Packing for a holiday should be a fun way to start getting excited about your upcoming trip. Unfortunately, the thought of having to decide what to take and what to leave behind, and the fear that you might forget something is enough to make you put it off until the last minute. Save yourself the stress and get organised. A packing list can be a real lifesaver and we’ve put together all the essential items you’ll need for your trip to Bali.
The rule of thumb when packing for Bali is to pack light and simple. You can always buy more clothing locally if you run out or take your dirty clothes to a local laundry, which is a cheap way to have everything washed, folded and smelling beautiful again.
The important things
Some things are so important that you won’t even be able to get off the ground without them. Imagine getting to the airport and discovering that you’ve forgotten your passport or your wallet! Avoid any airport disasters by ensuring you have all your travel documents together in a folder, which also makes it easy to have one last look over them before you leave the house
Have two copies of your passport, travel insurance documents, and other important travel documents. Keep one copy in your carry-on luggage or in your handbag, and the other copy in your checked luggage. You can also scan your documents and upload the images to your cloud account so you can access them from your phone, or even a computer at your destination. Keep emergency contact phone numbers on hand too, just in case your phone runs out of charge or is not easily accessible.
If you are thinking of visiting other countries in Southeast Asia that require a Tourist Visa, you might find it helpful to bring along some extra passport-sized photos.
Although it’s easy to access money in Bali through ATMs, and most people bring Australian or US dollars to exchange when they arrive, it’s a good idea to bring a small amount of local currency just in case you’re unable to get to an ATM or change over your money right away.
- Passports – must have six months left before expiry
- Visa – if you are planning to stay longer than 30 days
- Airline tickets
- Travel insurance documents
- Accommodation and pre-booked activity receipts or booking info
- Credit/debit/travel money cards
- Driver’s license or photo ID
- 2 X photocopies of all your documents
- Emergency phone numbers
- Cash – Indonesian Rupiah and a travel calculator
- Money belt or secure bag – backpack or cross body handbag
- Lots of room in your suitcase – for purchases (clothes, souvenirs, gifts)
Clothing for ladies
Although you will be enjoying the sun and surf on your beach holiday, keep in mind that the locals in Bali dress conservatively. You’ll need to cover your knees and shoulders when visiting temples and sacred sites, or when exploring villages. Beach-wear is fine for most days, but make sure you have something dressy to wear when dining or going out to more expensive places. A good tip is to throw a light dress or kaftan over your swimsuit when you leave the beach.
One of the things you don’t have to worry about is being cold! All year round Bali is warm, and humidity is at its highest in the wet season (Jan – April). Light, airy clothing is essential. Leave the jeans and jackets at home. Activewear, especially moisture-wicking fabrics, are a great choice to keep you cool and avoid getting too sticky.
Bali has so many places to shop that if you’re thinking of bringing home some local items, keep your packing to a minimum and leave room in your suitcase for your purchases. If you’ve forgotten anything or decided you need an outfit for a special occasion, you can easily pick something up.
For shoes, a pair of comfy thongs/flip-flops is essential. Thongs are easy to slide on and off at the beach, or places where you might be required to remove your shoes. You can also purchase cheap flip-flops so it’s a good time to stock up or replace a pair that might be wearing out.
You may also want to pack sneakers or hiking boots if you have an adventure on your holiday to-do list, and a dressy pair of sandals for nights out at restaurants or clubs.
Save space in your suitcase, and find everything easily by packing your clothes in vacuum seal bags that you roll the air out of. If you put all your underwear together, all your beach things, dressy clothes etc. you’ll be able to get to what you need quickly.
- Underwear – one pair for each day, plus two spares
- Bra/sports bra – two for under your dresses/tops and one for working out
- Shorts – a comfy pair for day trips
- Skirt – change up with your shorts for a different look
- Sundress – two or three for lazy days
- Evening dress – one for dinner at a fancy restaurant with cocktails and dancing
- Long pants – something light and airy, not jeans
- T-shirts – to pair with your shorts and skirt
- Dressy top – wear with your pants or skirts to a nice dinner
- Socks – two pairs
- Swimsuit – 2 pairs if you have them, or buy a second one when you arrive
- Hat – broad brim
- Kaftan or light dress – perfect for throwing on after the beach
- Sneakers – for adventure days or using the gym
- Thongs – for most days
- Sandals or dressy flats – to wear with your evening dress
- Jewelry – leave anything valuable at home
- PJs or nightie
Clothing for men
Similarly as for women, it’s important not to over-pack, and avoid packing anything heavy that you won’t need in Bali’s hot and humid climate. It’s a good idea to pack long pants and a pair of dress shoes or loafers for any restaurants or clubs that enforce a dress code.
- Underwear – one pair for each day plus 2 spares
- Shorts – three pairs to change up your look
- Long pants – try a lighter fabric, not jeans
- T-shirts – one for each day
- Button down shirt – long or short sleeve for an evening out
- Board shorts or swimmers
- Loafers or dress shoes – to wear with pants and shirt
A handy tip when packing toiletries is to have liquids and creams in zip-lock bags just in case anything leaks during your flight due to pressure changes. There is nothing worse than opening your suitcase to find your clothes covered in toothpaste and shampoo. Remember that you cannot take liquids of more than 100ml in your hand luggage, so pack anything larger into your checked bags.
- Face wash
- Hairbrush and hair elastics
- Razor/shaving cream
- Makeup – minimal makeup is best as it will sweat off
Getting sick on holiday can really put a dampener on things, but it’s also impossible to plan for every contingency when it comes to packing a first-aid kit. Thankfully, chemists in Bali will have most of what you need. It’s still a good idea to pack a simple travel first-aid kit with basics and then purchase the rest if necessary.
Every first-aid kit should have anti-diarrhea medicine such as Imodium. However, a good tip is not to take it if you are able to stay near a toilet. Sometimes a case of traveller’s diarrhea can be made worse by trapping bacteria inside instead of allowing it to pass normally. Of course, if you have plans to go exploring, take it as directed.
Sanitary items are one of the things that are quite expensive in Bali, so if you need pads or tampons, be sure to pack the amount you think you’ll need. You can always buy more, but it’s nice to have the brand you like and know you can rely on.
- Travel first aid kit – bandaids, antiseptic cream, etc.
- Cold and flu medicine
- Immodium or similar
- Hand sanitiser
- Insect repellant
- Prescription medication
- Travel sickness tablets
- Baby wipes – essential even if you don’t have kids
- Sanitary items
No trip to Bali would be complete unless you spent some lays lazing on the beach (or by the pool) soaking up the sun and having a dip in the cool water. Some beach essentials can be purchased when you arrive, such a beach towel, pretty cover-ups and after sun gel. Sunscreen is notoriously overpriced, so it’s a good idea to bring some from home.
- Beach bag
- Towel – you may be able to borrow beach towels from your hotel, or buy one to save space in your luggage
- Aloe vera/after sun gel – coconut oil is a good alternative and can be purchased cheaply from local shops
- Lip balm
- Travel tissues
- Plastic or ziplock bags – to keep spills in and sand out
Most people these days won’t leave home without their phone, tablet, ebook reader, or even a laptop for taking advantage of free Wi-Fi in cafes and hotels. These items have become every day essentials and it makes sense you would want to bring them on holiday.
Indonesia uses the round, two-pronged, CEE7 power outlets common in Europe. Voltage is 230 volts / 50 Hz. Pick up a universal adapter before you leave and if you know you’ll be charging multiple devices, bring a powerboard. That way you’ll only need the one adapter and you’ll have a few ports for charging.
It’s also important to work out what kind of phone and data plan you are going to use before you leave. Give your provider a call, or check the options online. Most companies have plans that you can arrange to kick in when you arrive and have a certain amount of calls and data included. You can also access Wi-Fi in most places.
4G data plans can also be purchased when you arrive, but it’s a good idea to at least have an idea of pricing with your provider so you can compare the cost.
- Phone and charger
- Camera, spare batteries and memory cards
- iPad, tablet or laptop and charger
- International adaptor
Bali is such a good destination for children and if you bring your kids along, they are guaranteed to have a good time. Locals love kids as well and will dote on them wherever you go. As for adults, pack light! Kids will spend most of their time in their swimsuits or in shorts and t-shirts. Local laundries are easy to find so if you need to have kids’ clothes washed during your stay, you can do so for a couple of dollars.
Probably the thing that scares parents the most about travelling with children is the confined space of the flight. There is no need to be worried; just make sure you have a few snacks on hand, entertainment such as movies or games loaded onto the iPad, and a change of clothes for any spills or accidents. Flight staff are used to having kids on board and will come to the rescue should you need help; don’t be afraid to ask.
One thing to be aware of is that it’s easy to lose track of time when you are relaxing and children’s skin is delicate. Pack plenty of sunscreen and set a timer on your phone to remember to reapply throughout the day. Red, itchy, burning skin is a sure way to ruin both your kids’ holiday and yours.
- Change of clothes – for the flight
- Entertainment and snacks – iPad, books etc.
- Children’s pain relief and travel sickness tablets
- Nappies/wipes/hand sanitiser – for babies and little ones. You can also buy nappies when you arrive so you don’t have to pack too many
- Stroller/carrier – a portable cot is handy too if you have very small children or babies
- Clothes – dresses, shorts, t-shirts, swimwear and PJs
- Shoes/socks – sandals and sneakers (thongs for older kids)
- Plastic bags – for dirty clothes, rubbish or unexpected mess such as vomit
- Toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hair brush
- Milton antibacterial tablets – you can also use ½ tablet in bathwater, just leave for 15 minutes and then the kids can enjoy
- Children’s sunscreen
- Pool toys and floaties
- Beach towel – borrow or buy if you prefer
Before you go
You’re almost ready to leave for your trip to Bali, but there are a few last minute things to think about.
Try to avoid taking luggage and bags with recognisable logos. It’s no secret that Bali can be a haven for petty theft and bags that look like they are worth stealing could make you a target. You might also like to keep your luggage locked with either a padlock or a combination lock.
Any prescription medication must be in its original packaging. It’s important to note: some Australian prescription medication (including strong pain medication, sleeping pills and medicine for ADHD) are considered illegal narcotics under Indonesian law. If you are concerned about your medication, please check with the Indonesian embassy.
You need an international driving license to drive a car, motorcycle or scooter in Bali. Make sure you apply for an international license before you leave, and allow time for it to arrive.
When you think you have everything you need, have one last check to make sure you haven’t forgotten any of the essentials and avoid the pre-holiday panic.
- Double check your passports, insurance and tickets
- Check that your vaccinations are up to date and are the right ones for Bali
- Register with ‘Smartraveller’ and give a copy of your itinerary to a friend or family member
- Let your bank know you are travelling overseas if you are going to take your credit/debit card
- Exchange some money so you have local currency when you arrive
- Book and confirm transfers to your hotel/villa/resort
- Confirm with your accommodation a week before you depart and print booking receipts
- Prescription medication in original packaging
- International driver’s license
- International phone/data plan
Enjoy your holiday to Bali!