Packing for New York

What you pack for a New York trip will change with the seasons, so check the forecast before you start packing! You'll need to bring essentials like your passport, comfortable walking shoes and US dollars

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What you pack for a New York trip will change with the seasons, so check the forecast before you start packing! You'll need to bring essentials like your passport, comfortable walking shoes and US dollars

What to pack for New York

The US is a popular destination amongst Brits – in 2018 over 3,472,000 UK residents visited the States.

A direct flight from London to New York is on average 8 hours and 10 minutes. With such a long flight time, most people visiting the US will stay for nearly 2 weeks.
If you’re heading off to the States soon our New York packing guide will ensure you don’t forget any travel essential such as comfortable walking shoes or US dollars.

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Wondering what to pack for New York?

Our New York Packing List covers:

  1. Holiday Essentials
  2. Hand luggage packing list
  3. Packing list for New York city winter
  4. Packing list for New York city summer


Your NYC packing list will change with the seasons. The temperature in New York City ranges from hot summers with highs of 29 degrees to cold winter with lows of minus 3 degrees. However there are a few holiday essentials that will remain constant no matter what the weather is like.

What to pack for New York

Holiday Essentials – Must Haves:

  1. Passport
  2. ESTA
  3. Travel insurance
  4. Travel Money
  5. Power adapter
  6. Smartphone


1. Passport:

For certain nationalities your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the purposed visit. British passport holders are exempt from this six month rule, your passport needs only to be valid for the duration of your stay.

2. ESTA:

If you’re a British or European passport holder you need to apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA). The ESTA costs $14 dollars and is valid for two years. If you have visited the states recently check the status of ESTA as it may still be valid. Also check with your airline what advanced passenger information is required before you fly to the states.

3. Travel insurance:

Check that your travel insurance covers you for travel to the United States.

4. Travel Money:

It’s handy to carry some cash for tipping in New York. If you’re planning a visit to New York in the next couple of months, it’s a good idea to start tracking the GBP to USD exchange rate so you get the best possible rate.Buy online for our best US Dollar exchange rate. Carrying cash is also handy for tipping in New York.

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5. Power adapter:

Be sure to pack a universal power adapter and power bank for charging up your electronic devices. If you’ve forgotten it, don’t worry, you can buy a cheap adapter in hardware stores or drugstores like Rite Aid or Walgreens.

6. Smartphone:

Before heading off to New York be sure to check the cost of roaming in the US with your mobile phone provider. You can download Google Maps and travel guides while on WIFI to avoid racking up an expensive mobile bill.

Hand luggage packing list

  • A power bank
  • Travel sized toiletries
  • Travel pillow
  • Prescription medication
  • Flight socks
  • Change of clothes


The average direct flight time from London to New York is just over 8 hours. For such a long haul flight you’ll need your hand luggage to be well packed.

For a long haul journey, flight socks are essential to prevent DVT (deep vein thrombosis), as well as calf exercises at least every half hour and walking around the cabin when possible. Also pack some travel size toiletries such as toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant so you can freshen up during the flight. Just remember that the containers with liquids cannot be bigger than a 100mls. It’s also wise to pack a change of clothes and comfortable walking shoes case your luggage goes missing.

Travel Toiletries:

If you are taking only hand luggage, make sure any liquids you pack are travel sized (100mls or less).


  • Hand sanitiser
  • Deodorant
  • Shower gel
  • Shampoo & conditioner
  • Face cream with a good SPF factor
  • First aid kit


A hand sanitiser is essential especially if you plan on using the subway to get around. A recent study of the NYC subway found that touching the handrail is equivalent to shaking hands with 10,000 people. If travelling in the summer don’t forget to pack your sun cream.

A well packed first aid kit should have:

  • Plasters
  • Antiseptic spray or wipes
  • Painkillers
  • Antihistamines for allergic reactions
  • Insect bite cream
  • Re-hydration sachets
  • Imodium for diarrhoea.

In general, you don’t need to worry about insect bites or hay fever allergies in New York City unless you are visiting parks or woodlands like Central Park. If you have forgotten anything it’s easy to find a drugstore like Rite Aid or Walgreens.

Packing list for New York City winter:

Low temperatures that drop below freezing are common in winter. If it’s snowed and the temperature has dipped above and below freezing, there will be slushy puddles off the curb of most sidewalks and patches of ice too. You’ll need comfortable, waterproof boots with good traction so you don’t slip when walking around New York City.

A popular activity at this time of year is ice skating in front of Rockefeller Centre, so be sure to dress warmly with a nice warm winter coat and don’t forget your hat and gloves.

Basically, packing for winter weather in NYC is all about layers and good winter gear.

Check the weather forecast before you go, if it’s really cold bring your thermals.

Winter packing list:

  • Comfortable waterproof walking shoes or boots
  • Fleece lined leggings
  • Fleece lined tights (if you want to wear skirts and dresses)
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Hat and scarf
  • Jeans (with thermals for extra warmth)
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Socks and underwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Trousers
  • Underwear
  • Warm Jumpers and sweaters
  • Winter coat
  • Wool socks


Packing list for New York City summer:

New York in the summer is hot! Temperatures in July can reach average highs of 29 degrees. Be sure to check the weather forecast before your trip.

At this time of year, New Yorkers and tourists love to escape to Central Park a 843 acre parkland in the heart of bustling city of New York. On a sunny summer day, it’s the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a picnic.

Another popular summer time activity for New Yorkers is going to the beach. If you plan on going to beach be sure to pack your swimsuit. There are some beautiful beaches in New York such as: Coney Island Beach, Staten Island and Long Island beaches.

Basically, packing for New York in the summer take mainly short sleeved t-shirts or shirts and a sweater in case it gets cold at night.

Summer packing list:

  • Baseball cap
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  •  Jeans
  • Light cardigan or sweater
  • Long trousers in a light fabric such as linen or cotton
  • Sandals or flip flops
  • Shorts
  •  Socks and underwear
  • Sun dress
  • Sunglasses
  • Swim suit
  • T-shirts


Summer Toiletries:
New York in the summer is hot and muggy. Our advice is to pack good sunscreen and to pack a travel sized deodorant or wipes in your wash-bag along with your other toiletries.  As you’ll probably want to freshen up when out and about.

  • Sunscreen
  • After sun lotions
  • Travel sized deodorant


Final note on packing for New York

Check the weather forecast before your trip.
In the winter the temperatures drop below zero so pack good winter gear and boots with good grip. In the summer New York is hot and muggy, so pack loose comfortable clothing and comfortable walking shoes.

Don’t forget your travel essentials – your passport, power adapter and US dollars should be at the top of your packing list. Buy your dollars online for our best GBP to US dollar exchange rate.

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