Sri Lanka – The Ultimate Packing Guide

What to take and why to take it, whether you are staying on the coast, in the city, or heading to hill country in Sri Lanka! 

MONEY

  • Bank Card– The best way to get currency is from an ATM as you go, expect to pay a small charge for each withdrawal. Go to the ATM at Colombo airport on your arrival to get cash for your tuk tuk or taxi.
  • Calculator– Advertised prices are rarely what you will pay, taxes are added to the cost of the bill, and usually a service charge too – so you’ll need to brush up on your maths. 

HEALTH

  • Mosquito Spray– The mozzies out here are persistent, and not phased for long by natural repellents such as citronella. If you prefer a sensitive solution that really does work try Trek Sensitive by Pyramid Travel. It is (it really really is) as effective as 50% DEET but gentle enough to use on children and whilst pregnant. It smells good too!
  • Bite Cream– Even fully sprayed up, it is likely the blighters will get you, so take something to sooth the itch.
  • Antihistamines– Just in case the Sri Lankan insect bites make you swell.
  • Sun Cream– Can be quite pricey in Sri Lanka, and you will need it, even if it is cloudy.
  • Hand Sanitiser– In the more rural areas you may not have a choice but to eat like the locals (with your right hand, no cutlery). Cleansing gel will be welcome, even if there is somewhere to wash your hands.
  • Tampons– They are hard to find, and very expensive even if you do.

BAGS

  • Suitcase with wheels– It is hot and humid, so lugging a holdall will soon get tiring.
  • Dry Bag– Whether your clothes get wet from the sea, your sweat, or the rain, you’ll want to keep them away from your clean dry stuff!
  • Daysack– Make it a lightweight one that won’t make your back sweat, ideal for beach trips or trekking.
  • Waterproof phone case – Lagoon tours, kayaking, white water rafting, and wildlife boat trips are all popular here. Having a waterproof case for one of your most valuable possessions is a good idea.

ACCESSORIES

  • Trainers for hiking– Leeches are abundant in the jungle, which is more or less everywhere, so you’ll have a nicer trek if your feet are fully covered.
  • Raincoat– It doesn’t need to be monsoon season for it to chuck it down in Sri Lanka. A raincoat is a must if you are hiking.
  • Umbrella– Double useful because it’s great for keeping dry during a downpour, and then ideal for keeping the sun off once the rain has passed!
  • Sarongs– Lots of them. These are great as beach towels, beach cover ups and sarongs are useful for a whole heap of things besides – plus they dry quicker than a regular towel – which, given the humidity here, can take a very long time. Plus, they don’t take up much space in a suitcase.

WELLBEING

  • Ear Plugs– The critters are NOISY! Whether it is monkeys, dogs, geckos or cicada, something is bound to be making a racket when you want to sleep.
  • Eye Mask– Basic accommodation in Sri Lanka is likely to let the light flood in along with the much-needed fresh air. Get a better night’s kip with an eye mask.
  • Water Bottle– While it is wise to only drink bottled water in Sri Lanka, many places have water coolers so you can fill up your own canteen. Plastic pollution is a big issue here, so doing anything to reduce your impact is welcomed.
  • Neck Pillow– It makes the plane journey so much more enjoyable, and it will make lengthy transfers and trips across the country bearable. One thing about travel in Sri Lanka is that you can double the time you expect to get from A to B and add another hour or two on top! It is common for a 2-hour journey to turn into a 5-hour one; a neck pillow will offer some welcome comfort (and rest) en-route.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! Pack your policy documents, and save a digital version. Worldwideinsure.com can tailor your policy to suit your travel plans and many activities are covered as standard.