Headed to Florida? Can’t blame you. Whether you fancy a trip to Disneyland with the kids, some Miami time with your partner or some debauched spring break madness with the grandparents, Florida has LOT going on.
With such a wide range of activities to choose from, narrowing down your Florida packing list may seem problematic. What you need for a day at Epcot Center is probably quite different from what you need for a night out in Miami, right? But no worries – that’s what we’re here for – to give you the how and what to pack for Florida!
So, let’s get started, shall we?
The Ultimate Florida Packing List
Whatever part of Florida you are visiting, it is gonna be hot and sweaty. But other than that there is some real diversity in your Florida packing needs. Lets take a look at what to bring to Florida.
The Backpack and Luggage: Nomatic Travel Bag
Before you even take on the task of figuring out what to pack for Florida, you’ll need an amazing backpack to pack it all into. For all types of travelers and destinations, our number one recommendation is the Nomatic Travel Bag.
The Nomatic travel bag covers every detail to make backpacking travel the best experience. Because of its smart design, it manages to provide loads of packing space in a convenient, carry-on size package! Its handy built-in pockets make plenty of room for all the necessities on your what to pack for Florida checklist – you’ll find separate compartments for important items like shoes, water bottle, electronics, underwear and socks. As an added bonus, there’s also an RFID-safe and cord management pocket.
You have a choice between backpack or duffel bag carry, and extra carrying comfort for your back thanks to its innovative strap system and detachable sternum strap. And its black, waterproof material is every bit sleek and modern as it is durable and tough. There is a reason why most Broke Backpacker staff swear by this backpack.
Alternative Luggage: AER Travel Pack 2
Our number two selection for an epic travel backpack is the AER Travel Pack 2. Like the Nomatic Travel Bag, this AER backpack is fully featured, big enough to hold an extended weekend of clothing, and tough enough to last years of travel abuse. Depending on what you are packing for Florida, this bag may not be suitable as storage is limited.
I have taken the AER Travel Pack 2 on multiple trips and since then it has risen has in the ranks of my go-to travel backpacks.
Check out our AER Travel Pack 2 review to learn more.
A Suitcase: Nomatic Carry-On Pro
Backpacks not your thing? That’s ok. Our friends at Nomatic are back again with a great alternative to their badass Travel Bag; the Nomatic Carry-On Pro.
This suitcase is ultra-durable, sleek, and comes with a handy tech compartment for transporting your laptop and other electronic bits. Nomatic has been an industry leader when it comes to travel gear and that reputation is reflected in the quality build design and functionality of the Carry-On Pro suitcase. This is perfect for short trips down to the quay’s or spring break when all you really need is a swim suit.
Check out our Nomatic Carry-On Pro review to learn more about this epic suitcase.
The Camera: GoPro Hero9 Black
For most of us, our smartphones now feature cameras with stunning photo capabilities.
But… if you are an aspiring photographer who wants to take next-level photos and video beyond iPhone selfies, I recommend going with an action camera like the GoPro Hero9 Black.
It does deliver pro-quality video and gives you a bunch of a different angle options and shooting speeds to work with for photos (including a selfie-mode).
Think of a camera purchase like this as a long term investment that will have you capturing epic shots well beyond your time exploring here.
If you are looking for something cheaper for video specifically, check out these epic GoPro Alternatives.
What To Pack For Florida: Personal Gear
Yeah Florida stays warm all year round which is why it’s so popular with visitors and retired people. So the good news is that you won’t be needing thermals. But what do you need to bring to Florida?
We are not going to tell you exactly what to wear in Florida (but orange is a nice colour) and instead we’re going to focus on some hand picked quality buys that will make your Florida packing a whole lot smarter.
Sandals: OluKai ‘Ohana Flip-Flops
Florida is hot and sticky. Your feet will sweat no matter what but you can definitely mitigate it by wearing some decent sandals.
These Olukai flip flops are ultra-comfortable, well-made, and come in a variety of colors.
Check out the women’s OluKai ‘Ohana Flip-Flops.
Whether you are gonna be hitting the beaches, the magnificent water parks, getting smashed at spring break, or wrestling Alligators, you will probably need swimwear at some point in Florida.
In fact, it may even get so much use that you need a 2nd pair for when you need to wash one, or it gets eaten by an Alligator.
Travel First Aid Kit
You don’t need to tote around half a pharmacy, but a well-stocked first aid kit should be in all our backpacks. Stuff happens on the road and it’s inconvenient and embarrassing when you can’t manage small situations like a cut finger or hangover migraine.
You can tuck this lifesaver away in a forgotten pocket – and it’ll be there when you need it.
Tip: Add a few bits and pieces to the first aid kit after you purchase it, like extra headache medicine, any personal meds you need (like allergy pills), whatever you take to calm your stomach and a few more plasters.
Travel Insurance From World Nomads
We wish you a safe and pleasant trip to Florida. However, stuff can go wrong in the sunshine state. I mean, you could hurt yourself doing Spring Break bellyflops, you get robbed in Miami, attacked by Mickey Mouse, or eaten by a Gator.
Healthcare in the US is expensive – I mean, we’re talking time to re-mortgage expensive. In the US, it pays to have insurance in order to avoid unimaginably high hospital bills. I have countless stories of friends who have been injured while traveling in the USA – and in one case – the bill was over 50k USD.
We use either World Nomads or SafetyWing. You’ll be happy you did if the time comes to use it.
Sun God Sunglasses
They don’t Florida the Sunshine State for nothing – it’s because it’s a State. During your Florida trip, you will pretty much life in your sunnies go get a good pair. A reliable pair of sunglasses is undoubtedly one of your Florida packing essentials. Our favorites are SunGod Sunglasses because they deliver on quality and style.
They’re built tough with triple-layer scratch-resistant lenses and trademarked Adventure-proof Frame Material. You can also customize them with your choice of lense and frame colors to reflect your own style. Plus they’re covered by SunGod’s lifetime guarantee of free repair. Check our in-depth review here.
Suncream: Thinksport Safe SPF 50+
By now, all of us are as pasty as the driven snow from sheltering in place for the last six months. Am I right? This means we are even more vulnerable than usual to the sun’s fierce rays. Packing sunscreen for Florida may seem like a no brainer, but you would be amazed how many sun-burned cocktail-toting people you see wandering around.
Thinksport Safe SPF 50+ sunscreen gives folks strong sun protection in a non-oily formula that’s free of gluten, paraben, phthalates and biologically harmful chemicals.
Another backpacker/traveler favorite for staying organized is a hanging toiletry bag. It’s extremely helpful to have all of your accessories neatly gathered in one bag that you can hang for easy accessibility, especially when counter space isn’t plentiful or even available. A well-organized bag is worth having whether you’re tree whilst camping or a hook in the wall – it helps to have quick access to all your stuff.
Historically, I have been the guy who has my stuff all over the bathroom, so getting one of these things really changed the toiletry game for me. Plus they are not too expensive either. A no-brainer essential.
Money Belt – By Active Roots
There is no point denying that parts of Florida can be dangerous and tourists are sometimes targeted by thieves.
Therefore it is always a good idea to use a money belt to hide your cash just in case something does go wrong.
Your Passport or Other Government ID
If you’re coming to Florida from outside the US, you will need a passport to enter (unless you catch one of them boats from Cuba…). Make sure your passport is valid, up to date and has enough room for an entry stamp. You should also arrange your ESTA BEFORE your visit.
ID is also essential for getting served liquor in bar and clubs as they can be pretty strict. For a “fun” state, there sure are a lot of rules in Florida eh?!
Florida is the one place where you absolutely must not forget your ID.
Electrolytes and Headache Medicine
For some reason, people tend to drink a lot when visiting Florida – maybe it’s to bury the misery of being at Disneyland?
Anyway, having some form of hangover kit is strongly advised for your ‘what to pack for Florida’ survival items. A combination of partying, hot desert weather, and lack of sleep is a recipe for feeling a bit out of sorts the next day. Whilst a spare liver would be useful, (and can probably be arranged) there is an easier way -in addition to drinking plenty of water, you may need an extra rehydration boost with travel-friendly electrolyte tablets.
And if the headache is too much to bear, it’s a good idea to have some over-the-counter medicine to help nip it in the bud as soon as possible.
A Hat – Patagonia Fitz Roy Trucker
As you should know by now, the sun in Florida is strong and you will undoubtedly be spending a lot of time outside. Having a hat on your Florida packing list is a good way to ensure your face is protected from the sun throughout the day.
Patagonia makes great hats. I have probably bought three or four of these over the last five years. Simple. Practical. Comfortable. That is what you are after.
Let’s face it; for the foreseeable future, COVID 19 issues are just going to be a part of travel at least until we lurch into the next global crisis. How do we do our best to mitigate the risk while still traveling and experience life’s pleasures? Pack the right PPE gear.
We’ll be honest, Florida didn’t take the whole COVID thing all that seriously and you may be free to not wear a mask, to breath and spit where you want.
Still, it is best to to ensure you keep yourself and the people you will be coming into contact with safe from spreading COVID around like wildfire. This is really crucial if you visit theme parks where rides and arcades will have touched by 1000 kids earlier that day.
Waterbottle – Hydroflask Vacuum Bottle 32 oz.
Packing a reusable water bottle is probably the best thing you can personally do to combat single-use plastic bottle use whilst traveling. There is simply zero need to buy plastic water bottles. Everywhere in Florida, from casino drinking fountains to the water coming out of your bathroom sink, the water is safe to drink. Fill up your bottle each time and carry it with you when you go out in order to avoid buying water throughout your day.
We love the Hydroflask Vacum Bottle for its quality and because it keeps cold water cold for many hours and vice versa for hot beverages. This bottle is the ideal water bottle to get not just for your Florida trip but for daily use. Please don’t be that person buying plastic water bottles. We are all judging you…especially mother earth.
If you go with the Hydroflask, you’ll probably never need to buy another waterbottle again.
The Basic Stuff To Pack For Florida
On top of the essential items listed above, here is an additional suggested checklist of what to pack for a weekend in Florida:
- 1-2 pairs of comfortable pants/jeans
- 1-2 pairs of shorts
- A few pairs of socks
- (Sexy) underwear x 2/3
- Ladies: a few dresses, pants, outfits, or desired lady apparel for a night on the town.
- Dudes: A few collard shirts or something half-way decent for a night on the town.
- Smartphone with a good camera for photos if you are not bringing an actual camera
- Portable power bank for charging your phone on the go
- Phone charger
- Amazon Kindle for reading by the pool
- Copy of your passport just in case
- Cash (not too much, there are ATM machines everywhere
- Packable Towel
Final Thoughts on What to Pack for Florida
And that’s all of it! We’ve reached the end of your Florida survival guide! Whether you plan on camping out or feeling the magic at Disneyland, you have all the information you need about what to pack for Florida and be prepared for it all. Make the process easier by focusing on the the main packing pointers: the packing list of top-22 needs, what to wear in Florida and how to pack for the weather and seasons; don’t forget that you also have specific packing item suggestions for guys and gals, and reminders of what NOT to pack for Florida.
Just keep it simple and don’t worry about the rest. Bring your essentials and adventurous spirit to sunny Florida, and be ready to come back with a golden tan, a set of Mickey’s ears and a whole lot of awesome memories!
Also – don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.
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