Welcome to Miami! With world-class nightlife, a thriving cultural scene, foodie delights, and sun-soaked beaches, this city has it all! With such a diverse array of options, how do you jam everything you need into a single carry-on bag? More than just planning what to bring on a beach vacation, you’ve got to have a well-rounded Miami packing list!
Alright, jet setters, let’s fly through the essentials of your perfect Miami packing list. Even if you’re thinking there are obvious items you’d never forget, checking off every little thing is essential to preventing frustrating mishaps. Checklists like this are what travel pros use to prevent airport meltdowns and drama on the road!
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How to Plan Your Miami Packing List
To make the most of every moment in Miami, it’s crucial to have the essentials. The first thing to keep in mind is that summers are scorching in Florida!
With a high level of humidity and long walks as you explore the city, you’ve got to be ready for the elements. Even in spring and fall, the sun and humidity can hit you hard at mid-day. Check the weather before you go and know what to expect.
Be sure to bring a good pair of sunglasses along with a sun hat to prevent burns. Under the intense heat, you’ll need to apply sunscreen every couple of hours. Pack travel-sized bottles of sunblock along with mosquito repellant. You’ll be so glad that you did!
For the daytime hours, good walking shoes or sandals are a must. Wear those on the plane, then toss flip-flops and nightclub-ready shoes in your bag. Miami has countless chic spots, from all-night party spots to Michelin-star restaurants, and you’ll want to have at least one appropriate look.
While people tend to be focused on what to bring on a beach vacation, you’ll be disappointed if you don’t have the right jacket or shoes to get into a swanky nightspot.
Tip: We love our AC in Miami! Even if you’re expecting sultry summer temps, bring a jacket or sweatshirt along to cope with chilly hotel rooms, shops, and buses.
Here are some other Miami resources you might find helpful:
Miami Packing List: Travel Documents and Essentials
One trick every regular traveler knows is to start with the basics. Before you even think about what to bring on a beach vacation, it’s crucial to tick the basics off your list.
- Passport/ visas/ photo ID/ driver’s license: Know exactly what they’ll ask you for at the airport and bring copies of everything. It’s best to have one copy in your carry-on as well as a picture on your phone.
- Boarding passes: Whether they’re printed or electronic, triple check you have your boarding passes to avoid airport fees.
- Itinerary confirmations: Make sure you have all of your airline, hotel, boat, bus, rental car, and event tickets. If you’re traveling with someone else, be sure you both have the info saved.
- Travel insurance/ medical insurance card and important phone numbers to call
- Guidebooks and maps: Opt for offline versions. They’re perfect reading material for planes and handy for when you run into spotty internet.
Travel Gear to Stay Organized and Comfortable
While it’s crucial not to overpack, a few extra pieces can go a long way.
- Travel luggage: I prefer soft-case luggage sets!
- Packing cubes: These are a game changer! Save the hassle of digging through a disorganized bag every time you need something. Keep your clothing organized and accessible.
- Daypack: To carry your most practical and essentials daily items with you while on the go.
- Eye mask: Even though you might not need a mask or earplugs at home, you never know what distractions you might run into when you’re sleeping somewhere new.
- Travel pillow: Travel pillows are great, especially if you traveling long distances.
- Scarf/ Shawl/ Wraps: Something like a scarf can be many things: a towel, sun protection, shawl, and a cover-up!
Essential Electronics and Entertainment
You can also grab a few things on the go, but if you forget your electronics, you’ll be paying a major premium.
- Cell phone & charger: Be sure to bring extra cords and always carry them with you.
- Portable charger: Having a battery bank on hand is a life-saver on long days out!
- E-reader: Use your downtime to catch up on your reading list! Remember, travel isn’t all go-go-go! Use your vacation time to unwind.
- Universal travel adaptor – if traveling from abroad
- Laptop / tablet & protective case
- Camera and accessories
Toiletries and Personal Items to Pack
It’s best to pack your own toiletries, such as a razor, makeup, hairbrush, toothpaste. You can pretty much always count on hotels having a hairdryer and iron (though double-check).
- Toiletry bag: On top of your liquids bag for the airport, bring a bag that will keep you organized during the trip.
- Toothbrush/ dental floss
- Hand & body lotion: Stash some extra in your travel bag. Between the dry air in the airplane and the moisture-zapping effect of the sun, you’ll want to stay hydrated.
- Makeup/ Makeup remover
- Hairstyling products: Bring that gel, mousse, hair spray, and whatever else you need to feel and look your best.
- Hairstyling tools: Grab that blow dryer, straightener, curling, flat iron, hairbrush, and comb.
Travel Health and Beauty Must-Haves
Of course, the essentials for looking and feeling good have got to be at the top of your Miami packing list!
- Travel first aid kit: Band-Aids and antibiotic ointment take up very little space and are so good to have.
- Face mask, hand sanitizer, or wet wipes: These are necessary, especially since COVID-19
- Prescription medications and vitamins: Be ready for a headache, allergy, and motion sickness.
- Glasses/ contact lenses & solution/ eye drops: Gotta make sure you can see Miami!
- Sunscreen: Always have a small bottle of (at least SPF 30) reef-safe sunscreen with you.
- Sunburn relief/ after sun lotion
- Lip balm with SPF: It’s vital to have SPF from head to toe!
Key Accessories for Travel
When you are thinking about what to bring on a beach vacation, there are a few essential accessories to keep in mind.
- Sunglasses: You’ve got to go chic in Miami!
- Jewelry: The right accessories can take you from day to night in a flash without requiring much luggage space.
- Small towel: It’s always handy to have your own washcloth.
- Windproof umbrella/ rain jacket: No matter the season, always pack rain gear, including umbrellas and windbreakers. Rain can come at any time in Florida, and it’s always good to come prepared. Pack an umbrella that is durable and small enough to fit into a bag.
Don’t forgot to pack these essentials for your South Florida outdoor excursions
Your Guide on What to Wear in Miami
Having the right clothes is key on any trip, especially in Miami! Plan on casual clothing for daytime, sightseeing, and casual dining. Incorporate in dressy attire for fine dining, theater performances, clubbing, etc. Some bars and clubs won’t allow you in if you aren’t dressed appropriately! Here’s what you’ll need to be ready to take on Miami. Quantities will vary depending on your length of stay.
- 4-5 undergarments: Go versatile and make sure they match the outfits you’re packing (weeks’ worth).
- 4-5 socks/ undershirts
- 1-2 loungewear/ sleepwear
- 2-3 casual/ dress tops: Again, think about dressing everything up or down depending on where you are going.
- 2-3 tank tops/ t-shirts
- 2-3 long sleeve t-shirts
- 2-3 shorts/ skirts
- 1-2 light-weight pants
- 2-3 dresses: We’re talking about a sundress, maxi dress, and something for going out.
- 1 light jacket/ cardigan for cold buildings and cooler nights
- 1-2 workout gear/ activewear
Shoes for the Beach and City
Of course, here too, you’ve got to think about more than just what to bring on a beach vacation. Your Miami packing list has got to take you from day to night.
- Sandals/ flip-flops
- Comfortable wedge sandal
- Dress shoes/ heels
- Specialty shoes: Think about options like water shoes or cycling shoes. Miami has countless outdoor activities, so come ready to take advantage of them.
- Athletic shoes: Bring comfortable shoes/sneakers for walking, so you’re ready to pound the pavement all day long.
What to Bring on a Beach Vacation: Beach and Pool Gear
Knowing what to bring on a beach vacation means you don’t have to pay those crazy beachside store prices.
- 2-3 swimwear
- Tunic/ beach cover-up/ sarong: extra protection from the sun
- Beach towel
- Beach mat/ blanket
- Beach bag
- Wide brim sun hat: Nothing is worse than sunburned scalp!
- Waterproof Camera
- Swim goggles: Nice to have!
- Dry Bag
Check out my beach essentials packing list for more ideas!