How to pack for a Greek Islands trip

by Kelly

You’re going to the Greek Islands? Yay! You will have the best time. It is my favourite place on earth. We spent a month island hopping this incredible area, this is everything you need to pack for a Greek Islands trip.

When to go to the Greek Islands

Between late April/May to September is the best period. The shoulder and slightly cheaper months being late April, May and late August/September.

Outside of these months the Greek Islands mostly shut down. There will be a few places still open but it will be very quiet. Most of the locals move to Athens or the mainland for the winter to work. We spoke to many locals who said it all turns into a ghost town with barely anyone there.

Greek Islands trip basics

These are travel basics that you need to take on your Greek Island trip but really any trip to any country. They are the first things that I collate and pack away so I know I haven’t forgotten them! When you are thinking how to pack for a Greek Islands trip, make these your first items!

Passport and documentation – You can’t go anywhere without your passport! Always make it the first thing you pack (and always double check the validity date so you don’t get caught out. In some countries it is law that you need 6 months or more on it to enter). Pack any other documentation at this time such as vaccinations, travel insurance, cash, cards, purse, licences and ID.

A copy of your passport and ID – I always always take a new photo of my ID and passport on my phone in case they go missing.

Medications – any medications you are currently taking. I make sure to order enough for the whole trip plus one week. We have had our flights from Europe to home cancelled by the airline and moved to a later date…and all my medications had run out. I always plan for this now by carrying extra and having labels on each pack. I would also pack a little basic first aid kit.

What type of bags should you take on a Greek Island trip?

How to pack for a Greek Islands trip really starts with what bag to take. If you already have a bag you’ve purchased or you always use on trips and love then skip right ahead. If not then we need to talk about the never ending debate…roller bag or backpack. I have used both and can honestly say that while I loved the ease of the roller bag (I even used it as a seat once!) I really wouldn’t choose it again.

Actually I should preface this statement by saying it depends on how you are travelling.

What bag depends how you are travelling?

If you are travelling with hotel pick ups in every destination. and you are not moving around much then roller bags are great! They are so protective with their hard sides and they can really fit a lot in.

However, if you are travelling on foot, by bus and train. If you are moving regularly (every 3 days or so) if you will be climbing stairs then take a backpack.

I just returned from a Europe trip with a roller bag. It was dragged through snow, lugged it up stairs at airports, hotels, bus and train terminals. I dragged it over cobblestones and up every single curb…it was a complete pain. Mike had the backpack we usually use and we was strolling along easily going where ever he wanted. I decided that even though it was so easy to wheel a bag along, the amount of time spent doing that was really only in the airport or in main city streets. For me and our style of travel the back pack has won. If you are wondering ‘our style of travel’ is anything from the snow to the jungle or city. From budget one day and luxury the next!

Why is a backpack the winner for me?

Why I think the backpack makes the best choice for your Greek Island trip? Essentially it boils down to how you will travel mixed with the reality of travel in the Greek Islands. You will be taking ferries getting on and off. If you have big roller bags you will have to store them rather than keep them on you. Think walking upstairs at accommodations as not every hotel has a lift. You will be lugging that bag up the stairs. A back pack is easier to manoeuvre with the type of travel here. I also travel light so I would go with a bag like the Caribee Traveller Backpack” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>Caribee Traveller 40L Carry on backpack. We have used this backpack on multiple trips and the quality is excellent, you just have to pack light! It fit as a carry on for planes, in storage lockers and was manageable to carry.

Luggage storage Naxos
The Caribee fit as a carry on and in medium storage lockers.

Personal items to pack for a Greek Islands trip

Regardless of whether you choose a roller bag or a backpack I always take a small daypack backpack. This is for hiking and to carry everything on the plane as my personal item. It’s my go to bag for when we run around on the scooter, on the plane and exploring/hiking/to markets etc.

In this I will carry my important documents. Camera, laptop, sunglasses, sunscreen, Dettol hand sanitiser, my reusable water bottle, a scarf and a hat.

I am currently using the Antler Chelsea daypack. It is holding up well on travels and seems like very good quality!

Greek Island Packing list- What to wear?

Greece is hot in summer so you will need to pack clothes that breathe and won’t add to the heat. There isn’t any issues with modestly dressing unless you are visiting churches and some ancient sites. I always carry a scarf in my daypack for these moments anyway.

I recommend packing layers as there is a breeze in the afternoons, evenings that can get a little cool. As an example for 10 days I would pack:

1 x jumper

2 x skirts

1 x long pants

2 x shorts

2 x skirts

4 x tops

1 x long sleeve shirt

1 x light coat

2 x dresses

2 x swimsuits.

I would make sure this all mixed and matched. The pieces should be made of materials such as cottons, linen etc. They should be breathable, and something you can layer. If you plan to do hiking or exercise then I would add 2 exercise sets.

Shoes for Greek Island packing list

For shoes I recommend a pair of sandals/tongs as well as sneakers and a flat. You could bring a wedge if you plan to go out for dinner and want to dress up a little. There are cobblestones and pavers everywhere, the surface is uneven and in some places just sand or rock. Heels aren’t the best suited to the surfaces you will be walking over. The exception would be you plan to stay in your hotel for dinner or be driven to restaurants.

Extras for your Greek Island packing list

Things you must absolutely pack are sunscreen (it is more expensive on the islands), mosquito spray, sunglasses, hat, beach coverup/sarong. If you are planning on doing a boat trip I would consider bringing a wet bag and waterproof phone case. Often you will get wet even if you aren’t swimming. You may have to swim to shore on some boat excursions. You want to protect your electronics and towel etc from getting wet.

Electronics for Greek Islands trip:

I always take my laptop to work on and a mouse. My headphones, chargers, camera, go pro. You will need an adapter for the power plugs in Greece also.

What I would purchase immediately as I reach a Greek Island!

My plan for our next trip is going to be to buy a beach umbrella on the first day in our first Greek Island. As from here we would be taking ferries and can carry on whatever we want there is no issue with size restrictions. This is something we thought of as we were leaving our last Greek Island. We had crouched under towels, shirts, sarongs for shade and on our last day realised if we had just purchased one of the many cheap beach umbrellas we could have taken it with us everywhere. I will definitely do this next time!

I would also consider buying a Turkish beach towel or bringing a beach towel from home if you have room. The beaches can be pebbly and a towel is better to lie on. The Turkish towels are really lovely and not too expensive.

We loved our time in the Greek Islands, I hope this list helps with what to take. If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments, we are happy to help! If you want to check out our favourite Greek Island destinations and where we went check out our Greek Island blogs! We loved Milos, Kimolos, Naxos, Ios, Kefalonia, Zante and so many more!

Where to next:

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