing to get mosquito bites at all.
And there you have it, all the products we pack when it comes to staying healthy on the road. Is there anything else you pack in your first aid kit that you would find absolutely essential? Be sure to tell us in the comment section down below!
Tech & Electronics
So now that you have all the basics including must have essentials, clothing, toiletries and a first aid kit out of the way let’s move on to electronics. To us electronics are one of the most important part of packing our bags, mainly because we need them on a daily basis for our jobs. However, even if you are not a travel blogger, vlogger or photographer, there are probably still a couple of items you don’t want to forget to pack on your trip. Here are some of the most essential electronics to take with you to Bali:
Travel adaptor – So that no matter where your electronics come from and where you travel to you know that you will always be able to keep your devices charged. We especially love this travel adaptor as it has two USB ports built into the adaptor, allowing us to charge our laptops, phones and other electronics at the same time.
Camera – Can’t forget about capturing all those unforgettable moments on camera right! If you are planning on doing a lot of diving, snorkeling, or chasing waterfalls consider bringing an action camera like a GoPro, perfect for capturing those adventurous moments. Plus, don’t forget to bring the chargers and plenty of memory cards for your trip!
Phone – One of those essential items that you absolutely cannot forget is your phone. Make sure your phone is not sim locked so you can buy a sim card upon arrival, the perfect way to stay connected during your trip and have access to Google Maps, Whatsapp and other useful apps at all times.
Headphones – Pack your favourite headphones for those long plane flights, workouts and days of relaxing by the pool. If you carry wireless headphones make sure they are charged for your flight and don’t forget to pack that charger to keep your headphones charged for the rest of your travels!
Power bank – And last, but definitely not least, a battery pack. With a power bank you will always be able to charge your phone, no matter if it is on the plane, on those long taxi rides or in a hostel where you don’t have any plugs next to your bed. We love this power bank that not only lasts us multiple charges but also allows us to charge multiple devices at the same time!.
What tech & electronics we pack
As travel bloggers and vloggers we carry a whole lot more then the essentials we recommend above, something we definitely wouldn’t advise (our bags are kind of heavy) unless you are planning on pursuing a similar kind of career of course. We often get the question though what camera gear we use and what tech gear we carry with us, so if you are a slightly bit curious this is exactly what we pack:
Laptops, phones & Hard drives
- Seagate External Hard drive
- Macbook Pro 2012 13-inch
- Macbook Pro 2011 13-inch
- iPhone 6S
- iPhone 6S Plus
Other Tech & Electronics
So you are almost done packing and you will realise that both your checked luggage and your carry-on is getting quite full at this moment. We hope you have a little bit space left in your backpack or suitcase because there are still a couple of items we would recommend taking with you:
Earplugs – There is nothing more important then getting a good night’s sleep during your travels, something that can easily be disturbed due to a bit of noise. I personally love sleeping with earplugs, especially when staying in dorm rooms that is filled with fellow backpackers that snore, or decide to pack their back in the middle of the night!
Pen – Upon arrival you will have to fill in a customs declaration, so it is best to stick a pen in your hand luggage to avoid having to wait when that one pen becomes available. Besides, having a pen and notebook with you is always handy just to write those quick thoughts down during your travels!
Reusable cutlery – Planning on staying a night in and perhaps order some food? Be sure to pack have some reusable cutlery ready. As Bali banned single use plastic in 2019 you won’t get any plastic forks, spoons or knives with your food and while burgers and pizzas are quite easy to eat without cutlery, a pasta dish might not be! We love our spork as it is small, convenient, practical and durable, we have been using the same sporks for the last 3 years.
Toilet paper – When traveling Southeast Asia one of the things you’ll learn very quickly is to pack some toilet paper with you. A roll in your backpack or a small pack of tissues will be perfect for those emergency situations as you will find that not every toilet in Bali will have toilet paper present. Some toilets will only have a bum gun or a bucket of water present, something that many of us are not used to using. Be sure to check if you can flush the toilet paper though (usually there is a sign if you can’t), if not you will find a small garbage bin to deposit in instead!
Dry Bag – If you are planning on doing a lot of adventurous things in Bali then perhaps consider bringing a dry bag to keep your valuables safe and dry! These dry bags are great for visits to the beach, waterfalls, boat trips and those rainy days in Bali so you can explore Bali worry free.
Wet wipes – Antibacterial wet wipes have quickly became one of these things we don’t travel without anymore and one of the things we now simply always have in our hand luggage. Perfect for wiping that tray table in the plane down, to clean your hands or quickly clean up that spill.
Flashlight – And last on the list is a flashlight. A simple flashlight is great for those who are staying in dorms so you don’t have to turn the light in the whole room on when you can’t find something in your backpack, or for those early sunrise missions of course!
And there you have it, your backpack is now packed, full and ready to go for your trip to Bali. Are there any other items you don’t travel without? Be sure to share it with us in the comment section down below! And while your backpack or suitcase might be full, there are another couple of things that you can’t forget about, but more on that in the next section…
Last, but definitely not least, of things to pack for your trip to Bali is your travel documents. Making sure you have the right documents with you can make or break your trip to Bali. We always carry our documents with us in a thin document folder so that when needed we know exactly where everything is. Here are some of the most important travel documents you will want to pack for Bali:
Passport – Quite self explanatory but before your book that trip make sure there are still two empty pages in your passport and that your passport is still valid for 6 months from the day of your arrival (or 12 months if you are getting a visit visa).
Driver’s license – Another form of ID that can be useful even if you are not planning on driving in Bali. If you are planning on driving a car or riding a motorbike or scooter be sure to bring your International Driver’s License with you as well.
Bank cards – Can’t forget about those bank cards for your travels. We personally travel with over 2 cards each where some cards are solely used as backup cards in case one of our other cards gets lost, eaten by the machine or skimmed. Oh and don’t forget to contact your bank in advance and let them know you will be traveling abroad so your card doesn’t get blocked.
Cash – While you don’t need to bring thousands of dollars of cash with you we always recommend having $100 worth of hard currency with you, no matter where you travel to. This backup cash is great for emergencies in case for example you loose your wallet or there is an ATM disruption and none of the ATMs are working (this has actually happened to us in Bali before).
Copy of your documents – Next on the list, make sure to bring a copy of all your important documents, just to have a backup. We bring both a physical copy as well as have a copy on our email and saved on our laptops, just to be safe! Here are some documents that you will want to bring a copy of:
- Drivers license + international drivers license
- Travel insurance papers
- Flight tickets to Bali
- Flight confirmation of flights out of Bali
- Booking confirmations such as hotels or activities (digital copy should suffice)
- Emergency contact list (such as travel insurance, bank and Indonesia’s emergency number)
International certificate of vaccination or prophylaxis – This is a yellow booklet that you will often receive when you get vaccinations. We always carry this with us because some countries will deny you entry without the right vaccinations. For example, Indonesia requires travellers coming from countries with a high risk of Yellow Fever to bring a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate.
What not to pack
So now that we have discussed in length what you should pack, let’s talk about the things you should not pack for your trip to Bali. While many things can come in handy during a trip, a lot of items will also just simply take up too much space in your backpack (and leave less room to go shopping here). Here are a couple of items we wouldn’t recommend packing for Bali:
Jewellery – Leave expensive and sentimental jewellery at home as it is easy for it to get lost when going swimming or exploring waterfalls. Opt for some basic jewellery and perhaps even leave a bit of room in your suitcase to go shopping for jewellery here. They make the most incredible and stunning silver jewellery in Bali, and if you are interested you can even create do a silver course here and create some pieces of your own!
Cash – There are ATMs almost everywhere in Bali and unless you are going very off the beaten path we wouldn’t recommend to bring a lot of cash. We normally bring around $100 worth of emergency funds, in case ATMs aren’t working or if we are in an area where there are no ATMs are available.
Warm and thick clothes – Bali has a tropical climate and besides the early mornings in the more mountainous regions you don’t have to worry about being cold. Bring one sweater or rain jacket, perhaps one pair of light pants or leggings to keep your warm in case you are planning on, for example, hiking Mount Batur and those early morning scooter rides, and simply leave the rest at home!
Bali Travel Checklist
Before we end this post we wanted to share a quick checklist with you of things to organise before you head this Bali. This way you don’t have your bag and suitcase packed with all the travel essentials but will also arrive on Bali completely worry and stress free that you haven’t forgotten anything. We have mentioned some of the points already above, but just in case you missed it here is a full Bali travel checklist:
- Passport validity – Before heading to Bali check if your passport still has a 6 month validity from the day of your arrival (or 12 in case you have a visit visa) and if your passport has two empty pages.
- Visa – At this moment over 160+ nationalities can travel to Bali visa free for up to 30 days, check if you are one of these nationalities or if you need to arrange a visa before departing to Bali on the Indonesian Immigration website.
- Vaccinations – A couple of months before your departure visit your GP or travel health clinic to check if you are up to date on your vaccinations, the last thing you would want is to get sick on your trip!
- Prescribed medications – Do you take any prescribed medications? Be sure to take your prescription and your doctor’s note with you as the drug laws are extremely strict in Indonesia.
- Travel advisory – Before you head to Bali be sure to check the travel advisory for the latest updates on political situations and natural disasters in not only Bali but in the whole of Indonesia.
- Bank cards – Notify your bank a week in advance about your trip abroad so your cards won’t get blocked.
- Phone – Planning on getting a sim card upon arrival? Make sure your phone is sim lock free!
- List of emergency contacts – Before heading to Bali create a quick list of emergency contacts with the numbers of for example your travel insurance and your bank. This way, if needed, you can easily reach them while abroad.
- List of hotels – Create a quick list of the hotels where you will be staying including the address. We like to save or print the confirmation emails of our bookings as well as sometimes hotels will ask for this upon arrival.
- Airport transfer – And last, but definitely not least, arrange a private transfer from the airport to your hotel so you don’t have to haggle with taxis upon arrival. We normally book our airport transfer through Klook, a quick, easy and affordable solution where you can arrange your transfer with the click of a button online!
And there you have it, the ultimate packing list for Bali. Is there anything we have forgotten on this list, anything you don’t travel without and we shouldn’t either? Be sure to share it with us in the comment section down below! But before you go, be sure to check out some of our other guides filled with tips, tricks and sights to see in Bali:
- The ultimate 5 day Bali itinerary
- Bali bucket list: 80+ things to do in Bali
- Bali for first timers: 21 things to know before you go
- Bali visa extension: everything you need to know
- Bali travel budget: how to travel Bali on 20$ a day!