What to bring
1. Stunner rags for going out
One or two banging outfits only. Look, Bali is a tropical beach yes but you’re going to go out at night, no matter what you think. (Unless you’re from New York City, then you really won’t care about parties in Bali. NYC residents are the only ones who are immune to Seminyak’s charms.) And you’re going to want to look nice. Bali is very international now, with plenty of very good looking and judgmental people. (Disregard this rule if you’re a well traveled fashion industry head- you already know what to do.)
2. Select clothes for everyday (including a long sleeve light thing for the bike)
Two or three ensembles are enough! It’s fine! Do yourself a favor and pack your three favorite most comfortable chic things you’ve worn in the last month and that’s it! And, provided you’ll be like most people, you’ll be on a scooter, so bring a light long-sleeve thing you can throw over whatever. The most burned I’ve seen people is from riding the motorbike. One gets so burned in such an awkward way.
3. Two swimsuits, one for looking cute and one for getting rocked/i.e. actually swimming
Like, I’m just disregarding if you surf because that’s a whole other thing. But one bathing suit for looking very cute, and another for swimming. Actually I don’t know. I only wear one-pieces because I don’t have to pull them up when I’m duck-diving. I don’t own a bikini.
4. An Unlocked iPhone
If you’re not from America, and you have an unlocked phone, congrats! You can get a sim card and text that Swedish girl you met at that Mexican place with the Baja-style tacos.
5. Nice sunscreen & hair ties
This is all pretty obvious but… sunscreen is extra expensive here and selection is severely limited. You’ll need a ton and you’ll want the good stuff. I wear it on the back of my hands and forearms on the bike, and Tropical Sands SPF 30 on everything- stays on in the water. Bring nice sunscreen you’ll actually wear. Also – you can’t get good hair ties here. Crisis.
No good books stores here. Bring two from home.
7. Friendly and open attitude toward Balinese and Balinese culture.
Learn these three words at least: Terima Kasih means “thank you.” Bagus means “good.” Suka means “I like.” Too easy. Make an effort to do something vaguely cultural. I like the sunset Kecak Dance at Ulutwau. Just make sure to go by yourself and have dinner in the area afterwards, unless you want to spend three hours in traffic afterwards going back to Canggu. Cacho’s and Kat’s Kitchen are two great local restaurants. Be respectful and appreciative and ask questions. Bali is magic.
8. Map at Periplus
You can get an atlas of Bali at Periplus, the local bookstore, and if you don’t have a smart phone with GPS, it’s essential if you’re trying to navigate. Even if you do have a phone, it’s still an amazingly helpful secret buy for all the windy twisting roads here.
9. Strong probiotic
Get a good probiotic before you come and take it, it’ll help with your immune system and help prevent stomach problems. You’re being introduced to a lot of new bacteria and flus and all those little cuts get infected fast. That and sip four liters of water a day and you’re all good.
10. Travelers insurance at worldnomads.com
I’ve always done this jammie. It’s saved me thousands over the years. It’s pretty cheap and you can get it before you leave. I grab it for any trip over a few weeks, and would recommend it. They’ve paid me out in a timely respectful manner and their online message center is always there when I get confused about what forms needs to be filled blah blah.
11. Salt and Vinegar Chips
Bali doesn’t have salty v’s. Or when they do they’re $8 a bag.
12. Lots of underwear
Because they disappear at the Laundromat. Also it’s very hot here.
What not to bring
1. The lover you met last summer
Don’t bring sand to the beach!
2. Your insanity or sanity, really. Or your promiscuity or virginity.
Don’t be stupid and don’t be a know it all. Also, most prominent feminists question if the sexual revolution really happened. Be safe.
3. Anything expensive
Treat this like a trip to the beach. Bring nothing that sparkles or dislikes sand in its crevices.
A big bag that won’t fit beneath the bike seat.
Always put your bag under your seat while riding a scooter! Discourage bag thieves!
Photo via Free People.