Are you planning a vacation in Bali and want to know what to pack? This list will ensure you don’t forget any essentials, leaving you to enjoy your trip to the full.
Early morning light on Mount Agung, Bali © Chris Mitchell
You don’t need to bring much for a vacation in Bali. This list of items will help you get the most from your trip with tips on what you need and what you can leave behind.
Preparing For A Vacation In Bali
Some of the most crucial things you need for an adventure to Bali won’t be in your luggage at all. These are the essentials to sort before you even think of packing.
- Make sure your passport has at least 6 months before it expires, and at least one blank page.
- Check the visa situation for Indonesia. Many nationalities now get 30 days admittance to Indonesia without needing a visa – you simply arrive at the airport and pass thru Immigration. However, the situation is fluid so be sure to doublecheck.
- Compare the prices and timings of flights to Bali between all major airlines on Skyscanner. Booking three months in advance of your departure date is a good time to get the best deals.
- Also book at least your first couple of nights accommodation in Bali. Depending on the time of year, Bali can be busy, so it’s wise to book ahead. Booking.com has a wide selection.
- Bali is a big island so do some research into the best area to stay for your interests. See Travel Happy’s 1-week Bali itinerary and 2-week Bali itinerary for a sense of the major areas. For more detailed info, a guidebook like Lonely Planet Bali is still the easiest way to quickly get the specifics on each area.
- Check with a doctor or nurse which vaccinations you need for Indonesia and get them at least 6 weeks before you depart.
- If you use prescription medicines, get enough from your doctor to keep you fully covered during your trip.
- Face mask – COVID is still very active in many countries and you may be required to wear an SFP2 facemask on the plane and in some indoor spaces. It’s also a good idea to carry a small bottle of hand sanitiser when you travel.
Travel Insurance For Bali
Considering travel insurance for your trip? World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 adventure activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.
Luggage For A Vacation In Bali
- Backpack – If you plan moving around rather than being based in one resort, a backpack rather than suitcase is the best option. Osprey produce excellent ergonomic backpacks that won’t put any stress on your back. A day pack is also helpful for everyday use.
- Packing Cubes – Packing cubes help you stay organized without having to empty your luggage on the bed every time you need to find something.
- Toiletry Bag – A well-designed toiletry bag that keeps everything tidy in multiple pockets is a great time saver.
- Luggage Locks – Luggage locks are useful for keeping your possessions safe in transit. Make sure they’re TSA approved, if you’re traveling from the US.
What Clothes To Pack For Bali
- Basic Outfits – Cotton and linen are good lightweight choices that let your skin breathe in Bali’s tropical humidity. Heatwicking sportswear – like UnderArmour tops and underwear – is even more effective. These keep moisture away from your skin, keeping you much more comfortable than other fabrics.
- Walking Shoes – Good quality lightweight and breathable walking shoes are also good. Flip flops provide more freedom but breathable walking shoes provide more comfort, support and protection.
- Fleece – A fleece or hoodie is useful for cold evenings or heavily air-conditioned environments like airports, airplanes or minivans. They also serve as impromptu pillows.
- Towel – A quick drying towel is super useful as a multipurpose item – and it packs away to a tiny size.
- Sarong – Similarly, a sarong is useful as a beach wrap, towel, blanket and for general lounging around.
- Evening Wear – Long, lightweight dresses, skirts or pants are essential for wearing at dusk when mosquitoes are most active. You want to be as covered up as possible to avoid getting bitten. Liberal and frequent application of mosquito repellent is vital. Getting a bunch of mosquito bites on the first night of your Bali visit can add a real itch to the remaining days.
- Swimwear – Bring several bikinis or trunks so you can rotate them and let them dry out. Similarly, if you’re planning yoga or other activities, it’s best to bring several favorite outfits, as you’ll need to change every day. A big hat is also a good idea to keep the sun off.
- Waterproof Jacket – If you’re traveling to Bali in monsoon season (October to April), be prepared for heavy downpours. There’s still plenty of sunshine, but when it rains, it really rains. A lightweight hooded waterproof jacket that you can stash in your bag is a good idea. A baseball cap will your head dry. Remember to keep your phone and other valuable items waterproofed. Wrapping them in a plastic bag will do at a pinch. Ziplock bags are a more durable option.
Health And Grooming Items To Pack For Bali
- General – Things like deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, and shower gel can all be bought in supermarkets or convenience stores like K Circle. Bring razors, tampons and other intimate products with you if you have a preferred brand.
- Deodorant – If you want deodorant in your carry-on luggage, you can use stick deodorant which is approved by TSA guidelines and won’t get confiscated.
- Mosquito Repellent and Sunscreen – Mosquito repellent is essential to stop you getting itchy bites. Try to use a sunscreen that’s non damaging to the ocean if you’re planning on beach time and swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving.
- Medication – Bring some handy packs of diarrhea tablets and indigestion remedies in case the change of diet doesn’t agree with you or you’re unlucky enough to get food poisoning.
- Water – Also make sure you stay properly hydrated. Drink at least 3 liters of water a day.
- First Aid Kit – A small first aid kit with Band-Aids, disinfectant cream and so on is useful for everyday cuts and scratches.
- Toilet Paper – Many rest rooms in Indonesia have a bum gun – a jet of water from a hose you use like a primitive bidet. This is actually more effective and hygienic than toilet paper. Indeed, toilet paper is never a given. The ingenious Campers Toilet Paper is a great portable solution. Hand sanitizer is also useful.
- Condoms – Keep some condoms in your toilet bag just in case. You may think it’s presumptuous, but it’s crucially important to ensure your own protection and that of your partner. Amazon can help you if you’re too shy to buy over the counter.
Cell Phones and Electronic Devices
- SIM Card – Get a local SIM card. It’s much cheaper to use a local Indonesian SIM card and avoid roaming charges. You can buy an Indonesian SIM card online with Klook and pick it up at the airport on arrival in Bali. This can be more convenient than going direct to a telcoms store.
- Waterproof Phone Cover – If you’re going to be on the beach or drinking by the pool, get a waterproof pack for your phone, tablet and so on. Salt water, sand and electronics do not mix.
- Shock Absorbing Phone Case – Get a decent shock absorbing case for your phone. You want a case that can safely protect the phone from being dropped on sidewalks and tiled floors – there are very few carpets in Bali. The Otterbox range has saved my phone from several heart stopping accidents.
- Power Bank – Remember that taking photos and using online maps will burn through your battery pretty quickly. Ensure you have power for your phone while you’re out and about by getting a power bank.
- Universal Plug Adaptor – You’ll need a universal plug adaptor, preferably with surge protection. Bali uses C/F types of plug.
- Flashlight – Your phone also doubles as a flashlight, but it’s useful to carry a tiny but powerful flashlight on your keyring like the Nitecore Tube. A small personal security alarm that makes a huge noise is a good source of reassurance.
Money For Visiting Bali
Indonesian currency is the rupiah. Foreign ATM cards will work in Bali and Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted. American Express is not so common. Tell your bank you’re traveling in Indonesia to avoid your cards being blocked. Bring more than one card as backup if possible.
- You can get Indonesian rupiah from the ATM at Bali airport when you first arrive. Bring a few hundred US dollars in cash as well, as USD tends to get the best exchange rate and can also be used directly in some situations.
- Be vigilant at ATMs for card data readers glued over the card slot. If there’s something sticking out of the ATM, give it a good tug first to see if it’s really part of the machine.
- Don’t be surprised if there’s a 3% surcharge for using a credit card – it’s common in South East Asia to pass the processing fee directly to the customer as part of the transaction.
- Don’t keep all your money and credit cards in one billfold or purse, spread them around your person. Keep valuables in front pockets is wise, rather than to the back. A money pouch around the neck is a hidden secret stash but still accessible to you. To my mind this is much more comfortable than a money belt.
- The usual travel rules apply as anywhere in the world: don’t carry more than you can afford to lose, keep credit cards in different pockets, place surplus valuables in a hotel safe when you can, and basically avoid any ostentatious displays of wealth like jewelery, watches and so on. It’s frankly far more likely you’ll lose it than have it stolen so why take the risk?