What to Take to Bali – Your Essential Bali Packing List
What to take to Bali will cover most tropical destinations if you are heading off to a beautiful sandy beach. If you are heading to a place that has high humidity the best Bali travel advice I have for you is travel light!
While that may seem a no brainer if we don’t follow a packing guide or packing checklist we tend to over pack. I’m not perfect at the art of packing light however I am much better than I use to be, recently I traveled to Chicago with just a carry-on!
Very soon after I put together all my packing secrets, hints, and tips in this free video series that you can download here.
By traveling light I also mean with lighter fabrics, think cool cotton here and leave the denim behind, you won’t wear it! Sure you might see the Balinese wearing skinny jeans, long T’s and even jackets, that’s because they’re used to the humidity.
What to Take To Bali – The Essentials for Your Suitcase
Apart from your usual obvious documents such as your passport, if you are travelling to Bali consider taking an International Drivers License. There are plenty of people who travel to Bali without one and we have previously, however, on our last trip to Bali we hired a car and traveled around Bali by car. This time, we thought it essential we have one for our month long road trip and yep you guessed it didn’t need it once!
We hired motorbikes on the last and previous visits too and haven’t been pulled over by the Police, but I’ve seen it many times. It’s a national sport there and the cops are on the take for sure.
We spoke to an Aussie local who told us the first time he was pulled over without a license he asked the policeman if it would mean he’d have to go to court? He was told he would, so asked, when? As he’d never been to a Balinese court and was looking forward to the experience. As it was a story the cop hadn’t heard before, didn’t know what to do and let him go, without a bribe!
If you are unfortunate enough to be pulled over without a license always make sure you isolate around IDR 20-50,000 away from your main money and ask if that covers the “fine”. It will, then you can get on with your day.
This is a hot topic. Some people won’t leave home without it, some never buy travel insurance and some rely on their credit card covering them. I’ve dedicated a whole article addressing if Travel Insurance really worth it, here.
A friend was delayed flying home from Bali due to Denpasar airport closing as there was dust from an active Volcano. His airline also made the decision they wouldn’t fly until completely safe so he had to stay in Bali an extra 12 days! (That would be NO hardship!) ?
He claimed 12 days of expenses through his credit card company and received the full amount back. You’d have to be happy with that!
For health insurance coverage, please make sure you read the fine print as Medical Evacuations can cost the same amount as a small luxury car.
Take your usual toiletries that you already use at home. The only difference I make is the quantity I take. One thing that I’ve been happy to discover is a beautiful luxe skincare travel kit. Holds all my essentials and has a lip balm you can take on the plane with you to fight off that awful dry cabin air.
TIP: A few days before you travel pack your toiletry bag and use it for a few days that way you’ll notice if you need to add an item or take one out before you go.
Don’t worry if you forget something, it’s all available in Bali, usually at a cheaper price. Sunscreen is the opposite it’s VERY expensive, think triple the price, so make sure you have enough for your entire trip!
Prescription Drugs and Vitamins
If you are taking prescription drugs then a letter from Doctor might be in order as a precaution if your questioned at customs. Vitamins are pretty self-explanatory so you’ll have no problems taking them in, but do take them with as they are similar to sunscreen, expensive!
Are Malaria tablets necessary? That’s another hot topic. Personally, I don’t take them and have been traveling to Bali for many years. In fact, I can’t take them if I wanted to as I have an allergic reaction, apparently because of the quinine content.
I first tried taking them before I lived in Zimbabwe, Africa for 2 years. Long story short, I’ve never had Malaria. If you take the usual precautions at dusk and dawn you’ll be perfectly fine. Ultimately tho it’s your decision.
Mozzie Repellent and Anti-itch Creams or Lotions
Mosquito repellent is essential if you are near water and out in the evening. Take some from home or you can buy it there. Even one of the resorts we stayed at last time supplied a bottle for us which was a great touch. This is the one we used there and found it pretty effective.
If you are unfortunate enough to be bitten a mosquito then you’ll probably need an anti-itch cream. I wasn’t bitten by mosquitoes, however, the sea lice in Amed had a feast on my arms! Boy, do those things itch! My usual soothers just didn’t make a difference. Some staff saw me scratching one night and recommended their own “local” remedy. I bought some and it turned out to be Eucalyptus oil.
That didn’t do the job either so another traveler suggested his cream. It was a cortisone, which I’d really prefer not to use, however, I need some sleep as the bites had kept me awake most the previous night so I used a little and as if by magic they stopped itching. Relief for about 4 hours.
Don’t be concerned about sea lice as they are only present in the northern waters at a certain time of year (March), the wind is blowing a certain way and the current flowing a certain way.
Another essential I carry is Acqua Ear as it help water-logged ears unblock. A few drops after diving, snorkeling or swimming is all that’s needed generally to clear your ears.
If that doesn’t work then maybe ear candling will help. Kevin has this done every time he’s been in the water for a few days, otherwise, it leads to an ear infection which isn’t very pleasant.
As a travel blogger, it appears that I take my whole office with me, which isn’t completely true as I do swap my iMac for my Macbook Air! Here’s my list
- iPhone 6
- MacBook Air
- Powerboards – if you are two traveling together then 2 phones and 2 pad devices and/or laptops are
- Power Converters – if you forget them they are plentiful, available everywhere at great prices. Most hotels supply one too.
- Canon 760D DSLR, cords, spare batteries, mics, flash, storage cards and lenses
- Kaiser Bass Pro X150 Action Camera – fantastic for zip lining, SUPing, snorkeling, white water rafting, etc
- External hard drive – for photo storage
Naturally if you are not a travel blogger then you won’t need a list as large!
Clothing & Shoes
I’ve left the best till last. Even if you are traveling to Bali for more than a week you probably won’t need to take any more than a weeks worth of clothing.
Laundry services are cheap and available in most streets usually around all the larger hotels and resorts. There was even a laundry in one of the places in Bali where we stayed last trip on a quiet road in Umalas, near Seminyak, plus, I’ve also seen them in the remotest places in Bali.
Years ago the Laundry’s were notoriously bad at returning your clothing 4 sizes smaller, however, they seem to have overcome that problem and now returned clean and folded perfectly, often individually wrapped!
Leave your stiletto’s and platform shoes at home, seriously you won’t wear them. Even in the most up-market restaurants and resorts a nice pair of sandals are all you will need.
On my last trip, I did spy a young Chinese girl in my group wearing platforms and had all sorts of problems negotiating the footpaths as they are often incomplete, uneven or non-existent in Bali, depending on where you stay. Although that was the same girl who wore a long chiffon calf length dress White Water Rafting, ? I kid you not! How she managed the 600 stairs down to the river and 400 stairs out, I’m not sure!
- I live in strapless or thinly strapped dresses in Bali I take 3
- Sarongs – multipurpose – double as a shawl over your shoulders if you are visiting a temple
- 2 x shorts – essential if you are on and off a motorbike and don’t ride side-saddle as some local ladies do
- 3 x tops
- 2 x light evening dresses such as a kaftan but make sure they are light
- 2-3 pieces of swimwear as one pair will always be wet!
- Thongs, you may call them flip-flops (just in case you were wondering) ?
- Sandals – As I’ve previously mentioned
- Trainers – only if you are planning to walk every day or volcano trekking
- Outerwear – a jacket again only if you are volcano trekking
That’s pretty much it!
I know that may seem very light packing list but I can almost guarantee you will be able to buy what you didn’t pack and may need in Bali. Bali shopping is a favorite Aussie pastime there. From market stalls to upmarket dress shops or even tailors if you want something made. It’s all available in Bali!
Did that cover what to take to Bali for you or did I miss something that you would add? After all, it’s not really what you take to Bali it’s what you bring home – priceless memories.