Planning a trip to one of Canada’s most beautiful cities? If you’re wondering what you need for a trip to Vancouver, we’ve laid everything out in this comprehensive packing list to make it easy to plan ahead!
Vancouver is an incredible city with so much to offer, and it’s one of our favorite places! The diverse range of things to do can make it hard to decide what to pack. But, as long as you do your research about the weather and plan some things to do in advance, this packing list will help you make sure you are well-prepared for a trip to Vancouver, BC.
Essential Things to Pack for Vancouver: The Basics
Ready to begin packing your bags for a trip to Vancouver? Let’s start with the basics!
Packing always seems daunting before you start. You don’t want to overpack but you also don’t want to forget something! When visiting a city like Vancouver, we always try to remind ourselves that as long as we have the critical things, everything else can be found at the destination if need be.
There are some key packing list items that are important to bring on any trip to Vancouver. Here are some of the basic must-have essentials to pack ahead of your trip:
- Suitcase — Of course, one of the most important pieces to pack is a suitcase that’ll hold all of your things! We prefer luggage that fits in the cabin, bypassing the extra time to check bags and preventing you from possibly losing your luggage in transit. We recommend this 20-inch suitcase, as it’s lightweight but sturdy, and will fit in overhead bins. But if you have excess liquids or just feel you need more space (maybe you like bringing home souvenirs), we recommend this larger alternative!
- Travel Backpack — Prefer to travel hands-free? A travel backpack is the way to go! While we usually travel with a suitcase, a backpack is great for long walks and hostel-style adventures. A Pacsafe travel backpack is our go-to when we decide to travel with a backpack. It fits the carry-on sizing requirements and has anti-theft features to keep your belongings safe.
- Identification — If you’re a Canadian citizen, you’ll need your driver’s license to board any flights. You’ll also need it to rent a car (RentalCars.com has unbeatable prices), so don’t leave it at home! If you’re arriving from outside of Canada, don’t forget your passport, too. Make sure that it’s not expired (or with 6 months of expiring).
- Travel Credit Card — While cash is accepted in most places, you’ll need a credit card to easily pay with a foreign currency, make advanced bookings (like tickets, accommodations, and rentals), rent a vehicle, and so on. We recommend one that will give you points, either cash back or travel points, to make a little money back on vacation purchases.
- Money Belt — Most parts of Vancouver are safe for tourists, but it’s still a big city and pickpocketing can always happen! You should always exercise caution over your belongings when in certain areas, like in downtown, touristy areas (like Gastown or Robson Street), or crowded areas. If you’re worried about your valuables, we recommend a money pouch or bra pouch that is worn close to the body to keep valuables safe at all times.
- Travel Insurance — We always, always, always recommend travel insurance for any international trip. You just never know what could happen and it’s better to be safe than sorry! Some credit cards offer some sort of travel insurance, but make sure you read the fine print before relying on that. To make sure you’re covered, we recommend getting travel insurance from SafetyWing or World Nomads.
- Padlock — Keeping your valuables safe is important when traveling. You don’t want to have your stuff stolen in the airport or hostel! We recommend this TSA-approved lock for checked baggage. You can’t just put a regular lock on your checked bags because the TSA security officers might have to search your bags and would have to break a normal lock, unfortunately. If you’re staying in a hostel, we recommend a regular combination lock to keep your belongings safe.
- Travel documents — Make sure that you have all of your travel documents, either printed or loaded onto your phone. These documents include things like your flight ticket details, Vancouver travel itinerary, hotel reservations (and addresses!!), copies of identification documents, medical and travel insurance certificates, car rental reservations, health travel documents, valid visa (if necessary), event or activity tickets, etc.
What Clothing to Wear in Vancouver
Deciding on what clothing to bring on a vacation is always difficult, especially in Vancouver. Sometimes the weather catches you by surprise and you don’t want to be unprepared!
Packing lots of layers is important when visiting Vancouver. While Vancouver does have a mild, temperate climate, the city is also known for getting rain, rain, and more rain (especially from November to April)! You need to be able to add or remove layers as the weather changes.
Winter in Vancouver gets the most rain but luckily, the city does stay much warmer than the rest of Canada. Even in winter, the city itself doesn’t get much snow. Summers are sunny and warm — perfect for beach days!
Basically, you’ll want to pack clothing for a range of conditions, from warm sunny weather to cool rainy days! Here is a list of clothing that we recommend packing for a trip to Vancouver:
- Raincoat (Women’s / Men’s) — Vancouver is often called “Raincouver”, so make sure you bring a raincoat in case of unexpected showers! Every local knows that a good waterproofed rain jacket is essential for Vancouver. We wear the Arcteryx Beta AR (Women’s / Men’s) year-round and it’s perfectly suited to Vancouver’s coastal weather. This jacket is an investment, but we found that it’s worth the price instead of periodically replacing low-quality ones.
- Insulated Jacket (Women’s / Men’s) — If you’re visiting Vancouver between October and April, it’s a good idea to have an insulated jacket. Although Vancouver isn’t known for low temperatures (usually it’s 0 to 10°C in winter), the dampness can really add to the chill (you’ll probably hear locals insist “it’s a wet cold”!). A good puffy jacket will make a huge difference and is usually all you need to stay warm. We wear an Arc’teryx Atom LT Jacket (Women’s / Men’s). It’s warm but packs down small, making it great for traveling.
- Waterproof pants (Women’s / Men’s) — You might not find rain pants necessary if you plan on staying in the city but for hiking in the rain, waterproof pants are a must! Rain pants are also great if you plan on biking in the rain (bikes are one of the best ways to explore Vancouver). We love the Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic Pants (Women’s / Men’s), which will keep you dry and also come on and off easily thanks to full-length zippers.
- Hats — No matter what time of year you visit, you’ll probably want some kind of hat! A classic baseball cap or snapback (Women’s / Men’s) is great for shielding your eyes from the sun or keeping the back of your neck protected. If you’re visiting during winter, a toque or beanie like this winter hat will keep your head warm. This hat is unisex (even though it’s marketed towards men), but here is a women-specific one as an alternative.
- Shirts (Women’s / Men’s) — You’ll want a few different styles of shirts for your trip to Vancouver. For days spent outdoors, these quick-drying merino shirts from Icebreaker (Women’s / Men’s) are perfect and come in a variety of colors. Other than that, it’s a good idea to pack some simple button-down shirts or something a little more fancy if you plan on going to any nice restaurants.
- Pants (Women’s / Men’s), Leggings, Dresses, and/or Skirts — Leggings, pants, or jeans will all work for a trip to Vancouver, so pick whatever is most comfortable. Alternatively, pack some summer dresses or skirts if that’s more your style! We often wear Lululemon leggings, as they are fairly durable and comfortable. Since this brand is headquartered in Vancouver and very popular, you’ll blend right in with the locals. We also really like prAna pants, either the Halle for women or Stretch Zion for men. These pants are great for casual wear or adventures like hiking or rock climbing!
- Warm Sweaters (Women’s / Men’s) — Even in the summer, a warm sweater or hoodie is a good idea. Evenings can be cool and of course, winters are chilly, both day and night. You want to make sure you have enough layers to keep warm. We recommend these Columbia fleece jackets (Women’s / Men’s), but any hoodie or sweater will do the trick.
- Socks (Women’s / Men’s) — Don’t forget to pack socks (Women’s / Men’s)! Even if you’re visiting in the summer, you’ll want these for chilly evenings. We recommend a pair for every day, plus a few spare pairs.
- Hiking Socks — Have any Vancouver hikes planned? If so, you’ll want to pack some hiking socks. Unlike everyday socks, hiking socks are cushioned to prevent blisters and made with materials that help reduce sweat and odor. If you’re looking for a new pair of hiking socks, we highly recommend Darn Tough socks. The quality of these socks is second to none, and they have a great lifetime guarantee — the brand replaces any socks showing signs of wear!
- Underwear (Women’s / Men’s) — Something you definitely can’t forget to pack! We always try and pack a pair for every day (of course), plus a few extras — maybe more, depending on the time of the month.
- Bras / Sports Bras — For those who need it, be sure to pack a few bras. Also, if you’re planning on being active and spending time outdoors, make sure to pack some sports bras, too. Need a new sports bra? This Under Armour sports bra is a great option for support and color choices. For those who mostly plan on relaxing, just make sure you pack whatever will be the most comfortable!
- Pajamas / Loungewear (Women’s / Men’s) — You’ll want to pack some cozy pajamas and clothes to relax in. For those who like PJs, something like these (Women’s / Men’s) would work well. Or, just pack some classic sweatpants to relax in when you’re unwinding from the day.
- Hiking Pants (Women’s / Men’s) — If you’re planning on taking advantage of Vancouver’s many trails, hiking pants are a must. The prAna Halle or Stretch Zion pants are great for hikes and other outdoor activities. If you’re willing to invest, Fjällräven trousers (Women’s / Men’s) are also a good choice due to their water-resistant Greenland wax coating and lots of pockets. Alternatively, if you’re on a budget, you can often find some okay pants for hiking in secondhand stores.
- Shorts (Women’s / Men’s) — Visiting Vancouver in the summer? Don’t forget shorts! You’d be surprised at how hot it can get and shorts are perfect for time spent outside on a sunny day. Another option is to bring a pair of board shorts (Women’s / Men’s), which can double as casual shorts and are great for days spent on one of Vancouver’s best beaches.
- Sunglasses (Women’s / Men’s) — Make sure to protect your eyes! We recommend bringing sunglasses on your trip, even if you’re visiting Vancouver in the winter. We like Costa Del Mar sunglasses (Women’s / Men’s) since they are designed for outdoorsy types. The lenses are 100% polarized to reduce glare and protect your eyes from UV rays. Plus, they look pretty good!
- Swimsuit (Women’s / Men’s) — From Kitsilano to Wreck Beach, Vancouver is home to plenty of amazing beaches so don’t forget your swimsuit and beach towel! While the water around BC is relatively cold, you’ll still need a swimsuit to sunbathe, soak in a hot tub, or do a polar dip.
- Base Layer Tops (Women’s / Men’s) and Bottoms (Women’s / Men’s) — Base layers are the perfect way to stay warm in winter without being bogged down by too many layers. These ones by Smartwool are pricey, but worth it. They’re also very packable and won’t take up much space in your luggage.
- Gloves — If you’re visiting Vancouver in the winter, gloves are a must! You’d be surprised at how quickly your hands can get cold, especially during activities like hiking or when you’re pulling your phone out for directions.
- Scarf — A scarf is another good idea for fall or winter visits. They do a good job of keeping out the cold around your neck, and as a bonus, they are quite trendy in Vancouver!
- Snow Pants (Women’s / Men’s) — While Vancouver doesn’t get much snow, the North Shore Mountains and rest of the Lower Mainland does. In the winter, if you want to venture into the mountains for some skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing, a pair of snow pants would come in handy. Of course, you probably won’t need snow gear if you don’t plan on leaving the city but snow pants will be useful for winter adventures at Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain, Mount Seymour, or Whistler-Blackcomb Ski Resort.
What Footwear to Pack for Vancouver
Vancouver is a big city with a great transit system, but plan on doing a lot of walking!
Your shoes should be suited to the weather and terrain. Make sure to pick comfortable footwear, especially for long walks around the city. In winter, expect there to be rain at some point so pack some waterproof shoes. And of course, you’ll need some extra shoes for fancy nights out, hikes, beach days, and other fun activities!
Vancouverites spend a lot of time outside and you probably will too. Here’s our advice on what shoes to pack for Vancouver:
- Comfortable Shoes — Vancouver’s public transit system is great but even so, be prepared to do a lot of walking to see everything! Running shoes (Women’s / Men’s) are great for walking around Vancouver. But, if you really want to feel like a local, a sleek new pair of Blundstones will really make you fit in — you’ll see everyone wearing these! They are extremely comfortable and versatile, too!
- Hiking Boots (Women’s / Men’s) — If you plan on exploring the endless hiking trails in and around Vancouver (like Lynn Canyon Park, the Grouse Grind, or St. Mark’s Summit), you’ll need a good pair of hiking boots. Vancouver’s hiking trails are beautiful but no joke — be prepared for uneven terrain, muddy areas, roots, and steep inclines. For the coastal terrain, we highly recommend Salomon Quest GTX hiking boots (Women’s / Men’s). They are very comfortable shoes but just make sure you break them in before you arrive (as with all hiking boots)!
- Sandals (Women’s / Men’s) — Vancouver has plenty of beautiful beaches, so sandals are a must! We like Sanuk flip-flops (Women’s / Men’s), but any sandals you already have will work. If you want to do some serious beachcombing and walking into the water, we recommend Chaco sandals (Women’s / Men’s) that strap onto your feet. You’ll be glad for something sturdy when exploring some of Vancouver’s beaches, like Jericho Beach, Spanish Banks, or Kitsilano.
- Rain Boots (Women’s / Men’s) — Don’t get caught in the wet weather without rain boots! Vancouver is a rainy place in winter but it is prone to summer showers too. Packing rain boots is a good idea at any time of year (they’re also great for tide pooling). We like BOGS tall rain boots (Women’s / Men’s), but their ankle boots (Women’s / Men’s) are just as good and easier to pack. Alternatively, you can get away without packing rain boots but make sure you have some sort of waterproofed shoe as an alternative.
What Electronics to Pack
We know you won’t want to be glued to your phone on vacation, but some electronics are a must when traveling — especially to a city as beautiful as Vancouver where you’ll want to take a ton of photos!
Make sure to be careful with any electronics you bring. An anti-theft backpack that opens from the back is a good idea to prevent anyone else from getting their hands on your gear. Vancouver is a safe city for tourists, but you don’t want to take chances!
Here are a few suggestions of electronic devices we find useful when traveling:
- Phone & Chargers — Everyone remembers their phone, but don’t forget your charger. You don’t want to be stuck with a dead phone! Of course, if you do accidently leave your phone charger at home, you can easily buy a replacement in many stores in Vancouver. It’s just easier if you don’t have to do this!
- Travel Camera — Vancouver is a very photogenic city, so you’ll want a good camera to document your trip! We never leave home without our Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame DSLR, but we are also obsessed with taking photos. Although it’s expensive, the professional quality of the images from this DSLR is worth the price and it’s great for wildlife photography (we love taking it on whale-watching tours). If you prefer something smaller (in size and price), a good option is a pocket-sized Canon PowerShot or just using your phone’s camera.
- Camera Lenses — We always bring a few different lenses for our DSLR camera. Our top picks are the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II for wildlife (we attach a 1.4X extender for extra zoom) and a Canon 16-35mm f/4L lens for landscapes. If you want a multi-purpose lens for traveling, the Canon 24-105mm (or Nikon Nikkor 24-120mm) are great choices, too.
- Tripod — A tripod isn’t a necessity, but it can make or break a photo, especially in low light or landscape photos. Our favorite lightweight option for cell phones is the UBeesize tripod, and for larger cameras, the Manfrotto Element is a sturdy option. This monopod also works well for those who like to take photos on the go.
- Camera Bag — It’s important to protect all the photography gear you’ve invested in, so pack your gear into a quality camera bag. For adventuring, we like the Lowepro ProTactic 450, which has a camera compartment but also extra room for additional items (like snacks). For casual transport around the city, this top-loading shoulder bag is a good option. Whatever you choose, make sure you have a rain cover to avoid moisture damage!
- Memory Cards & External Hard Drive — If you take a lot of photos, your camera storage will fill up quickly! Don’t forget extra SD cards or an external hard drive to store all your photos and videos. This SanDisk 1TB SSD is the perfect travel option since it’s portable and takes up little to no space.
- External Battery Pack — Using your phone all day will drain the battery fast, so having an external charger can be a lifesaver (literally, in some cases!). Bringing an external battery like the Anker PowerCore Slim means you can charge your phone while walking around the city. Just make sure to charge the charger beforehand, so it’s ready when you need it.
- Laptop & Laptop Case — If you need to work or stay connected during your trip to Vancouver, bring a laptop. This way, you can unload photos and videos, but also have a bigger screen to watch shows or movies in your downtime. Make sure to store it inside a laptop case for protection.
- GoPro — Vancouver is an outdoorsy place and a GoPro camera will capture all your nature adventures. We love the GoPro Hero11 but the older versions work well too. The great thing about GoPro is the huge variety of attachments (like protecting casings or chest mounts) that they offer for different kinds of activity, like swimming, skiing, rock climbing, and more.
- E-Reader — As much as we love physical books, it’s hard to beat being able to bring an entire library with you on vacation. E-book readers like the Kindle Paperwhite are perfect for travelers, pack small, and hold a charge longer than a laptop.
Toiletries & Beauty Travel Essentials
When packing your toiletries, make sure to cut them down to the essentials to save space. Don’t bring anything unless you’re sure you’ll use it. If you’re taking carry-on luggage only, make sure to use travel-sized bottles (100mL or less).
Here are a few of the things we recommend packing for your trip to Vancouver. Just remember that everything here can be bought in the city if you forget it or just want to save space in your luggage!
- Toiletries Bag — A bag to keep your toiletries together is essential. We recommend this toiletry bag (or this one), which is large enough to fit enough things for two people. If you don’t need that much space, this smaller one works great too. Just keep in mind that if you are traveling with hand luggage only, you’ll need to store your liquids in a plastic bag for security screening in the airport.
- Toothbrush, Toothpaste, & Dental Floss — If you’re driving to Vancouver, a normal-sized toothpaste and electric toothbrush will be fine. For air travel, you’ll need travel-sized versions, at least for the toothpaste! This folding travel toothbrush will conserve space in your luggage, and this travel-size toothpaste is a good size to bring on the plane. Don’t forget your floss, too!
- Shampoo & Conditioner — For short stays in a hotel, you can use the hotel-provided hair wash products to save space in your luggage. But for a longer trip to Vancouver, stays in a hostel/Airbnb, or if you require certain hair products, it’s best to bring your own. We recommend getting some empty small bottles and filling them with your preferred shampoo and conditioner. Alternatively, buy pre-filled travel-sized shampoo and conditioner bottles. Another option is to bring a shampoo bar and conditioner bar instead. The bars work very well and won’t add extra liquids to your luggage.
- Soap or Body Wash — Most hotels will provide body wash or bar soap. However, sometimes it’s nice to have your own, especially if you’re prone to sensitive skin. This zero-waste handmade bar soap smells great and works better! Alternatively, you can find body wash in pre-filled travel-sized containers or fill up some empty travel bottles. And don’t forget your face cleanser, if you use it!
- Deodorant (Men’s / Women’s) — A very important addition, especially if you plan to be active on your Vancouver vacation! We usually pack whatever we’re currently using at home. If you use a gel, liquid or spray deodorant, make sure it’s small enough for airport security or packed in your checked bags.
- Sunscreen — Vancouver has great summer weather with sunny days, so don’t forget sunscreen! Even when the sky is overcast, it’s important to protect your skin. We recommend an ocean-friendly sunscreen like Sun Bum. It’s waterproof and smells great!
- Lip Balm — You’d be surprised how dry your lips can get from saltwater and sunshine. Our favorite is Burts Bees, made with beeswax to keep your lips hydrated for hours.
- Makeup — Vancouver has a laid-back vibe but if you want to feel put together for nights out in the city, don’t forget makeup! You probably only need a few essentials like concealer, blush and mascara. Just make sure you get travel sizes if you need them for air travel. Don’t forget a travel mirror so you can apply on the go!
- Hairbrush and Hair Elastics — Make sure to bring a good hairbrush and some elastics if you have long hair. If you spend any time in the ocean, the salt water will make your hair quite tangled!
- Hair Styler, Hair Dryer, and Hair Styling Products — If you rely on hair styling tools, don’t forget to pack these! If you use a flat iron or curler, we recommend this 2-in-1 styler. We also recommend a hair dryer, especially since salt water can make your hair feel a little dried out and the heat from the dryer will help with this after a wash. You can also check in advance if your accommodation has one available.
- Feminine Hygiene Products — There’s no worse feeling than your period arriving early and not being prepared! Although these are available in every grocery store and drugstore in Vancouver, it’s a good idea to pack a few extra pads and tampons in your bags just in case. Or, bring a waste-free menstrual cup.
- Nail Kit — We recommend a nail care kit to keep your fingernails trimmed and healthy. This kit has everything you need to cut and file. If you bring nail scissors, just make sure that you check airline regulations around the scissor size allowed in carry-on luggage. Leave the scissors at home if it exceeds size requirements!
- Cologne or Perfume — It’s always nice to have a travel-sized bottle of your favorite scent, especially if you are going out for a nice dinner!
- Razors (Women’s / Men’s) and Shaving Cream — Even for short trips, it’s nice to be able to shave. Most airlines will allow razors in your hand luggage as long as they are encased in plastic. If you use loose razor blades, make sure to put these in your checked bags.
- Contacts & Glasses — Don’t forget your eyesight essentials: glasses, contacts (if you use them), contact lens solution, and a carrying case! A spare pair of glasses is a good idea, just in case.
- Moisturizer — Vancouver has a mild and humid climate, which is generally quite good for your skin. Even so, you should still bring a moisturizer to keep your skin happy. The sun and saltwater can dry your skin out. This one by Aveeno is our favorite, and we also recommend a face moisturizer. If you burn easily, an aloe vera lotion is also great to help soothe irritated skin.
Essential Health Items
Sometimes, vacations don’t go quite as planned and you get sick. And, in a city where people spend so much time outdoors, injuries are always a possibility, too! It’s a good idea to bring a few things with you to Vancouver that can help get you back in tip-top shape if you get sick or hurt. Here are the health items we recommend adding to your packing list for your trip to Vancouver:
- First Aid Kit — A first aid kit is important if you plan on being active outdoors. You can put together your own or purchase a pre-assembled one. In either case, be sure to remove the scissors if you bring it in your carry-on bags.
- Prescriptions — It’s extremely important to remember your prescriptions. You might not be able to purchase them if you forget. Be sure to bring enough to last your trip and a few days extra. And don’t forget your birth control if you take it as a pill!
- Stomach Medicine — There are drugstores everywhere in Vancouver if you forget stomach medicine. But, when you’re sick, it’s nice to not have to run to the store to get medicine — especially if you’re glued to the toilet! It’s better to be prepared and pack some medicine with you, just in case. Imodium or Pepto Bismol will help many stomach problems, and bringing antacids will help with heartburn, gas, and gut discomfort.
- Painkillers — Painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen are a lifesaver, especially if you get regular headaches. They are also good if you tend to get sore after long flights or car trips.
- Bandaids — These are a no-brainer and should be in every first aid kit! For anyone who’s injury prone, bandages are a must-bring!
- Antihistamines — We always recommend packing some antihistamines in case of an allergy attack. Long-lasting allergy meds like Claritin work great for those who spend lots of time outside. Otherwise, Benadryl is a good option for quick relief and can double as a sleep aid, since it contains similar ingredients to sleep medication.
- Tissues — You never know when (or for what!) you might need a tissue. Small packs of tissues are very handy to keep in your daily bag, especially when traveling.
- Bug Spray — Compared to the rest of Canada, Vancouver is pretty safe from mosquitoes and other biting bugs like the dreaded horseflies, black flies, and deerflies found in other parts of the province. At the height of summer, you might encounter some mosquitoes, though. Make sure to bring bug repellent to keep the pests away!
- Masks — Masks are no longer required in most places in British Columbia. If you like wearing masks though (some people do, some people don’t), don’t forget to pack some! We recommend reusable masks to be environmentally friendly. Be sure to check in advance to see if mask mandates have changed before you travel.
Extra Things to Bring on the Plane
If you’re traveling to Vancouver by plane, there are a few things you can pack to make your experience much more enjoyable. Even if you’re just flying within the province, bringing these extra items onto the plane is a good idea — you never know how long you might spend in the airport or on the plane!
Long flights can be uncomfortable, especially if you can’t afford the luxury of first class travel (like us). So, here are a few things you can bring on the plane and into the airport to make the experience more enjoyable.
- Reusable Water Bottle — Pack an empty reusable water bottle to fill up on the other side of airport security. Most airports have fill stations or water fountains where you can fill up a bottle. Don’t spend money on expensive bottled water in the airport! Once you arrive, Vancouver’s tap water is safe to drink. We like Nalgene bottles, or you can get an insulated water bottle to keep the water nice and cold.
- Neck Pillow — These are perfect for anyone who finds sleeping in planes or cars uncomfortable. They help cushion your neck and stop your head from lolling into painful positions. If noise and light bother you, make sure to get an eye mask and earplugs too.
- Snacks — A no-brainer! Even on short flights, sometimes the food offered by the airline isn’t enough. Things like granola bars, sandwiches, crackers, rice crisps, jerky, or similar snacks will keep you full and energized so you’re ready to go when you arrive. A pack of gum is also useful in case your ears pop when flying.
- Entertainment — If you’re lucky, your flight will have in-flight movies on the back of the seat in front of you. For those that don’t, you’ll want something to keep you busy, like a Kindle or laptop (which you can use to watch pre-downloaded movies). You can also download your favorite podcast to your phone and listen while in Airplane Mode. Just don’t forget to bring headphones or AirPods, so you don’t have to pay the airline for a set.
Other Travel Accessories for Vancouver
We’ve covered most of the essentials, but here are a few other ideas for non-necessities that could be helpful depending on what kind of activities you have planned for your trip.
- Binoculars — You’ll want to have a pair of binoculars, especially if you’re planning on doing a whale-watching tour or going birdwatching (check out the George C Reifel Bird Sanctuary). We recommend the Nikon Monarch binoculars for a very long and sharp zoom. These are great for spotting bald eagles perched in the trees or whale spouts in the distance.
- Travel Umbrella — An umbrella in rainy Vancouver is always a good idea. But, one thing that might come as as surprise, given that Vancouver is one of Western Canada’s wettest cities, is that locals are quite split on whether they like or hate umbrellas. Some use umbrellas everywhere, while others only ever wear their rain gear. Pack an umbrella (or don’t), depending on whether you find umbrellas useful for staying dry or annoying and cumbersome!
- Travel Mug — These are a travel staple whether you’re in the city, on the plane, at the beach, or in the mountains. We love this Contigo travel mug, perfect for everything from soup to coffee. We can fill it with hot coffee in the morning, forget about it (as we commonly do), and find it hours later — still hot!
- Laundry Bag & Detergent — Even if you don’t plan on doing laundry, having a laundry bag is a good way to separate your dirty clothes from your clean clothes. This way, you can remind yourself what’s been used and what hasn’t. If you do plan on doing any laundry, laundry detergent sheets pack easily and don’t add to your liquid count.
- Travel Shoe Bag — These are super handy for keeping your shoes from touching your clean clothes. It’s especially handy if you have hiking boots or designated ‘outside shoes’. Vancouver is a coastal city, so many of the walking trails can get muddy in the rain. You don’t want to get dirt all over your suitcase when you pack your shoes!
- SOS Device — Weather and injuries can be unpredictable despite your best efforts. If you do get stuck in a dangerous situation, the Garmin InReach Mini can send an SOS signal to the nearest search and rescue center. It also links to your phone to send messages via satellite while you don’t have a cell signal. Just remember that you will need a satellite subscription to send messages and use the SOS function.
- Bear Spray — The mountains and forests around Vancouver do have some bears and cougars. Some people use bear bells, but they aren’t as effective as bear spray (actually, we don’t recommend using bear bells at all). Make sure you know how to use bear spray if you bring it! These canisters are not something you can pack in any luggage on a plane, so you will have to pick it up in Vancouver if you’re flying. Try one of the local outdoor stores, like Canadian Tire or MEC.
- Day Pack — You will want a small backpack for daytime exploration. We like the Osprey Daylite Daypack, which is comfortable for long wear. If you’re doing any camping, you’ll need something larger, like the Osprey 65L (Women’s / Men’s), which can fit everything you’ll need.
- Hiking Poles — If you’re doing any backcountry hiking, having a pair of trekking poles will help you keep your balance on uneven terrain and reduce stress on your body. We like the Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork ones, but if you don’t want to spend too much, check out these budget-friendly hiking poles. These will make those long hikes through beautiful wilderness areas like Garibaldi Provincial Park or Cypress Provincial Park so much more enjoyable!
Top Travel Tips & Resources for Vancouver, BC
- What to Pack: Click here for our Vancouver Packing List!
- Travel Insurance – If you’re travelling internationally, travel insurance is a must for any trip. Being covered by insurance is especially important when you’re going to an adventure-filled place like British Columbia. If you injure yourself while adventuring, you want to have insurance! We recommend using SafetyWing for international travel insurance. They are affordable and have great policies for travellers, digital nomads, and remote workers. Also, SafetyWing provides COVID-19 coverage, which many other insurance companies don’t cover.
- Car Rental – We find the best deal on vehicle rental prices using RentalCars.com. They compare the prices for different car rental companies so you can find the best deals out there!
- Accommodations – We prefer booking all of our hotels, hostels, and other accommodations through Booking.com because they have a flexible cancellation policy. Also, there are lots of different options on their platform, from hotels to vacation homes. Alternatively, Expedia and Hotels.com are good for booking accommodations. For vacation home rentals, VRBO is an excellent choice (they have lower fees than Airbnb, many of the same properties, and are more ethical).
- Flights – You’ll find many good flight deals on Skyscanner or Google Flights. You can book flights through these websites and they’ll help you find the best prices and flight times. If you fly at less popular times (e.g. mid-week or red-eye flights), you can also save some money.
- Tours – Get the most out of your vacation by taking a guided tour! This is a great way to see the city, adventure to exciting new locations, and learn about the local culture. Viator or GetYourGuide are great options for booking tours.