Updated on December 16, 2023 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

The big apple, New York, beckons with entertainment, culture, sights and much, much more. It is therefore not surprising that many millions of tourists visit the city every year. Some stay a day, others a weekend and some a week or two.

New York is amazing all year round. Of course, the time of year you’re travelling has an impact on how you pack. There’s a difference between a freezing cold January and a roasting hot day in July! What do you need to pack and what might you need to think about a little extra? Get all the answers you need in this article!

Packing for a trip to New York – suggested packing list

Scroll down carefully and you’ll find our suggested packing list for a trip to New York. We’ve included all the essentials along with things that might be useful to have depending on who you are and what you feel you need to take with you.

Of course, this packing list is not a recipe for success, but it may be helpful when you’re packing and unpacking. Follow the list so you don’t forget anything important!

Bags

  • Travel bag/briefcase
  • Backpack for day trip
  • Shopping bag
  • Sling bag/luggage bag
  • Mouthguard
  • Sealable plastic bag
  • Packaging cube

Clothing and footwear (basic)

Clothing (summer)

Clothing (spring/autumn)

  • Warm socks
  • Windbreaker
  • Functional sweater
  • Thick sweater/jacket
  • Hat
  • Neck scarf
  • Scarf
  • Gloves
  • Sneakers
  • Umbrella

Clothing (winter)

Hygiene

Other things to pack

Money and important documents

  • Passport
  • Bank cards/credit cards
  • Library book (preferably with RFID protection)
  • Cash (some is always good to have!)
  • Transcripts of insurance conditions
  • Transcripts of bookings/reservations
  • Proof of vaccination against Covid-19
  • Transcript of ESTA status (not necessary but smart)

Tips and tricks when packing for New York

What to pack in terms of clothing depends very much on how long you’ll be taking in all that New York has to offer. We hope the packing list on this page will give you some good tips and inspiration.

We’ll also offer more than just a packing list for your trip to New York. Read on for some smart tips to make your trip a little easier and a little more fun.

Buy a physical travel guide with maps

Nowadays we live in our mobile phones and we rely on them for just about everything. Of course, your mobile phone can be useful when travelling, for example to find places of interest via GPS. It also has its drawbacks. Searching for and reading about attractions, restaurants, cultural events and the like on your mobile is clearly cumbersome.

The physical guidebook is not dead! It’s the perfect companion for an adventure in New York. It’s a challenge to find the nuggets in digital travel guides in your phone. Finding your way around miniature maps is just as difficult. With a physical travel guide in hand, you can browse at your leisure to find what you’re looking for (and find a lot of pleasant surprises!).

Even the physical dictionary is not dead! If you come across a word you don’t understand and look it up on your phone, it will disappear from your memory as quickly as it appeared. If you look up a word in a dictionary, it sticks better!

Remember that New York’s seasons intertwine!

In our packing list above, we have listed clothes in different categories according to the season. However, New York has a very exciting climate with fast throws. For example, a day in April can just as easily bring a snowstorm as sunshine and 25 degrees.

This little quirk makes it smart to be prepared for slightly different weather (especially spring and autumn). One tip is to bring clothes that can be added in layers. Another tip is not to cheat with outerwear. A windproof and waterproof jacket is a must.

Packing with a backpack

Backpack in New York

A trip to New York will automatically involve many miles on foot. On your excursions, you’ll want to carry the essentials along with a water bottle, extra clothes, sunscreen, snacks – you name it! To carry everything you need a backpack.

Maybe you use the same backpack you have as hand luggage, maybe you choose a lighter version? Choose a backpack that’s comfortable for your back and can hold a lot. It also doesn’t hurt if it’s safe from pickpockets with a lock, zipper on the back and the like.

Packing like a pro – starting from a capsule wardrobe

It is said that there is much in New York that is “big”. The cars are big, the burgers are big and the buildings are huge. Something that is not so great is the size of the hotel rooms. A standard room doesn’t give you much room to manoeuvre! This means that the space for a large suitcase is non-existent.

Plus, it’s so much more convenient to travel with just one piece of hand luggage, especially if you’re only going away for a weekend.

For some (maybe even you?), travelling with just a cabin bag, a duffel bag or a larger backpack can seem like a challenge. However, we can assure you that it is perfectly possible. It’s just a matter of planning.

You may be familiar with the term “capsule wardrobe”. It’s about slimming down the number of garments in your wardrobe. Neutral and simple garments that can be matched with each other – that’s the tune.

A simple formula is to have one outfit per day for sightseeing and a nicer outfit for every other day. Moreover, with the “capsule approach”, each new outfit does not have to consist of completely new garments. A pair of trousers can be matched with several tops and a certain top can be worn several times.