What to Pack for a Trip to Los Angeles

It is simply impossible to create a packing list that will work for every single person. The packing list that will work best for me could be a complete 180 of what works for you. Plus, sometimes it depends on the time of year that your trip takes place or what type of activities you’ll be doing. However, I have done my best to keep all of these things in mind as I have put together this list of what to pack for a trip to Los Angeles.

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Packing List for Los Angeles

The main tool to use in starting to figure out what to pack for your trip to Los Angeles is going to be a weather app. You want to get an idea of whether or not to expect rain & what temperatures you expect. I am constantly amazed by how few people will check the weather before they travel. What ends up happening¬†when you don’t come prepared is that you spend money on things that you most likely already have at home but did not bring. Don’t let this happen to you. Come as prepared for your trip and the weather as possible.

It is easy to be the naive person who assumes that California is always warm and sunny. Are we spoiled by the weather out here? Of course! However, that doesn’t mean that it won’t rain on your trip. Or that you won’t find yourself colder than you anticipated. One of the biggest tips I can give you is that when the sun goes down, even during the summer, most locals like having at least lite jacket with them. It can often be 10-20 degrees cooler once the sun goes down.

Items to Help Make Your Trip to Los Angeles Easier

I am all about consolidating my luggage to make traveling easier & organized. Plus, I love knowing that I have plenty of space for souvenirs. If you can manage to get everything you need to take on the trip into one bag. Consider packing a duffle bag that you can move your clothes & stuff into upon returning. So that way your suitcase is available for the souvenirs. Of course, this suggestion won’t be relevant for everyone as not all will care for that many souvenirs.

One of the tools that help me save the most space & make the most of my suitcase are travel cubes. I currently have three and use at least one on every trip I go on. The cubes allow me to get 5x more clothes inside of my suitcase while taking up less space. I roll up my clothes as I put them inside the cube and then add small items like tank tops on top before I zip it up. To additional space for packing as well as when I reach my destination I also like to use a toiletry bag with a hook so I can hang it up. There is currently a great deal on Amazon where you can get three cubes, a bag for shoes, and the toiletry bag for under $25. You can find that deal here.

Are you planning on going to the beach or a pool on your trip? A wet bathing suit bag might come in handy for you. Especially if you plan on going to the beach before another activity and will need to change. You can find some options on Amazon here.

Things You Could Need For Your Trip to LA

I cannot stress enough how important looking at the weather forecast is prior to your visit. You would be shocked how many visitors wore short-sleeve shirts and did not have a jacket when a high was 60 degrees in LA last week. If these people would have checked the weather they would have come prepared. Please do your research! 

  • Pack a Lightweight Jacket

Even if you are visiting during the summer you will still want to bring at least a lightweight jacket with you. When the sun goes down in Southern California the air becomes cool. This is something that most visitors are not prepared for. I recommend having a jacket that is small enough you can roll it up and put it in a purse or a bag. Depending on your wardrobe you might want to bring a denim jacket or an easily foldable zip up.

  • Get An Anti Theft Bag

I just got back from Europe and had been in search of a travel-friendly bag that would make it difficult for people to steal from me. I found this amazing and cute backpack on Amazon. It zips in the back so no one can get in your bag without you knowing. It has a few different pouches and even different ways to carry the bag. Plus, it has two spots for water bottles. My Mom and I each got one for Europe and in different colors.

  • At Least One Pair of Shorts And Long Pants

When it cools down at night you might be very glad to have the pair of long pants. The shorts can also come in handy almost any month of the year.

  • Sundresses, Rompers, or Semi Formal Wear

I love traveling with a casual dress or romper. They make for great outfits in pictures and can look a little nicer if you visit places like museums. When my parents come to visit normally we see some kind of a show at the Pantages or attend a red carpet movie premiere. Events like that give my parents a reason to need to pack a nicer outfit. Truly give your itinerary some thought. And even if you’re traveling without a set plan it’s always good to have these things for a just in case moment.

Interested in attending a red carpet movie premiere on your trip? Find out how here.

  • A Fun Themed Shirt

LA is filled with really fun places to visit. Some of my favorites are Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, Warner Bros Studio Tour, Saved By The Max and Crumbs & Whiskers cat cafe. Of course, I always love buying shirts from places I visit but I love going wearing a themed shirt to make my visit even more fun. When I visited Saved By The Max I found the shirt I wore for $12 at Target.

  • A Good Pair of Leggings/Yoga Pants

Whether you want your leggings to complete an outfit or for exercising chances are they are going to be needed during your trip. There are a lot of great hikes that you can do around the area. I highly recommend adding a sports bra and a tank top to your bag. If you’re going hiking in the winter I would bring a sweater or warm outer layer for the hike. I also like using a flip belt to hold my keys and phone while I hike. The picture above is from my hike to the top of the Hollywood sign.

  • Beach Towel

tesalate sand free towels
If you are planning a trip to the beach I recommend bringing your own towel. The hotel towels never work great at the beach. Plus, cute towels like the sand-free one at Tesalate won’t take up that much space in your suitcase. These towels dry faster than other towels and are really easy to carry. This is something that you will use time and time again. You can find them here.

  • Waterproof Phone Pouch

I recently purchased one of these for an upcoming trip to Las Vegas. It fits my iPhone 8+ and I’m still able to take good pictures while my phone is in the case. This is great for when you’re at a pool, the beach, or a water park. You can find the one I ordered from Amazon here.

  • Bathing Suit

Even if you travel during the winter there is a chance that your hotel will have a heated pool. And some people are determined to get on the beach even when it is cold.

  • Shoes

I recommend a good pair of walking shoes, flip flops, and any other shoes that are needed for the activities you have planned. Are you going hiking? Going for a nice evening out? Keep that in mind as you select shoes. I do try and travel with as few shoes as possible because they take up space quickly.

  • Selfie Stick/Tripod

I used to be anti selfie sticks but I am finally getting on board because I want better photos of my boyfriend and me on our adventures. I was thrilled to find one on Amazon that also converts to a tripod! It works really well. You can find the one I use on Amazon here.

  • Sunscreen

California is known as the Golden State due to how much sun time we get. Be sure and keep yourself protected with sunscreen.

  • Sunglasses/Hats

Another great way to protect yourself from the sun is with sunglasses and hats.

  • Umbrella

It doesn’t rain incredibly often in Los Angeles but you want to be prepared when it does.

  • Water Bottle

I highly encourage you to bring a water bottle that will keep your drink cold for hours.

How to Save Money On A Trip to LA

Once you finish packing you should also finish planning your trip. Check out this guide on how to save money on your trip to LA.

About The Author

Michelle Ares is the founder and creative director of LA Dreaming. I have a passion for Southern California and love sharing my adventures and experiences with you. I love to travel, find new places to check out, and watch movies. You can follow me on Instagram @la.dreaming

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