New Amsterdam, eh I mean New York needs no introduction so I will spare you the usual, tired references and cliches.
If you are headed to New York and wondering what to pack then you are in the right place. Here you’ll find your ultimate New York survival guide with step-by-step instructions on what to pack for New York with options that are both functional and fashionable.
Ready? Let’s get to it!
The Ultimate New York Packing List
Nomatic Travel Bag
- Capacity > 30L
- Price > $299
Nomatic Navigator Carry On
- Capacity > 37L
- Price > $400
GoPro Hero 9
- Resolution > 5k
- Price > $400
- Price > $500
Insurance From World Nomads
- Price > Click For a Quote
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Most trips to be New York are short and intense. Staying for 2 – 4 days means you can general pack fairly light and even rely on “carry-on” luggage. However, it is absolutely vital to dress and prepare for the season. Let’s take a look at what to bring to New York.
Best Backpack For New York: Nomatic Travel Bag
Before we tell you what to pack to visit New York, let’s start with to pack it all into. We have tried a lot of difference bags over the years ranging from the shocking to the sublime. 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 New York 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.
We’ve tested countlessday packs over the years, but the Tropicfeel Shell is something else. There are a lot of flashy backpacks on the market but not many come with a detachable wardrobe.
Weatherproof, eco-friendly, durable, feature-loaded, and comfy as fudge brownies: these are just some of the words people might use to describe the Tropicfeel Shell. But we just call it bloody beautiful.Learn More • View on Tropicfeel
Best Suitcase For New York: 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. Note that traipsing this and off the subway is a bit of pain during rush hour.
Check out our Nomatic Carry-On Pro review to learn more about this epic suitcase.
Best Camera For New York: 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.
Packing Cubes For New York – Wandrd Packing Cubes
In case you have never used them, packing cubes are little compression cubes that allow you to neatly pack clothes in in order to help facilitate better packing. They allow you to pack more stuff, and to keep it all better organised.
For the longest time, I thought that packing cubes were a superfluous indulgence, but boy was I wrong. Now I never travel without a few.
These ones from WANDRD are great quality and excellent value for money. Get them on your NYC packing list now!
Best Sim For New York – HolaFly eSim
The good news about New York is that there is extensive 4g and 5g Internet coverage, taxi apps and food delivery apps. The bad news is that if you are coming from outside the USA, your native SIM card will not work and so you will not be able to access any of this online goodness until you rectify that particular situation.
You can waste time hanging around phone shops queuing to get a plastic sim or you can simply install a eSim onto your phone before you leave home. You just access the HolaFly site, choose the Bali/Indonesia package, download it and off you go – you are online the moment you land at the airport.
eSims are easier to set up and better than the environment than plastic sims. The downside is that not all phones are eSim ready.
What To Pack For New York Checklist: Personal Gear
You probably own “city clothes:” already so won’t need to worry too much about what to wear in New York. However, do bear in mind that summers can be dangerously hot and winters absolutely bloody freezing. Therefore, make sure you do pack for the season.
In terms of style etiquette, New York is probably the best dressed city in America and if you want to run with the hipsters and fashionista’s, you will need to make the efforts. That said, this is the US so you will still fit in perfectly even if you wear your pants halfway down your legs and match socks with sandals.
Best Jacket For New York – Arcteryx Beta AR
Did you know that the surface of the earth is over 70% covered in water? And you know how that water got there? Yep because it tends to here rain here on planet earth quite a lot! New York city’s climate varies between the seasons. It can be wet and drizzly and a good rain jacket can be proper life saver.
There is no such thing as bad weather, only the wing gear for it. Don’t let a bit (of a lot) of rain ruin your trip and make sure you are ready with some top notch rain gear.
This is our pick of the many rain jackets we have tried. It’s reliable & stylish and looks good worn out in the mountains or in city bars.
Note that if you are visiting in the cold months of winter you may want to layer this as New York does get well and truly cold.
Best Daypack for New York – Osprey Daylite Plus
The days exploring New York city can be long and it its worth bringing along a day pack. They are great for carrying water, hat’s and gloves and for packing sandwiches for lunch. We love Osprey products and this daypack is our personal pick.
The Osprey Daylite Plus has a mesh-covered panel to keep your back cool and fresh by minimizing contact with the back of the pack itself and allowing air to get between you and the pack.
Check out our full review of the Osprey Daylite plus for more details.
Additionally, you can attach it to other Osprey packs in case you want to add more capacity and carry just one piece of luggage… but the reviews on this feature are mixed.
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.
As far as toiletry bag go, we recommend the Nomatic Toiletry Bag. It is made from excellent, high quality material that is water and stain resistant and offers some excellent organisational capacity. It is a high spec piece of travel gear that will last you some years.
Keeping a journal is one of the best things to do when traveling. The Drifter Leather Journal by Kodiak is our favorite, it works great for digital nomads and organized backpackers, and can be used as planner or a dream diary – whatever you want!
Keep on track with your goals, travels and save those precious memories, especially the ones you do not want to share online! This one is bound in beautiful leather so it looks beautiful and will withstand life on the road.
A trip to New York city should fuel plenty of inspiration and you will have no shortage of things to journal about!
Best Travel Insurance For New York – From World Nomads
World Nomads’ mission is to support and encourage travellers to explore their boundaries. They offer simple & flexible travel insurance, and safety advice to help you travel confidently.
They’ve been doing it since 2002 – protecting, connecting, and inspiring independent travellers just like you.
Get a quote below or read our in-depth review!
Money Belt – By Pacsafe
Whilst New York is not particularly dangerous these days, crime can still happen and tourists are sometimes targeted. In particular, a few tourists have been spring in Central Park after dark so caution is advised.
Therefore it is always a good idea to use a money belt to hide your cash just in case something does go wrong.
In our view, it is worth spending a bit of money and buying a good quality money belt. Cheap ones will fall apart in no time.
Thermal Layer For Winter
If you are visiting New York during the depths of winter, prepare for some serious cold. C’mon man, I mean popular music is full of references to this from The Mama and the Papa’s “California Dreaming” to Simon & Garfunkel complaining of how the ‘New York City Winters Are Bleeding Me’!
A good thermal layer can make all the difference between enjoying your Christmas New York trip, and spending the whole time shivering and hiding from the New York weather. I even wear one of these in the UK during winter.
Don’t risk hypothermia, add this to your New York packing list.
The Basic Stuff To Pack For New York
On top of the essential items listed above, here is an additional suggested checklist of what to pack for a New York trip:
- 1-2 pairs of comfortable pants/jeans
- 1-2 pairs of shorts (summer/late spring)
- 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. Whatever makes you comfy!
- Dudes: A few collard shirts or something half-way decent for a night on the town. Whatever makes you comfy!
- 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
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Final Thoughts on What to Pack for New York
There it is, friends! Your complete New York survival guide with everything you need to know for what to pack for New York. Keep your planning focused by referring to our handy top 21-needs packing checklist, the breakdown of weather conditions by season and how to pack for each. You also have our packing recommendations for women and men to help guide you, along with a few tips on what not to pack for New York.
Just keep things smart, simple – and stylish. Be ready to have your senses overwhelmed with everything that is crazy, beautiful New York.
All that’s left now is to get in a New York state of mind!
Bye for now, but not forever!
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And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!