Indonesia Travel Checklist

Are you heading to Indonesia? Not sure what to pack?

For first time travellers to Indonesia or for the seasoned travellers who are looking for some new packing tips, I’ve got you covered with my ultimate INDONESIA – Travel Checklist plus my 10 MUST HAVES to pack.

From the early days of packing for a solo backpacking adventure to remote islands in Indonesia to packing to live and work in Indonesia, {which is a whole different story!} to packing for a Bali holiday and to now learning a whole new style of packing, which involves packing ALL the things for a toddler. When it comes to packing, I think I’ve learnt a few things over the years. I’m still learning, of course, so if you have any further tips, feel free to leave a comment at the end of this blog post.

Packing for Indonesia can be quite a daunting task with it’s hot, humid and wet temperatures, varying landscapes from tropical islands to dense jungles and also being the largest Muslim populated country in the world, modesty plays a big role too. Due to all these years of travelling to Indonesia and living and working in Indonesia and having had the opportunity to travel quite extensively throughout Indonesia, from jungle treks in Kalimantan to road trips through traditional villages in Flores to adventuring through Sulawesi to trekking volcanoes in Java to beach/party holidays on the Gili Islands or a relaxed holiday with family or friends in a luxury private villa in Bali – I think I’ve got you covered with all the packing tips you’ll need to get you through any style of holiday or adventure travel in Indonesia.

Before I leave on a trip, I’m that organised person that writes checklist upon checklist so I don’t forget anything. This has only doubled since becoming a Mama with a severe case of baby-brain! So, I’ve written down all my fav things to pack for a holiday in Indonesia and I’ve created an Indonesia Travel Checklist that you can download and print out because I for one am tired of re-creating this checklist every time I go to Indonesia. {or somewhere else overseas for that matter!} So, this checklist is really for me but I thought I’d share it with you too. I hope you find it useful.

I’ll pop a link below where you can download a pdf file of my ultimate Indonesia Travel Checklist and I’ve also got for you a pdf file of my quick Indonesia Travel Checklist.

*Please note, although I wrote this travel checklist for Indonesia, it could most certainly be used for other parts of Asia too.

Let’s get packing! INDONESIA – TRAVEL CHECKLIST

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS CHECKLIST:

  • Passport – check your passport is valid for at least six months
  • Visa {Australian passport holders don’t need a visa to visit Indonesia to up to 30 days as a tourist but you’ll need one if you want to stay longer.}
  • Vaccinations – check what shots you may need and ensure all vaccinations are up to date
  • Airline tickets
  • Travel Insurance documents
  • Travel Itinerary
  • Accommodation Booking Info/Vouchers {if pre-booked online}
  • Smartraveller – Register your travel plans with Smartraveller and check the latest safety advice on the region you’re travelling to. It’s a good idea to subscribe to Smartraveller to receive email updates to stay up to date with news prior to departure and also during your travels.
  • Credit card/Debit card or other overseas bank card/travel money card
  • Photocopies + electronic copies of all travel documents {I keep a file of my travel documents in my email and also on a usb. I also leave a copy of all documents at home with a family member.}
  • Indonesian Rupiah – I always ensure I have some local cash on me on arrival so that I don’t have to worry about withdrawing money for at least the first couple of days.

TIP:

  • Always book at least your first nights accommodation and transport from the airport to your hotel, so that it’s all smooth sailing upon arrival in Indonesia. No one wants to be jet lagged and queueing for a taxi at the airport.

LUGGAGE

  • Passport wallet – {Passport + travel docs + notepad + pen}
  • Handbag – over the chest bag
  • Day pack – Carry-on
  • Backpack/Suitcase – Check-in
  • Packing Cells
  • Locks & Luggage name tags for each piece of luggage {also for strollers/surfboard/guitar or other large items you may be taking.}
  • Reusable shopping bags
  • Wet & Dry zip-lock bags/pouches
  • Portable scales

TIP:

  • I always carry with me an over the chest handbag – wearing it across my body makes for comfort, hands-free and safety. When walking the streets {anywhere} always a good idea to sling your bag away from the roadside to prevent thieves on motorbikes stealing it. If feeling unsafe at all or in a crowd, always try to have one hand on your bag!

*Essentials inside my handbag – always a good idea to have a selection of these on hand for different situations!

  • wet wipes
  • tissues
  • hand sanitiser

CLOTHES

When it comes to hot humid weather, try to pack light cotton clothes where possible. Of course, when it comes to travelling, it really depends how long your trip is and where exactly you are travelling to and what activities you are going to partake in, as to how many clothes you need to pack and what clothes to actually pack. So, I’m not going to go into too much detail about clothes but I will say that I do tend to take quite a few tops and bottoms combinations due to the humidity in Indonesia and the need to change outfits twice a day {kalau mandi dua kali sehari jadi ingin ganti baju dua kali sehari!!}. The amount of clothes can also depend on the time of year you are travelling to Indonesia, if you travel to Indonesia during the wet season then it can be very difficult to get clothes dry with the rain and humidity.

Also, very importantly, take into consideration how modest your clothing choices are. If you aren’t too sure; favour packing a long skirt rather than a short skirt and knee length shorts rather than short shorts!

  • t.shirts
  • short sleeve shirts
  • shorts
  • long cotton pants
  • skirts/dresses {females}
  • sleep wear
  • under wear
  • sarong
  • formal outfit or traditional outfit – {I’d suggest having one formal outfit or traditional outfit, you never know when you might be invited along to a local ceremony, festival or some other cultural event.}
  • hoodie/sweater
  • rain jacket
  • scarf
  • sandals/thongs {flip-flops}
  • walking shoes – runners/hiking shoes/boots {if planning on going trekking at all}
  •  socks

TIP:

  • Roll like items of clothing inside packing cells for maximal space.
Toddler packing cell – t.shirts + shorts, quick and easy to grab one of each for daily outfit.

BEACH 

  • beach bag
  • swimming gear
  • sunscreen + after sun
  • sarong
  • sunglasses + hat
  • water bottle
  • snorkel and mask {If you plan on snorkelling at all I suggest you buy your own snorkel gear, it will save renting out snorkelling gear every time you want to go snorkelling.}

TOILETRIES

Of course, all general toiletries listed below can be easily found in big cities or tourist areas throughout Indonesia, however if you prefer to use a particular brand of product then I suggest that you buy it before you leave home. I always start my journey with a good supply and top up if/when needed whilst travelling. 

  • shampoo/conditioner
  • body wash/soap
  • toothbrush/toothpaste
  • deodorant
  • hair brush/comb
  • hair accessories {e.g. hair ties, hair clips}
  • shaving items {if required}
  • cleanser/scrub/moisturiser
  • cosmetics {minimum if required}
  • sanitary products {if needed}

Optional additions:

  • lip balm
  • cotton buds
  • manicure kit

FIRST AID KIT

I always take a First Aid Kit with me whenever I travel because you just never know where you might end up and what might happen, so better to be prepared as much as possible.

Some of the things in my First Aid Kit are:

  • Pain killers {Panadol/Aspro Clear}
  • Sunscreen/After sun cream

– Sunscreen is not always easily accessible in Indonesia so I always buy it from home and take it with me.

  • Mosquito Repellent

– A MUST in Indonesia. I don’t know about you but mosquitos seem to love my sweet blood and after contracting Dengue Fever in Indonesia, I am VERY careful about avoiding being bitten by mosquitos. I have tried pretty much everything and let me tell you my absolute MUST for mosquito repellent is SOFFELL Anti Nyamuk. I always stock up on it when I’m in Indonesia and bring a good supply home with me too, as it also gets a good workout over our Australian Summer when mozzies are rampant. When travelling, I carry it with me at all times. *A natural alternative is Lavender Oil.

*TIP:  If you are travelling with children then I’d highly recommend the Natural Mozzie Gear products – the patches, wrist bands and the Mosquito Repeller are all excellent. {As seen in photo above}

If you are lucky enough to be heading to the jungle, I recommend getting the well-known Bushman Repellent.

  • Hydrolytes
  • Antiseptic Cream – A godsend for everything from burns, scratches, bites, itching etc.
  • Band aids
  • Bandages
  • Adhesive tape
  • Anti-bacterial wipes
  • Eye drops & eye bath
  • scissors
  • tweezers
  • rubber gloves

And some personal favs of mine:

ENTERTAINMENT

  • iPhone + Charger
  • iPod + Headphones
  • iPad/Laptop + Charger
  • Camera + Charger + memory cards
  • Portable charger
  • Power board + Adaptors
  • Books
  • Games

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Travel clothesline + pegs + sachets of washing powder {I buy these in Indonesia}

My 10 Packing MUST HAVES for Indonesia!

1.Sarong {Sarung}

The humble sarong – number one on my packing ‘must haves’ list! Obviously the sarong is traditional wear in Indonesia and my absolute favourite and most used item in my bag. Buy one if you don’t have one! {It’s always a good excuse for me to buy a new sarong whilst in Indonesia! ;)} The sarong is one of the most versatile items in your luggage, of course, it is essential for visiting religious sites and/or traditional wear for a local ceremony as well as a staple for beach-wear either to cover up or to replace a towel to sit on but it also serves many other purposes; a pillow, a blanket, a skirt, sleepwear and if you’re chilly at night – it also works well as a scarf or shawl.

Always have your sarong in your day pack if you are out on a day trip, as most religious sites require visitors to cover up to show respect, this way you’ll be ready wherever you may end up on your adventures.

*TIP: I generally pack 3 sarongs – 1 for sleep, 1 for beach and 1 good sarong for temple visits and/or a religious or cultural ceremony.

2. Scarf

A scarf is also handy to cover up your head if needed or used as a shawl on cooler evenings.

*TIP: I always wear my scarf on the plane as I tend to get cold on flights {also one less thing in my checked-in luggage on the way home when bags tend to be bursting with shopping!}

3. Packing cells

I’m a huge fan of packing cells to organise my clothes in my bag. They’re light weight, soft bags in assorted sizes so that I can pack ‘like with like’ items for easy access and neater packing.

*TIP: Buy different coloured packing cells for each member of the family so everyone in the family can find their things easily.

4. Dry + Wet Zip-lock bags/pouches

So handy!

5. Eco-friendly bags for shopping

I always pack reusable shopping bags because no one wants to add to the plastic waste issue in Indonesia, or anywhere for that matter. Travellers to Indonesia should also be aware that some cities throughout Indonesia have started to ban the use of plastic bags at some shops and supermarkets thus definitely a good idea to bring your own reusable shopping bags. At home, I always have a couple of reuseable bags in my handbag for impromptu shopping so they just naturally come on holidays with me too!

*TIP: Pack all your essential eco-friendly products to take with you such as; reusable produce bags, reusable straws and water bottle.

6. Large tote bag – beach bag

I always pack a large tote bag {I use a Desigual shopping bag} that I use when I head to the beach or poolside. This makes it so easy to pack up your sarong/towel, hat, sunscreen, water bottle, book, purse, phone, camera and ALL THE THINGS you want when you head down to the beach or the pool. It doubles as a large re-useable shopping bag too.

7. Duffle bag

Years ago I used to always buy a batik/fabric duffle bag that you can pick-up cheaply in markets all over Bali and I would use this bag to carry all my extra shopping in when returning home. I stopped doing this for along time as my trips to Indonesia were more travelling with one backpack rather than shopping holidays. But over the last couple of years I’ve started packing a duffle bag that folds up easily in my luggage, and I use this for packing all that extra shopping that I might do. I always travel Garuda Airlines, which means you are allowed 30kg of checked-in luggage per person, this makes it super easy to buy up big in Indonesia.

8. Reusable sandwich bags

Reusable sandwich bags are great for storing liquids in for flights and stash a few in your luggage too for storing an array of things whilst travelling.

9. Airtight containers

I always pack airtight containers for storing snacks in – they keep food fresh and keep the ants away! 😉

10. Techno gear

I use a cloth bag {which I actually got in Bali back in the 80’s – possibly filled with cassette tapes!?} to store all my electronic charging bits and pieces so they are all together in one place.

*TIPS: A power board with USB ports is a tech-heads best friend whilst travelling so you can charge up all your gadgets at the end of each day, so they are all ready for the next day.

Click here to download a PDF doc of my ultimate INDONESIA – Travel Checklist {Digital version} for all your travel needs.

Click here to download my quick INDONESIA –  Travel Checklist. 

And, finally, here are a few simple things I like to put into action before I leave home to ensure I don’t have to worry about things back home and I can enjoy my travels.

Before departure:

  • Advise your bank of international travel plans.
  • Arrange for any due bills to be direct debited.
  • Arrange for mail to be collected {if needed}.
  • Organise for someone to water your plants.

I hope you find my Indonesia – Travel Checklist useful in your future travels  and that you have gained some new tips on what to pack for travelling in Indonesia. If you have any other tips, please feel free to add them in the comments below. I’d love to hear them!

Do you go crazy writing checklists before travelling overseas?

Do you pack light or have to pack everything but the kitchen sink?

Do you have any other MUST HAVES to pack for travelling in Indonesia?

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