I’m sure a lot of us have questions regarding packing, right? The packing for a trip to New York City can be tricky sometimes – the weather in can be quite confusing, mainly in the half seasons (Spring and Fall). But remember something important: the seasons are very well defined. In winter, it’s really cold. In summer, it is very hot! Do not underestimate the seasons, okay?
I would also like to remind you that New York is one of the great shopping capitals and that although some people do not travel to the city for this purpose, it is very common to separate a (good) part of the budget for shopping. Prices are excellent and almost always worth buying clothes, accessories, and electronics. So, my first tip would be to take only one suitcase with you and, if necessary, buy the second one in NYC. So there is more room for shopping! If you do not want to spend money buying a new one, it is not a problem! The tip basically is to take a few things, so you can take advantage of the attractive prices in the city.
Basic items – what not to forget in any season:
Some basic items should be brought at any time of the year. They save us from problems and do not take up so much space in our bags:
Adapter – if you are coming from another country, do not forget that outlets in the USA are different! So, check out if the plugs are the same, and, if they are not, it is basic to have an adapter. Several hotels offer adapters, but many can charge for them. Since it is so small, why not bring it with you, right?
- Personal care – this is kind of controversial because I know a lot of people choose to buy everything in New York, but what if you arrive late at night and all the places are closed? So I always suggest bringing a toothbrush and toothpaste, at least.
- Medicine – maybe you take medications every day, so, don’t forget to pack that. Also, other medications that you are used to it – of course, you can always buy things over the counter here as well.
- Underwear – I know it’s theoretically obvious, but I’ve had a client who forgot her panties in Brazil and had to spend money on underwear. Do not forget to prioritize comfort and the fact that you spend long hours without changing clothes.
- Medium bag/backpack – when people travel, it is common to go out for a walk in the morning and only return to the hotel at night. So it is good to get prepared to face long hours of walking with some items like water, some snacks like a cereal bar, an extra charger for the cell phone, wallet, and umbrella when needed; anyway, the list varies according to the season and the destination. But regardless, it is always good to carry a medium bag or a backpack that fits these things! Choose a bag that allows you to carry everything you want and does not get in the way of you – like cross bags. Leave the little bags or clutches to go out at night!
- Pack more top pieces than bottom pieces: for a week’s trip, for example, the idea is to bring three pants and a skirt, you don’t need more than that! When we take photos, the most obvious part is always the one next to our face, so it’s much more interesting to bring more top items to create more combinations of outfits. Try to carry double the top items than the bottom items. Example: Are you bring three pairs of pants? Carry at least six top pieces (blouses/jackets/coats).
- Neutral color clothing: they are easier to mix and match, and you can have many more options.
What to pack for winter in NYC
Although winter in NY is freezing, do not panic. The big secret is to wear very warm inner layers. It is the famous “onion effect,” and you will dress in layers. It helps because, for the outdoors, you have to be as protected as possible, but when indoors, you will realize that the heating works very well and you can “peel” and take off some layers to be comfortable. Let’s go to the list:
- Thermal clothing: for me, these are the great saviors for cold days. Thermal clothing is blouses and tights made of special fabrics that hold the heat of our body, and with today’s technology is easy to find very thin and comfortable pieces. Because these are the first layer of protection, they are also called second skin. In New York, it is easy to find and prices are great. My suggestion would be to bring at least one thermal set with you and buy more in New York.
- Thicker fabric clothing: bringing too many clothes that are too thin, even with the thermal layer underneath is useless. Thin items made of cotton, viscose, or polyester will not protect you from the cold and will take up unnecessary space in your suitcase. The most suitable fabrics for cold days are those that are warm, EVEN thicker, like pieces of wool, chamois, flannel, and cashmere. You should also think about coats, cardigans, or jackets that can be used just below the outer layer, to create another overlap and leave you more protected. So here’s the tip: the second layer should be made of very warm fabrics!
- Jacket/ coat suitable for cold weather: this one is an important point because we often underestimate the cold, and we bring some coats that, in the end, are not effective. They are the outer layer. What is an “appropriate” coat for the cold? It is one that, in addition to retaining the warmth of your body, will protect you from the wind as well. And oh, they are bulky and take up quite a bit of room in the suitcase, so I suggest taking the biggest one on the plane with you. I know these coats may not look so beautiful – after all, we want to take beautiful pictures in New York, right? – but you can not neglect this layer. So think that the thicker the coat, the more it will protect you from the cold.
- Comfortable shoes/boots: do not forget that in New York, we walk a lot! So, you have to be very comfortable to walk all day. Avoid high heels or very tight shoes. You should wear boots (the ones with lining are better), but some people can stand the cold with sneakers too (I do not think it protects well). Always wear thermal socks. Another tip is to buy thermal insoles, which can be swapped easily, so buying only one pair would be enough. Forget flats and open shoes!
- Is it necessary to bring snow boots? As much as we have this image of NY in our heads, you should know that it does not snow that much in the city. And it is practically impossible to predict if it will snow even though it is VERY cold. Snow boots are usually expensive, they are heavy and take up a lot of space. If you want to spend your money, go ahead! But they are not necessary.
- Hats, gloves, scarves, and socks: It’s no use being super warm when your feet or hands are freezing. Again, do not underestimate the cold weather. Nowadays, there are many gloves that have touch technology, that is, you can even use your phone without having to take them off. It is very important to have appropriate socks for the cold, besides the insoles I mentioned.
What to bring in the summer
In the same way that we should not underestimate the freezing cold, summer can be hard as well! Remember always to stay hydrated. The bag for summer is much less bulky and takes up less space, so check what to bring:
- Comfortable shoes: I think it’s a pretty basic but extremely important tip. As we said before, in New York, we walk a lot and must be comfortable. Many women like to wear flat sandals, but I do not think they are so comfortable because they can create blisters. The best option, therefore, would be sneakers, flats, and slip-on. Avoid wearing shoes you have never worn because you do not know how your feet will feel. And, as always, avoid very high heels.
- Natural fabrics: for warmer days, the ideal is to invest in natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, or silk, as they allow our skin to breathe.
- Carrying a cardigan: does not have to be anything heavy, a cardigan or a light jacket does the job well in case it gets cold at night or you go to a restaurant with strong air conditioning.
- Cap or hat: besides being a good trick to make the outfit look more interesting, it’s a great way to protect your face from the sun. And never forget the sunscreen, okay?
- Why not take a picnic blanket? Have you ever thought it might be a great thing to have a picnic in Central Park? Take advantage of a beautiful, sunny, and super-hot day, and there are always many outdoor events this time of year, so enjoy!
What to pack in the mid-season (Spring and Fall)
Here’s where the thing starts to get a bit confusing. Can I give you a silly tip that will change your life? Pack very close to the day of your trip and check the weather forecasting before doing it! Weather can be crazy around this time and quite difficult to predict! Can it be cold? Yes. Can it be hot? Yes. So be prepared!
- Avoid bringing heavy jackets: do you know that super heavyweight jacket we talked about in the winter topic? Leave it at home. Except for a VERY CRAZY day of extremely low temperature, normally, the cold during mid-season is not that strong. You can be well protected with lighter jackets, but bring at least a warmer one (especially in the Fall!)
- Avoid very summer pieces: no tank tops or summer dresses, unless you want to wear them with something on top of that. In both seasons, temperatures drop at night; keep that in mind.
- Do I need to wear boots? In general, yes. Especially in the Fall, when temperatures begin to drop quite a bit. The ankle boots will work perfectly well.
- Do I need gloves, a cap, and a scarf? You’ll probably not use them, especially in the spring, but this is very personal. Some people feel very cold, so we go back to the first tip from above; check the weather forecasting.
Anyway, guys, I think that’s it. I think the main trick is to pack next to the trip date and check the weather every day so that you can only carry appropriate clothing for the weather you will be facing during your days in New York. Otherwise, just enjoy this spectacular city.
Content creator and journalist in New York City. Here, I share lifestyle, beauty, NYC tips, thoughts, and the struggles about living in the most amazing city in the world! I’m not gonna pretend to be another person: I’m a Brazilian immigrant and I think this is my soul, it is part of who I am. I hope you enjoy my content! Follow me on Instagram!