New York City Vacation Packing List: Great Tips From A  Resident

Preparing a vacation packing list will help to ensure the most enjoyable and stress-free vacation possible. Forget to bring something as simple as an umbrella, and you can be sure that there will be a 5-hour downpour.

Now THAT makes for a miserable day! Yes, you can purchase forgotten items in New York City, but you may not have the budget, time, desire, or convenient moment (such as during a downpour), to purchase them.
I will help you to anticipate some potential vacation pitfalls and prepare accordingly.

Having lived in New York City for my entire life, I can offer you tips for your vacation packing list that will help you to maneuver about the big apple in a much easier, relaxed fashion. I’ve experienced it all, so learn from my mistakes!


1. Prepare a complete New York City vacation packing list in advance. This allows you to think through your needs thoroughly. Keep your New York City vacation packing list with you in NYC in the unlikely event that your luggage is lost. It does happen. It has happened to me twice. You will need it to report your loss to the airline and to your insurance carrier.

2. Here’s my mantra…repeat after me: “I will pack as little as possible.” Try to condense your items into one carry-on suitcase with wheels, per person. Pack an additional, less bulky tote, within your luggage, to cart souvenirs home. And, you'll save money on heavy checked luggage.

3. If you travel with a carry-on suitcase, you don’t have to worry about late or lost luggage. In some instances, I’ve waited hours for my luggage to come down the ramp to the carousel. Beginning or ending your holiday with this black cloud can really dampen your vacation spirit. And, if you have kids, it can make for a very cranky clan. Additionally, wheeling one suitcase throughout the airport creates a much more pleasant arrival and departure experience. You can breeze through the airport and stop to pick-up a newspaper without readjusting yourself needlessly. My vacation packing list will help lessen what you pack.

4. Affix an identification tag with address and cell phone number to all bags. Add something to your bag that identifies it as yours, and only yours, such as a ribbon or sticker. So many bags look alike. It's easy for someone to take your bag by mistake.

5. New York City can be VERY hot, humid, and sticky in the summer, and VERY cold, windy, and messy with melted, dirty snow in the winter. But, we do have anomalies. It snowed on Easter a few year’s ago, and temperatures hit 75 degrees during Thanksgiving for two years in a row, so, you never know! The lesson here is to check the weather forecast before you go and pack appropriately. You’ll be glad you did.

6. Pack valuables like jewelry, money, prescription medications, and the like, in your carry-on. Most airline insurance companies do not cover these items if lost or stolen.

7. Pack perfume, shampoo, and other liquids in plastic bags. They can leak and make your clothes a mess and virtually useless.

8. Bring as many wrinkle-free items as possible. Yes, most hotels have irons, but who wants to iron on vacation?

9. If you choose to check your luggage, carry a change of clothes and basic toiletries on the airplane in the event your luggage is misplaced for the day.

10. When planning your vacation packing list, select 3 days worth of clothes that can be hand-washed and reused. You’ll be

able to pack a lot less clothing and leave extra room in your suitcase for special souvenirs. This will also allow you to follow my recommendation of bringing just one carry-on per person. In order to achieve this more successfully, especially for a family, take an hour or two during your vacation and go to a laundromat--bring a sandwich along. I always do this when I travel. It really cuts down on the amount of clothing that I have to bring--and bring home.

11. Do NOT carry your money in your backpack. Carry it in your front pant’s pocket, or in your pocketbook held closely to your body at all times. I’ve had my pocketbook cut-open, money stolen, without even noticing. As I've said, learn from my mistakes!

12. View the weather report each day before you venture out to tour, and bring appropriate articles in your backpack or pocketbook with you. See my special list below entitled "Items to carry in a backpack or travel pocketbook."

13. Use your New York City vacation packing list for repacking your suitcase to return home. You can refer to your list to ensure that you haven't forgotten anything.


1. Add a product called “Wrinkle Free” to your vacation packing list. (It’s made by Downy.) Spray it on your clothes and your wrinkles disappear in a few minutes. I’m waiting for the face version!:>

2. Check out the Xubaz Cargo II Scarf ( for securing your valuables ON YOU! With six pockets on the outside and two smaller nested pockets, this scarf can store valuables for travelers who don't want to wear bulky cargo jackets or vests. Available in black or khaki, the suede-finished scarf is roomy enough to store passport, tickets, or even small wallets and mobile devices.

3. This portable, expandable travel pillow is packed to flat small few inches, and expands to a luxurious 13-by-17 inches. This is great for traveling on planes and trains (especially with kids) and for those staying in hostels.

4. Kwik Point ( if you don't speak any English or Spanish (lots of New Yorkers speak Spanish), then perhaps you'll be more comfortable carrying around this handy booklet. It's a pamphlet that displays pictures of common travel needs--a bus, toothpaste, etc. It's surely more dignified to point to a picture of a bathroom than to act it out!

5. Luggage Ideas: There are many unique items that can make packing and travel easier such as:
6. Stuffitts Odors-Killing Bags ( stash the gang's smelly laundry in this drawstring nylong bag. A removable panel inside contains wood and oils that absorb moisture and neutralize odors, so no stinky suitcases! Just $30.

7. Trakdot is a palm-size device that travelers can toss into their bags to track luggage via the Internet or a smartphone app. It sells for $50, plus fees. Love this.

8. Lush Solid Shampoos ( great for carry on and meets with the TSA regulations. There is nothing worse than bringing a tad too much shampoo and having to throw it out at security. With Lush solid shampoos, all you have to do is wipe the moistened, solid bar on your wet hair a few times and you have a wonderful shampoo.

9. Diaper Buds ( are great travel diapers, come individually wrapped and vacuum-packed designed to take up a lot less space in your diaper bag or suitcase. When you peel off the packaging, diaper pops into full-size and functions as well as any disposable diaper. Comes in lots of sizes.

10. The Rise Roller ( is a wheeled duffel bag with shelves that can be neatly packed shelf by shelf. When you reach your destination, the bag can then be hung in a closet as if it were a traveling chest of drawers.



General Items:
  • Copy of medical history
  • Credit cards: advise your bank/credit cards companies if you’re traveling abroad or to a new city
  • Travel and medical insurance documents
  • Wallet (Dah!) Check out this tear-resistant NYC Subway Map Mighty Wallet. I just couldn't resist tell you about it.
  • Copy of your New York City vacation packing list
  • Photo ID
  • Passport and Visa, if necessary (check expiration date) and e-mail yourself a copy of each in the event that they are lost
  • Travel alarm clock or use your cell phone
  • Plastic bags
  • Lock: if staying at a hostel, see my comprehensive hostel packing list.
  • General laundry supplies for quick hand washing. Check out this fantastic guide to make your own travel laundry kit. You can’t go wrong when you bring this along!
  • Currency converter, if necessary.


  • Very comfortable walking shoes
  • A pair of good shoes (For a nice restaurant—highly recommended)
  • 1 button-down shirt
  • 1 tie
  • 1 jacket
  • Closed shoes or rubber boots: After a summer rain, or rain after snow, Manhattan is famous for the most ENORMOUS puddles at each street corner. There is no way around them. Think Atlantic Ocean.)
  • Sandals (for summer or in lieu of comfortable walking shoes)
  • Belt
  • Underwear
  • Casual shirts
  • Shorts, seasonal
  • Jeans
  • T-shirts
  • Pajamas
  • Workout clothes, if needed
  • Bathing suit (if your hotel has a pool)
  • Lots of warm layers, gloves and hat for the winter


  • Very comfortable walking shoes
  • Closed shoes or rubber boots for rain and/or snow. Check out these foldable rainboots, or this pair that comes with its own wrap around toggle.
  • Sandals (if summer, or if you prefer sandals to walking shoes)
  • 1 pair of nice shoes (for a nice restaurant or to dress up an outfit)
  • Short, pants, skirts; depending on the season
  • Tops
  • Bathing suit (if your hotel has a pool)
  • Bras
  • Underpants
  • Pajamas
  • Jewelry
  • 1 wrinkle-free dress (For a nice restaurant-highly recommended)
  • 1 light sweater for air-conditioned restaurants and theaters
  • Workout clothes, if applicable
  • Lots of warm layers,gloves and hat for the winter.


  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Your medications
  • Powder
  • Blow dryer (Most hotels have them, check their website before bringing one.)
  • Brush and comb
  • Deodorant
  • Makeup
  • Moisturizer
  • Women’s personal hygiene products
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Floss
  • Shampoo and conditioner (Your hotel may provide them.)
New York CityPASS

(in a backpack or travel pocketbook that zips closed!)

  • A small, compact umbrella
  • Your discount cards and coupons
  • Your itinerary
  • A New York City Street Map
  • A New York City subway map
  • Sunscreen
  • Anti-Nausea lollipops (for city cruises, buses, airplanes, cars, and pregnancy!) Love these!
  • Band aids (for blisters and cuts)
  • Sunglasses that fold completely flat (
  • Binoculars (for tops of buildings)
  • Anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, like Purell (you’ll thank me)
  • Hat (for summer and winter)
  • Water bottle: to be refilled as needed. (No need to spend $2 each time you are thirsty. especially if you have a family.)
  • Carry snacks like fruit, candy bars, chips, whatever. This will help you to avoid costly snack bars, machines, and stores when you are hungry.
  • Camera and/or video camera
  • Cell phone (don’t forget your charger)
  • Cash, ATM card and/or credit card
  • Reading material for waiting time at attractions
  • Playing cards and/or entertainment for your kids, for waiting on lines.
  • English dictionary or phrase book; if needed
  • Aspirin
  • Pen/paper

These items are essential to any vacation packing list!


Yes, your phone can help you pack! All of the following tools are free or very low cost!
  • Travel List ($1.99) gives uncomplicated and effective packing solutions. You'll love the special alarms that will alert you that you've forgotten specific items.
  • Packing Pro ($2.99) is helpful if you are packing for business or several people as you'll like the options it provides.
  • Trip List (free) allows you to choose categories of things to pack including documents, clothing and electronics from an "items catalog." There are other helpful categories including but not limited to 'family" which has an app for kids and 'outdoor' where you'll find reminders for air mattresses, a camping stove and flashlights.
  • Stylebook ($3.99) provides an index things in your closet and determines that clothes you should wear most and least. If you tap on the "packing" icon you'll discover four packing lists, including New York City. To utilize the list, tap "look" or "closet" and begin adding items from your closet.
These apps are great for planning (you can do it on the bus, car or while you're waiting somewhere) what you want to bring so you won't forget anything.


Check out my super tips and suggestions for making travel with kids a breeze. I guarantee that you will use at LEAST one of my tips during your vacation. Click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Here are some other tips.


1- Check out this guide to creating your own super kids travel fun kit.
2-Play a variety of light travel games. offers fantastic options!
3-Create your own scavenger hunt at any museum. Go to the gift shop and buy postcards of the paintings that are featured at the museum. Walk through the museum and try to find those works of art!
New York City Explorer Pass: NYC Attractions

Remember, a little pre-planning, in the form of a New York City vacation packing list, will help to ensure a wonderful vacation and create great memories that will last a life time. Enjoy New York City!

Go to Homepage

Go to Sitemap

Recent Articles

  1. Open Garden Day NYC Saturday, July 14

    Jul 12, 18 09:46 AM

    Here's a fun way to spend this Saturday, July 14, 1:00 - 3:00 pm (rain or shine!): Open Garden Day NYC!

    Visit this link to learn more about to view an interactive map to discover a community garden ne…

    Read More

  2. SUPER New York Pass Sale!!!!

    Jun 20, 18 12:11 PM

    Save 25% Off 3, 5, 7, and 10 Day Passes At The New York Pass® (June 23-29)

    Read More

  3. Discount Broadway Theater Tickets

    Jun 18, 18 05:56 PM

    I'll show you how to obtain Discount Broadway Theater Tickets so cheaply, that you'll be able to go every night if you want!

    Read More

New York City Explorer Pass: NYC Attractions

CitySights NY

New York City Explorer Pass: NYC Attractions

CitySights NY