Packing List: Melbourne

Nothing can ruin a vacation like stepping off the plane, ready to start your epic vacation only to realize you forgot an essential item. Below I’ve compiled a list of essential items to pack on your trip to Melbourne Australia. I’m going to mention that this packing list should be used only as a general guide. You don't have to take every item on this list — use your best judgement to determine what you will need — and remember it is always to helpful to try and pack as light as possible.

Read on: Melbourne Travel Guide

Tip: As you read this, feel free to click on any of the pictures or links to shop exactly what I use when I travel. Most of the links are Amazon links so this is especially helpful if you are an Amazon Prime member!

The Best Carry On Luggage

Let’s start at the very top, with luggage. I always try, no matter how long the trip is, to pack only a carry on. Not only is it lighter and easier to travel (especially helpful if you are traveling alone) but it also save essential time that you should be relaxing, not waiting in lines to check and pick up bags. Once you start limiting yourself to only a carry on you will be surprised just how much stuff can fit!

I have exclusively used an Away carry on since 2016 and I LOVE IT. You can see my review of it here. These are a little pricey but I still recommend them due to the amazing durability and quality.

If you aren’t ready to spend a couple hundred on an Away Luggage check out the similar carry on bags I have linked below.

A few tips to help you pack light

  • Bring clothes that serve multiple purposes. For example: A maxi skirt can be worn over a bathing suit as a cover-up and also be worn with my heels for a nicer dinner.

  • Pack the same color scheme throughout your bag. This helps ensure everything matches everything easily.

  • Wear your bulkiest clothing items on the plane, especially your bulkiest shoes and heaviest jacket. It frees up tons of space in your carry on and also provides an extra layer (or pillow) for the plane ride.

Read on: The top cities you can’t miss on your first trip to Australia

Clothing to pack for Melbourne

Obviously, the first thing you will need to do is look at the the weather before boarding your plane to Australia. The good news is Melbourne is a great option for tourists and adventurers year-round.

Melbourne is famous for experiencing four seasons in one day. We totally experienced this on our trip. In the mornings it would be bitterly cold, by noon I would be sweating and then at dusk a crisp fall like atmosphere would surround us. Packing for Melbourne is hard because of the unique weather patterns so I suggest layers and a carrying a pretty big day bag.

Also, don't forget that weather and seasons are opposite in the Southern Hemisphere. January is the hottest month, with temperature averaging 73ºF and July is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 55ºF. In general, though the days are pretty hot and you'll want some tanks, shorts, and bathing suits.

Read on: Best things to do in Melbourne

Bathing Suit

Your probably going to need a bathing suit in Melbourne. Maybe just for you hotel or maybe for a visit to Brighton Beach. Be sure to pack a couple of bathing suits for your trip. Personally, I love one pieces more than anything! It means I can indulge in all the delicious food and drinks around Melbourne without worrying too much about being in a swimsuit later.

Read on: My favorite bars and restaurants in Melbourne

Cover ups for Melbourne

It may get very hot during the middle of the day in Melbourne. Make sure you pack some trendy cover-ups that hopefully can also double as a cute dress out. A super easy way to look cute and put together is by wearing a maxi skirt on top of a plain one piece. There are also so many super cute dresses these days that are technically cover-ups.

Read on: How to visit Australia on a budget

Casual Shorts and T-shirts

You'll want a great pair of shorts and lots of breathable shirts. Especially for walking around. It gets hot in Melbourne, especially midday! Make sure to drink lots of water, you shouldn’t underestimate how hot it gets. Also make sure you have breathable cottons or something that wicks away moisture.

Layers and a big bag

Like I said above, Melbourne’s weather can be crazy so you are going to want to layer up. I recommend a light wool zip-up jacket to use especially in the morning. Wool is incredibly warm while also remaining extremely lightweight.

You’ll also want a pretty big bag if you plan on walking around all day. I use a Hershel day bag (the large one on the left) to carry all my stuff while I travel (including camera equipment). If you don’t think you need something that big I suggest the Hershel backpack.

Read on: Best Restaurants, Bars, and Pubs in Melbourne

Other clothing essentials

By no means a definitive list, here are a couple more things you might want to pack for your trip to Melbourne.

  • Underwear, bras, and socks

  • Pajamas

  • Belts, scarves, jewelry and other accessories

  • Athletic wear (sports bras, workout pants)

  • Straw Beach Hat

  • Sunglasses

  • Cross Body Purse

    • I always pack a cross-body purse. This type of purse is harder to steal, a thief can’t just grab it and run. I look for one with a long strap. When I’m sitting at a restaurant I put the strap under my chair and keep the purse on my lap. But, don’t worry Melbourne is very safe! I am just super cautious.

 Best Shoes For Traveling Australia

The lighter you pack the more versatile of a shoe you’ll need. When exploring a city I tend to walk an average of 8 miles a day! So I want comfortable shoes.

On every trip, I pack the same three pairs of shoes in my carry on: sandals, light-weight sneakers, and nude heels.

Because I only use a small carry on for every trip, I try and pack everything in the same color scheme so that I match effortlessly. My normal color scheme includes whites, browns, and a few pops of colors. The only time I break the color rule are with my sneakers. I don't mind if they are black — it helps to hide the dirt anyway. Black sneakers also tend to match my plane attire which is always leggings and a sweatshirt. Regardless of color, they have to be lightweight! Look for sneakers that are mesh on top, this will help fit them in your bag.

For heels, I always carry with me nude low heels. Specifically the ones I linked here. A low heel helps me walk in them easily no matter what type of roads are thrown at me. They also, and more importantly, fit into my bag without much effort.

As for sandals, I always opt for ones that have the smallest heel possible. I also like them to have a clasp around the ankle. I look for a clasp because it helps secure them to my foot and ensure they don’t slide off.  

Toiletries, Medication, Personal Items

If you're following my advice, and using only a carry on for your trip, make sure you pack all your toiletries in travel on sized. When it comes to toiletries — the less you pack the better. Anything you don't bring can easily be bought abroad. Often times for cheaper than in the states!

For example, when I recently went to Tulum Mexico my travel sized toothpaste ran out. I went to a store and a full sized Colgate bottle was less than a dollar! (In the states, that same bottle is $3-something.)

  • Ear Plugs

    • Why is this first you ask? Because it is the most important thing that should be in your toiletry bag. I can't even tell you how many times I have been SO THANKFUL I had earplugs on me.

  • Hairbrush or comb

    • Some of you are going to think I'm crazy but I literally travel with the tiny brush I've linked and posted a picture of. I've found normal brushes take up way too much room and having a tiny one is perfectly fine.

  • Shampoo/Conditioner/Body Wash

    • If I know I'm staying at a nice hotel I only pack conditioner to save room. Shampoo and body wash at hotels work perfectly fine for me. Also, stop buying those mini bottles of brand name shampoo. They are so expensive. Buy reusable bottles and fill them up before you go.

Things I don't ever pack and simply buy (or ask the front desk) if I need them:

  • Nail file/clippers

  • Tweezers

  • Shampoo/Body Wash (I wrote about why above)

  • Aloe Vera (I try and apply sunscreen so I don't need it but if you do get a bad burn you can simply buy it while you're there)


Camera Gear and Equipment

My full list of travel gear, that I take on every trip can be found here.

Read on: The most Instagrammable spots in Melbourne

Scuba Diving Camera Equipment

If you are heading to the Great Barrier Reef while in Australia make sure you have all the right equipment for underwater photography. If you want to take photos underwater make sure you have the right equipment. For great underwater photos I suggest a Go Pro — but, make sure you have a red filter with it. If you don’t, all your photos will look very blue. If you are only snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef consider bringing a waterproof case for your phone.

Read on: Everything you need to know to plan a trip to the Great Barrier Reef

Money and Documents

  • Cash

  • Credit and/or debit cards

  • Passport

  • Drivers license

  • Airline tickets, hotel reservation and car rental info

    • I use an app called Tripit to store all my travel itinerary information.

One last thing... even though researching ahead of time is great, I definitely recommend bringing a guidebook along with you. Here are some books I recommend...

And of course, if you have any questions DO NOT hesitate to reach out to me via Instagram, Twitter, or just shoot me an email tessajuliette at gmail dot com

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