Planning a trip to New York but not sure what you should pack? Here’s my guide on what you’ll need to take with you to have an amazing holiday and fall in love with one of the coolest cities on the planet.
The key with clothes is to pack light as you’re probably going to go shopping and want to buy a lot of wonderful things. So, don’t over-pack. Keep it light as possible, packing your go-to favourites. I always try to take as many of my clothes as possible out of the clean laundry pile, because I know I actually wear those.
Basics for all year round
New York isn’t the place to get around in your daggiest travel gear. You can if you want to, of course, but it’s one of those places you can pack some of your nice clothes and not feel bad about taking up precious luggage space. You’re probably going to want to visit a few nice bars, clubs and restaurants and it’s nice not to stick out as a tourist if you can. So, pack a few nice outfits and shoes for the special occasions. It’s a chance to dress up on your holiday!
It’s also important you pack really comfortable clothing for those long days of sightseeing. Loose-Fitting tops, comfortable shorts and jeans and, of course really comfortable footwear is essential. Pack your joggers or flat shoes like converse, but pack a few pairs you can change between if your feet start to hurt from wearing the same pair of shoes.
This is the city to pack your hats and wear them with pride! Bring all your finest headwear, if you like, especially if you plan on being out in the sun all day.
Winter & Autumn
The winter months are very cold and it gets quite chilly in Autumn too, so you’re going to need to pack clothes you can layer. Think things like singlet/vest tops, long-sleeve shirts, cardigans and jumpers then your coats. You are going to need warm socks, gloves or mittens, beanies and scarves too. Pack jeans and other warm long pants, plus some warm woolly stockings or similar that you could layer underneath skirts if you wanted to. Consider packing thermal underwear if you’re not used to cold winter temperatures. In terms of footwear, you may need to pack boots so you don’t get cold or wet feet from sludgy snow.
Summer & Spring
In the warmer months, you’ll need clothes that breathe, especially in summer when it gets very hot and humid. In spring you’ll still need to pack a cardigan or wrap to put over your shoulders if the air gets chilly in the evenings. Otherwise, pack things like summer dresses, strappy tops, shorts, skirts, t-shirts and other clothing that’ll keep you cool. In terms of footwear, you’ll still need comfy shoes but you can also switch it up with strappy flats and sandals. You may also like to pack your swimwear in case your hotel has a pool.
It tends to rain quite a bit, so be sure to pack an umbrella or rainproof overcoat you can pull on if it starts to drizzle. A very small umbrella you can tuck in your day bag and carry around with you all day would be ideal.
You’re going to need a bag to put all your essentials in for a day of sightseeing. Guys might like to take a backpack, women might like to take something else. Just make sure whatever you take has a sturdy zip on it and is a bag you can feel comfortably safe with as there may be pickpockets around in heavily touristy areas. Find day packs here.
Pack your camera gear, the good stuff, because honestly, you’re going to want to take a million photos. I also recommend packing your tripod as there are some truly beautiful places you’ll want to capture to the very best of your ability. Consider packing a spare memory card and spare camera battery as well.
Bring a small bag packed full of essential medicines with you, bring things like cold and flu tablets, hay fever/allergy medicine, ibuprofen, paracetamol, tumms and Imodium. You should also definitely pack your prescription medicines and anything special you may require, like a Ventolin inhaler for asthmatics. There are plenty of chemists in New York, of course, but it’s important to be prepared just in case you’re struck down with a tummy bug and stuck in your room.
Tissues and wet wipes
Pocket packs of tissues and wet wipes tucked into a bag will come in helpful in a few different situations i.e. accidentally touching something sticky or furry on the subway. Don’t be a victim, be proactive. If you’re a germ-a-phobe, I recommend packing a bottle of hand sanitiser which can be used, with a tissue, to sanitise a toilet seat.
Pack your beloved brand-name essentials like cosmetics, electric toothbrush heads and feminine hygiene products. Also, pack your environmentally friendly products and products for sensitive skin, as it may be difficult to get your hands on these while you travel. Don’t waste money on travel minis, use refillable bottles instead.
My packing tips and travel hacks
If like me, you travel with two laptops, an iPad, two phones, a camera and a GoPro, then you’re going to need more than one power point. By one power-point converter and take a power board with multiple plug-ins on it. It makes life so much easier!
Stash some eco-friendly bags and reusable sandwich bags in your luggage, they come in so very handy for storing dirty shoes and clothes as well as bars of soap, wet swimwear or leaky toothpaste tubes!
I use Tupperware or similar clear, hard plastic containers to organise my luggage. I use a separate small container for toiletries, jewellery and electronics like adapters, cords and chargers. It keeps me organised and stops me from losing things! This also ensures no leaks will destroy my clean clothes and makes it really easy for me to grab it in one easy swoop, keeping things together in the hotel and makes re-packing easier too.
Put dryer sheets in your suitcase to keep your clothes smelling good throughout the whole trip, easy! No more musty smelling clothes for you, my friend.
The Trackstick II is so very cool and will appeal to the nerdy data types out there (i.e. my husband). It’s a GPS receiver the size of a memory stick, it can be used to track your every step for weeks! Take it with you in your pocket and you’ll have a satellite album of your travels. You can see where you’ve been, shown via a red line that is traced on satellite photos and 3D terrain. Told you it was cool. It continuously records its exact route, stop times, speed, direction and other valuable information, all of which is easily downloaded to your computer.
Watch my fun packing video!
Phoebe is a travel writer and photographer with a love for storytelling and making people laugh. Matt is a videographer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and big adventures. Together we inspire big adventures through our guides, videos, vlogs and photographs. Find out more about us here.