Rio de Janeiro Vacation Packing List

Including a Convenient Printable Version

As it's more important than ever to travel light, you should create a packing list that's tailored to your Brazilian vacation destination. Having the right type of luggage can make all the difference on your vacation.



Since Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has a tropical climate, you won't need to pack a lot of clothes or any cold weather gear. No worries if you forget something, as both the Copacabana and Ipanema neighborhoods have stores that sell anything you may need.

It's very humid and hotter than blazes in the summer and comfortably warm in the winter, you can wear light clothing and shorts all year around on your Rio de Janeiro vacation. Only in the winter months will you really need something warmer to wear at night, and you can layer clothes or bring along a nice long sleeve shirt in lieu of packing a jacket. However, bringing a light jacket may be a good idea, as it rains frequently.

Because it gets extremely hot and humid during the Brazilian summer months, you'll go through clean clothes pretty quickly and will thus need to bring "wash & wear" items that dry in a day or so. Plan to wash a couple of items every night in the sink and to hang them to dry in the hotel room.

Rio is a very casual city, but you'll need to wear "smart casual" duds when eating at better restaurants or going to clubs. The Carioca women dress very well and pay a lot of attention to their hair and makeup. Carioca guys are another story, as their standard evening attire is jeans with a designer tee shirt.

During the day, for everyone it's tee shirts, shorts, and Havaianas (flip flops) along the beach and in the Botequins and most restaurants. Include in your packing list good walking or running shoes, as you may cover a lot of territory and want to do some light hiking.

Wash and wear clothing is your best bet; items you can wash in the sink and hang dry in your room. Clothes dry quickly due to the tropical climate. We've created a concise 10 Day Vacation Packing List, which outlines essential items to take in your luggage, and we suggest clothing to pack for for both men and women.

After reading through the information below, please use our printable version of the Vacation Packing List.

The Essential Rio de Janeiro Packing List

  • An expandable rolling type of suitcase is preferred.
  • Extra pair of prescription glasses and/or contact lenses.
  • Day pack (to carry on airplane for stowing valuable & essential personal items)
  • Money belt, fanny pack, or passport/money holder
  • Inexpensive collapsible duffel bag to bring home souvenirs
  • Photocopies of passport, driver's license, and credit cards (keep in a separate place from the originals!)

  • Cotton sleeping sack (if you are hosteling or staying in inexpensive hotels)
  • A small digital camera with charger, extra photo card, and extra battery

  • Optional - Laptop, power cord, & CD ROM (some wireless connections in apartments require software download)

  • 16 oz water bottle (empty it before entering airport security!)

  • Travel clothesline with clothes pins
  • Travel umbrella (or buy cheap one there, as street vendors appear whenever it starts to rain); disposable plastic ponchos for the hikers

  • Windbreaker or light rain jacket if traveling in the winter months

  • Beach Towels? No! Buy a Brazilian Kanga or Sarong on the beach in Rio.

  • Electrical adapter. (see our electricity and water information)
  • A good travel guide; small note pad; 2 small pens
  • Paperback book or magazine to read on the plane
  • Several zip-lock heavy duty plastic bags - quart & gallon size (many items below are suggested to pack and store in these bags!)
  • Toiletries - take just the essentials and pack/store in one gallon size heavy duty zip-lock plastic bag
  • Wash cloth and a travel size hand towel (Brazilian hotels rarely provide wash cloths)
  • 16oz liquid hand sanitizer, and a smaller bottle to fill and carry around (pack in the checked luggage!)
  • Disinfecting hand wipes (remove from container and store in a plastic zip-lock bag)
  • Clorox disinfecting wipes (to kill germs around the hotel room; store in heavy duty zip-lock plastic bag)
  • Sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher; lip balm with sunscreen
  • Sunglasses with straps
  • Liquid insect repellent with DEET (no aerosols allowed on the airplane!)
  • Prescription medications in original bottles; pain reliever; antacid; anti diarrhea medicine; sleep aids for the airplane
  • Extra pair of prescription glasses and/or contact lenses
  • Travel size sewing kit; first aid kit
  • Kleenex (pack in a zip-lock bag or buy the small travel packages)
  • 16 oz Woolite laundry detergent (pack in a heavy duty ziplock bag in your checked luggage!)
  • Small key chain flashlight

  • Men's Clothing Vacation Packing List

  • 2-3 pair of pants - cotton khakis and/or jeans (khakis dry much faster than jeans after washing); light weight dress slacks for going out in the evenings; 1 belt

  • 3 pair of shorts - zippered pockets are preferred to safely hold your wallet, money, camera, etc.

  • 3 short sleeve polo type shirts or short sleeve button down shirts; 3 tee shirts (buy a couple there); 1 long sleeve shirt (only in the winter months)

  • 5 pairs of underwear; 1-2 pair of boxer shorts for lounging in the room.

  • 1 pair of running shoes or sneakers; 1 pair casual dress shoes or loafers.

  • 1 ball cap

  • 5 pairs athletic socks; 2 pairs light weight dress socks.

  • 1 swim suit; one jock strap or similar support

  • Flip Flops? No way - buy a pair of Havaianas when you arrive! See our Rio de Janeiro Beach Tips page


  • Women's Clothing Vacation Packing List

  • 3 skirts; 1 dress or sun dress; 2 pair of slacks

  • 4 blouses; 3 tee shirts; 1 sleep shirt

  • 3 pairs of shorts

  • 5 pairs of panties; 2 bras

  • 4 pairs of athletic socks

  • 1 small purse or pocketbook

  • light weight hat with wide rim

  • Panty hose? No way baby - it's way too hot in Rio de Janeiro

  • 1 swim suit; buy another new one in Ipanema!

  • Running/walking shoes; 1 pair of heels; 1 pair of sandals or casual shoes. Buy a couple pairs of Havaianas in Copacabana or Ipanema Beach.

  • Cheap jewelry or buy some at the Ipanema Hippie Fair.

  • A light weight jacket or windbreaker (in the winter months)







  • Use our Printable Version of the List.

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