New York Packing List – The Top NYC Outfits and travel essentials

If you are planning a trip to New York City, you must know beforehand what to pack and what are the optimal NYC outfits, especially if you are a minimalist packer and want to make the best of your backpack or suitcase space.

But also if you are a “just-in-case-girl” like me and want to bring some extra items… Just in case! In this post, I will help you do that, by sharing my ideal New York Packing list after spending three weeks in NYC in May.

Keep in mind that I am a photographer in the making and on every trip I will be bringing my bulky photography gear no matter what. It’s not a trip without my camera! And in this post, I will tell you also about my camera gear essentials.

I went to NYC last May for the 4th time, and for a longer time than usual and I made it my priority to get to all the most instagrammable places in NYC, even the less popular, and photograph them. I was doing long walks and I didn’t really care to be fashionable. I just wanted to be practical and comfortable. I regret that sometimes.

If you are in NYC you will want to get the right outfit and feel part of the city fashion vibe or pretend you are in one of the NYC-based movies, where everybody looks cool in a pair of trainers.

So here below I will share all my practical gear and some trendy NYC outfits that I regret not having.

Best time to go to New York

If you are wondering what is the best time of year to visit New York, well, I have been two NYC in almost all the seasons, before Christmas, full winter, summer, and spring, and my favorite time of the year to visit NYC is definitely spring.

The temperature in New York in May is just perfect, warm enough to walk in your tank top and avoid carrying bulky winter jackets but not too hot to get too sweaty. Also packing for New York in May is much easier and lighter because dresses and t-shirts occupy smaller space than fleeces and sweaters.

Next time I am planning to go back in the Autumn to photograph the fall in New York City, especially in Central Park, so I will tell you more about the weather then.

New york packing list

If you are not exactly sure what to pack for your New York trip, I hope this New York City packing list will help you clear your mind with some packing essentials.

Wear comfortable shoes

I walk all day long and I want to wear comfortable shoes. But with the below stylish pairs I chose you can also use them during the night if you want to go out for dinner, or drinks in one of the multiple NYC rooftops. And you can even wear them with a semi-elegant So here are the shoes I would bring.

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But after walking around for a while in the spring warm weather, I realized that in your packing list for New York City a pair of Birkenstock shouldn’t be missing. It took a while to get used to the idea of a Birkenstock being a stylish kind of sandals. But I gave up. And it’s actually the most comfortable sandals to walk for hours in the hot weather without ending up with soring feet.

Keep a rain poncho in your backpack or a trendier option

New York weather is kind of predictable but in springtime, it can change during the day and you start walking in the morning in the sun and it starts raining in the evening. I know that a rain poncho is the opposite of stylish but it’s very useful also because it can cover your backpack as well. However, if you’d rather be stylish than dry and you have your backpack with its own cover, you can choose this elegant waterproof long trench that covers your legs as well. Or this more sporty long hooded waterproof windbreaker.

Choose the right daily backpack or bag

If you are a photographer (even an amateur one) you must choose a camera bag that has space for other stuff, like your water bottle, a jacket, wallet, a kindle, and all your travel essentials.

I found my holy grail of camera bag in the Mindshift 180° a real gem because it’s very spacious and you can take out your camera without taking off the backpack, perfect both for hiking and for city walks. It’s made for professionals with multiple cameras, but you can also use the extra space for your personal items .It can also hold both the tripod and the water bottle.

My Pick
MindShift Gear 520210 - 180° Rotation Prof. Deluxe

My best investment ever. This photography gear backpack is very spacious and convenient to carry your camera and lenses and use them without taking the back off your shoulder.

If you think that the Mindshift camera backpack is too big for you, you can also consider using a messenger bag. I use TENBA which is quite a stylish bag and I also use it as a regular hand bag when I am not taking my camera with me.

My Pick
Tenba DNA 16 Pro Messenger Bag for Mirrorless and DSLR Cameras and Lenses – Blue (638-577)

Great interchangeable bag with multiple pockets that you can use both as a camera bag or as a stylish sporty handbag.

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If you are not interested in professional photography you may want to choose a smaller backpack just for your personal belonging, make sure you will include a power bank among those. Very useful!

Here are a few ideas of fancy bags that you may want to consider including in your New York City packing list.

Never travel without travel insurance

After hearing about many travelers getting hospitalized for tropical diseases or accidents, I realized how fragile we are and how fate can really determine our destine sometimes, something that we cannot control. But there are things that we CAN control. Things happen in life, but it’s the way we react to them that makes a world of difference. We can get sick and we can have accidents but we can also get the best possible care if we can afford it. Enter TRAVEL INSURANCE. Traveling for so long I have realized how much having travel insurance gives me a peace of mind. BIG TIME.

And I am not somebody who gets sick easily, and I also use Homeopatic medicine when it happens. But with a travel insurance I feel like if anything major happens to me where hospitals, evacuations or any other issue happen, I will be taken care of. Travel insurance also cover lost baggage, missed flights and many other situations and although you never want to use it, obviously, it can be a life saver, literally.

You need to make sure you choose the one that works best for you. I am going to share the two companies that I have been using and I find both of them serious and reliable. have a look and whatever you chose, make sure you have one travel insurance included in you packing list for New York. Medical assistance in the US is outrageously expensive.

SafetyWing - Insurance for Nomads, by Nomads - Get a quote

SafetyWing is one of the reliable Travel Insurance that I would choose for multiple reasons. It's affordable and covers covid related issues, among others. Read the policy details to ensure that it's right for you.

Travel Insurance from World Nomads. Get a quote.

Travel insurance from World Nomads is available to people from over 130 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travelers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage, and a range of adventure sports and activities. Read the policy details to ensure that it's right for you.

Camera Gear

If you are not interested in photography at all, you can skip this part, otherwise if you are a photography freak like me who wants to travel to New York just to find the most instagrammable places in NYC to photograph, you may be interested in my suggested camera gear for NYC. So without further ado, here it is.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L ll USM Zoom Lens for Canon EF Cameras (Renewed)
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Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
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Vanguard VEO 2 235AB Black Aluminum Travel Tripod with VEO 2 BH-50 Ball Head for Sony, Nikon, Canon, Fujifilm Mirrorless, Compact System Camera (CSC), DSLR
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ICE 82mm Slim ND Filter Set ND1000 ND64 ND8 Neutral Density 82 10, 6, 3 Stop Optical Glass
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Canon EOS 6D 20.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only) - Wi-Fi Enabled - International Version (No Warranty)
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Tenba DNA 16 Pro Messenger Bag for Mirrorless and DSLR Cameras and Lenses – Blue (638-577)
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DJI Mini 2 – Ultralight and Foldable Drone Quadcopter
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Canon EOS 5D Mark III 22.3 MP Full Frame
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GoPro HERO10 Black
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Lasso Brag


Gone are the days of backpacks. Since I have a big one for my camera gear, I nice suitcase that I can drag would be just a perfect complement. You just need to decide what size, depending on how long you are traveling for. I have to take my entire wardrobe with me, so I would pick the bigger case. If you can make it a short trip from anywhere you are based you can opt for a smaller carry-on. Here below my favorite brand.

Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Expandable Spinner Wheel Luggage, Azure Blue, Checked-Medium 25-Inch
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Travelpro Luggage Bold 28
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Travelpro Maxlite 5-Softside Expandable Spinner Wheel Luggage, Azure Blue, Checked-Large 29-Inch
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Travelpro Bold Drop Bottom Wheeled Rolling Duffel Bag, Blue/Black, 30-Inch
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Lasso Brag

NYC outfits – What to wear in New York

I guess that walking around New York city requires some level of comfort and some of style, am I right?

If you are on a budget you don’t really want to spend your time in NY shopping, although it’s really tempting but not the most convenient place where to shop. So, here some NYC outfit ideas with some practical and stylish items to pack for New York for both seasons.

What outfit to include in your New York packing list for summer

It was May when I was walking for the streets of New York, and I felt like I was in a beach town not in a city, especially in Brooklyn. I was looking at the girls’ outfits and most of them were wearing trainers and shorts with a blouse, nice and trendy but very sportive! Not to mention the number of people jogging at any time of the day and in every weather, in the rain or midday heat.

And the best part, many people are in their bathing suits in the parks by the East River soaking in every ray of the new spring sun while enjoying a friendly chat and looking at the spectacular Manhattan Skyline. It was indeed a show.

So you should pack your bathing suit as well if you want to look like a real New Yorker in the summer!

Here are some summer clothing ideas for some fancy and comfortable NYC outfits

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Here are some ideas for your packing list for New York in the winter

Winters in New York are extremely cold so you need to stay warm if you love to walk anyway. In this packing list for winter in New York, you will see some strategic underwear that will do the trick and some nice and warm New York winter Outfits to look cool and feel comfortable at the same time.

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New York travel essentials

Now that we have covered the look, we need to consider also some travel items that we cannot do without or that make our travel easier and smoother.

  • Power bank or portable charger – being disconnected in the middle of your day around the city is not nice, especially if you are using your phone as a navigator or to check out places, to book restaurants or museums. You just can’t stay without power on your phone. I had to stop at a Best Buy to get mine. But since you are smarter than me you will buy it before getting to NYC.
Anker Portable Charger, PowerCore Essential 20000mAh

Power Bank with PowerIQ Technology and USB-C (Input Only), Durable External Battery Pack Compatible with iPhone, Samsung, iPad, and More.

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  • And speaking about staying connected, I would purchase a local sim card so that you can check and consult google map, book restaurants and museums, and share your IG stories.
  • Mask and Hand sanitizer – we can’t deny that although annoying masks are here to stay for a while, so make sure you have your washable one to help to save the planet. Keep hand sanitizer or hands wipes handy.
  • Remember your passport or ID Card if you are traveling within the US
  • Headphones may come handy too, better if wireless
  • Kindle is always a loyal friend if you like to take a break from walking around the city or just blend in with locals hanging out in the park
  • In summer and spring, you may need sunscreen.
  • In winter you may want to consider getting a thermic underwear, just in case of extreme cold.

Here is the end of my suggested NYC Packing list. I hope it helped, and it gave you some idea and inspiration for what to pack for New York City.

If I had to choose one thing that is essential and absolutely necessary, I would say, besides the passport, is your Travel Insurance. Make sure you get one before traveling, for your safety and peace of mind.