Prepping for your upcoming trip to Greece? From the timeless allure of its ancient sites to the vibrant island life, Greece promises an unforgettable experience. But knowing what to pack for this Mediterranean gem can be challenging due to its varied landscapes and activities.
Fear not, as I've compiled a guide to streamline your packing process. We'll delve into the top ten essentials you should pack for your Greek vacation, followed by ten items you can easily purchase once there. So, before you zip up your suitcase, let's set you up for a stress-free journey. Let's start your Greek travel adventure right from your home, one packing item at a time.
10 Essential Items to Pack for Your Greek Vacation
1. Lightweight Clothing
Greece is renowned for its Mediterranean climate, characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Whether you're traversing the ancient ruins of Athens or soaking in the Santorini sunsets, breathable, lightweight clothing is your best companion. Opt for natural fibers like cotton or linen that allow for air circulation and absorb sweat quickly. Light colors are preferable as they reflect sunlight, thereby keeping you cooler. Layered clothing works well as it offers flexibility when transitioning from the sweltering afternoon heat to cooler evenings. Don't forget to pack a light sweater or jacket for the chillier nights or air-conditioned locations. Remember, churches and monasteries require modest dressing, so a wrap or shawl would be useful for those visits.
2. Versatile Swimwear
The Greek islands are home to an array of spectacular beaches - from the pink sands of Crete's Elafonisi Beach to the dramatic cliffs of Zakynthos' Shipwreck Beach. Your Greek vacation packing list should definitely include swimwear. Select pieces that are comfortable for sunbathing and swimming, but also work well as daywear under a skirt, shorts, or wrap. A stylish cover-up, like a kaftan or sarong, can help your beach outfit transition seamlessly into a casual lunch ensemble at a local taverna or a sightseeing trip around town.
3. Portable Power Bank
In the age of digitalization, we use smartphones for almost everything - photography, navigation, communication, and even as a source of entertainment during travel downtime. This multi-utility often leads to rapid battery consumption. A portable power bank can be a lifesaver when you're out exploring all day and away from power outlets. Opt for a lightweight, high-capacity model to keep your devices charged on-the-go.
Here is my FAVORITE power bank that I use on EVERY trip, and fits perfectly in your pouch or purse: Mophie Power Bank
4. Quality Headphones
Traveling to Greece promises an exhilarating sensory experience – the sights of historic ruins, the tastes of traditional cuisine, the touch of the Mediterranean sun, and the sounds of bustling markets. Amidst this sensory feast, having a pair of quality headphones allows for a personal auditory oasis. Whether you're catching a scenic ferry ride across the Aegean or winding down after a day of sightseeing, headphones can provide the perfect accompaniment to your travel moments.
5. Travel Adapter
Greece uses Type C and Type F plugs, with the standard voltage being 230V. If your devices use different plug types, or if the voltage in your home country is different, a universal travel adapter is a necessity. This handy tool ensures that you can keep your devices charged, from your smartphone and tablet to your camera and e-reader. Some travel adapters even come with USB ports, allowing for multiple devices to be charged at once.
6. Smartphone Apps
In the digital age, smartphones have become indispensable travel companions. Before embarking on your Greek adventure, make sure to equip your phone with essential apps that will enhance your travel experience.
Here are a few of my FAVORITE apps for when I travel:
WhatsApp - Let's face it, if you want to communicate with people in Greece you need WhatsApp and/or Viber. That's what everyone there uses.
Apple Podcasts - For me, listening to podcasts when traveling helps the time go by on long flights, long ferries. You can learn more about Greece by listening to Greece Chats Podcast.
Translater - For those moments you need to say something in Greek, just ask your phone!
Shazam - You're going to hear a lot of music when in Greece, weather at the beach, a cafeteria or at a night club, you will in all likelihood hear some songs you really like, well you know Shazam, it comes in perfect here.
Currency Converter - Stay on top of currency exchange rates with a currency converter app like XE Currency or OANDA. This will help you quickly convert prices and ensure you're getting the best value for your money.
Stock Apps - Your phone already has some go-tos like Maps and Weather, these will come in handy.
7. Hat, Sunglasses, and a Light Scarf
The Greek sun can be strong, and sun protection is vital. A wide-brimmed hat and UV-protection sunglasses shield your eyes and skin from the harsh rays. A light scarf is a versatile accessory: it can act as a shawl in a chilly, air-conditioned museum, serve as a beach cover-up, or offer additional sun protection when needed.
8. Small Pouch or Satchel
When exploring the scenic and historical expanses of Greece, a small pouch or satchel can be an invaluable asset. It's a simple, stylish, and secure solution to carry your essentials while keeping your hands free to snap photos, taste local delicacies, or hold onto that all-important Greek coffee!
It's perfect for carrying items like your passport, phone, credit cards, your power bank to charge your phone and some cash. You might also want to include travel-sized sunscreen, lip balm, hand sanitizer, or other small essentials for comfort and convenience during your day trips. Some travelers even find it handy to have a tiny notebook and pen for jotting down thoughts or directions.
Choose a pouch or satchel with good security features, such as a sturdy zipper, a strong strap, and, preferably, an internal pocket where you can keep your most valuable items. A water-resistant design would be a bonus, particularly if you're visiting Greece during the rainy season or plan to be near the water. A cross-body style can also add an extra level of security against pickpockets, especially in bustling markets or crowded tourist sites. And don't forget about comfort - adjustable straps and a lightweight design will be much appreciated after a long day of sightseeing.
9. Comfortable Walking Shoes
Whether you're navigating the cobblestone streets of Rhodes Old Town, climbing the rocky paths of Meteora, or exploring the winding lanes of Mykonos, comfortable walking shoes are crucial. Choose shoes with good arch and ankle support, non-slip soles, and breathable fabric to ensure comfort throughout the day. Easy-to-clean materials are a bonus, as some terrains can be dusty or muddy.
10. An Unlocked Smartphone
Staying connected during your Greek adventure is important. An unlocked smartphone allows you to purchase a Greek SIM card, offering local call and data rates. This will save you from potentially exorbitant international roaming charges. Plus, with easy access to internet services, you can navigate new places, look up local restaurants, or translate Greek phrases with ease.
The easiest way to get a Greek SIM is now with eSIMS. You can get one by clicking here in just a few minutes!
10 Things You Can Skip Packing for Greece, Buy Them There.
1. Beach Towels
While beach towels are a must-have for a Greek island holiday, they can be bulky and take up precious space in your suitcase. Moreover, they often retain sand and moisture, which can make your luggage heavy and messy. Instead, consider buying a lightweight, inexpensive towel upon arrival in Greece. Not only will this save space, it can also serve as a souvenir of your trip!
Though travel-sized toiletries are convenient, they can be used up quickly and contribute to plastic waste. Consider packing just enough to last you the initial few days of your trip. You can then replenish your supplies from local supermarkets or pharmacies across Greece, where you'll find a wide variety of products, often at cheaper prices than back home.
3. Snorkeling Gear
While the clear waters of Greece offer fantastic snorkeling opportunities, bringing your own gear can consume significant luggage space. Equipment rental is readily available at most beach resorts and often includes high-quality gear that is regularly serviced and sanitized.
4. Heavy Books
While a good book can be a great travel companion, books add weight to your luggage and take up considerable space. Instead, consider bringing an e-reader, which can store thousands of books and has a battery life of weeks. If you prefer the feel of a real book, you can purchase one from local bookstores in Greece, many of which offer a selection of English-language books.
5. Excessive Clothing
It's easy to overpack clothes 'just in case,' but you'll likely end up wearing the same comfortable favorites throughout your trip. Greece has a casual dress culture, and locals value comfort over high fashion, particularly during the warm summer months. Furthermore, most accommodations provide laundry facilities, or you can find laundromats in major cities and towns. Pack a week's worth of clothing, regardless of the length of your stay, and plan to do laundry if necessary.
6. Large Sum of Cash
While it's sensible to have some cash on hand for small expenses, you don't need to carry large amounts of cash while traveling in Greece. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, and ATMs are easily accessible in cities and larger towns. Carrying less cash reduces the risk of loss or theft.
7. Expensive Jewelry
Vacations are a time to relax and explore, not worry about losing or damaging valuable items. Leaving your expensive jewelry at home means one less thing to worry about. Greece is a country full of artisanal crafts and jewelry, so you may even find a unique piece to commemorate your trip.
Plus, do you really want to worry if that jewelry is safe in your apartment or hotel when you are out and about?
8. Bulky Cameras
Unless you're a professional photographer or passionate hobbyist, you might want to reconsider packing a bulky DSLR. Modern smartphones have excellent cameras that can capture your trip's highlights without the extra weight and concern about potential damage or theft. If you do bring a camera that takes either memory cards or film, remember you can buy film and SD cards in Greece, so don't worry if you didn't pack enough of either!
While protection from the Greek sun is vital, it's not necessary to pack sunscreen from home. First, sunscreen bottles can be bulky and could potentially leak in your luggage, creating a mess. Additionally, packing them might be more trouble than it's worth, especially if you're only carrying hand luggage and need to adhere to liquid restrictions in place for air travel.
Instead, consider purchasing sunscreen upon arrival in Greece. Local stores offer a wide variety of brands, including many international ones you may already know and trust. Plus, buying sunscreen in Greece ensures that the product hasn't expired or been affected by the heat during transit, providing you with optimal sun protection during your trip. Opt for high SPF broad-spectrum sunscreens, and remember to reapply often, especially after swimming or sweating, to fully enjoy your Greek adventure under the sun.
10. Hair Dryer/ Hair Straightener
These items are bulky, and many accommodations in Greece provide hair dryers. Also, the electrical voltage in Greece is 230V, which may not be compatible with your appliances. For these reasons, you might consider leaving your hair dryer or straightener at home. Embrace the natural look or try local hair products for styling.
Remember, the key to successful packing for any trip is balance. Prioritize items that will provide comfort and convenience, while leaving behind those that can be easily obtained on-site. This approach will ensure you are well-equipped for your Greek adventure without being weighed down by unnecessary belongings. Enjoy your trip to Greece!
Packing for a vacation, particularly to a destination as diverse as Greece, can seem daunting and fun all at the same time! But armed with these tips, you're well on your way to mastering the art of packing. Prioritize comfort, convenience, and necessity. Opt for lightweight, versatile clothing, essential accessories, and technology that will make your life easier. Bring along those irreplaceable items like prescription medications, while leaving behind non-essentials that you can easily purchase in Greece.
Remember, if it's heavy and you don't need it right way, and isn't too expensive, buy it there! Greece has everything you will need, don't worry.
You're embarking on a Greek odyssey, an adventure filled with rich history, stunning landscapes, flavorful cuisine, and a warm, welcoming culture. So pack light, travel far, and let Greece fill your heart with its unique blend of the past and the present. With these thoughtful packing tips, your Greek vacation awaits with the promise of an unforgettable journey. Enjoy the trip, or as the Greeks say, "Καλό ταξίδι!" (Kaló taxídi!)