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A to Z Croatia Packing List – Based on 25 Years of Experience

Searching for the ultimate Croatia packing list? With 25 years of traveling across Croatia during every month and season, I’ve created this comprehensive A to Z guide to ensure you are fully prepared for your Croatia trip.

Whether you’re island hopping along the Dalmatian Coast, exploring the cobblestone streets of Dubrovnik, or hiking in Plitvice Lakes National Park, having the right essentials in your suitcase can make a world of difference.

I’ve been traveling to Croatia nearly all my life, and have been living in Zagreb full time since 2014, so I know the lay of the land pretty well. I’ve traversed every region in every single season, from the chilly winters in the mountainous Gorski Kotar to the sun-soaked summers on the beaches of Hvar.

Throughout these adventures, I’ve discovered the essentials that have never let me down and some overlooked items that proved invaluable. In this guide, you’ll find tips tailored not just from generic travel advice, but from decades of personal experience, ensuring you pack not only what you need but also what you didn’t realize you’d want.

From what gadgets to pack and what shoes to wear in Croatia to my best local tips and tricks, this A to Z Croatia packing list aims to make your vacation as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

Now let’s dive in and make sure your suitcase is packed with all the essentials you need for an amazing Croatian adventure!

A to Z Croatia Packing List

A is for Adapter

Before you leave home, it’s important to check your plug needs. Croatia uses Type C and Type F outlets. Make sure you pack the right Croatia travel adapter to keep all your gadgets fully charged. I’m a big fan of the Ceptics Travel Adapter. It’s super versatile for all European travels, meaning if your trip to Croatia includes a visit to neighboring countries, you’re all set with just this one. Plus, Ceptics offers a global adapter that you can take with you all over the world.

B is for Barefoot water shoes

If it’s your first time traveling to Croatia, you should know that sandy beaches are rare. Most of the beaches in Croatia are rocky or made up of pebbles, which is fantastic for water clarity but they’re not so nice to walk on. These water shoes are good to have if you’re not used to these types of beaches or if you are traveling with small children.

C is for (Travel) Credit Card

An image of the Chase travel credit card, the best travel rewards credit card available.

If you love to travel and want to save money while doing so, then you need to have a travel credit card in your wallet. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the first travel credit card I ever signed up for, and it’s the perfect starter card for anyone wanting to dip their toes into the world of travel hacking. I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t use it myself! I’ve had it in my wallet for 3 years now and consider it the holy grail of travel credit cards. Take advantage of their sign up bonus for enough points to cover (at least) one round trip airline ticket.

D is for Day Pack

A lightweight and packable day pack is a travel MVP. It practically goes unnoticed in your suitcase, but shows up big time for day trips. I love the Fjallraven because of its great design and ability to pack down perfectly. I have the Ox Red in medium, but there are other sizes and colors available. Whichever size you choose, just make sure it’s got space for all the day’s necessities: your wallet, sunglasses, a water bottle, some makeup, hand sanitizer, a first aid kit, and your usual essentials.

E is for e-SIM

No one likes high roaming fees, which is why I highly recommend getting an e-SIM from Airalo when traveling to Croatia (or anywhere else abroad). Airalo is the world’s first e-SIM store that allows you to access data on your mobile phone from over 200+ countries at an affordable price.

An eSIM is a small, built-in SIM in your device that operates entirely digitally. Just download the eSIM plan for where you’re headed, and you’re instantly connected to the local mobile network.

I’ve personally used Airalo in Croatia, the USA, Turkey, and in Thailand and can vouch for its convenience and  affordability. No more struggling with trying to figure out where to buy a SIM card, with Airalo you’ll have data as soon as you touch down in Croatia.

F is for First aid kit

Okay, I know it sounds pretty basic, but believe me, a mini first aid kit is a must-have. Keep it close, and you’ll be thanking yourself later. Here’s my recommended list of essentials:

  • Painkillers: I suggest Motrin, always comes in handy.
  • Motion Sickness Pills: from winding bus rides to choppy boat rides, Dramamine will save the day…because nobody has time to feel dizzy on a trip!
  • Cold Medicine: summer colds can put a damper on your vacation vibes. It’s a good idea to have some cold medicine with you to ease your symptoms ASAP.
  • Tiger Balm: I discovered this in Thailand and now I always have a tiny one with me. Tiger Balm is a lifesaver for everything from bug bites to muscle aches. It’s not available in Croatia, so you’ll have to order it online before you leave.
  • Bandaids: For blisters, cuts, and scrapes, bandaids are always good to have.

G is for Guidebook

Croatia Island Hopping Guidebook

Whether you’re still picking out the perfect Croatian island or already have your bags packed, the Croatia Island Lover’s Guide has got you covered. This travel guide is your one-stop source for all things island hopping in Croatia.

H is for Havainas

These are my go-to flip flops. Yes, I realize that you can buy Old Navy flip flops for like $6, but be honest…how long do they last? Since 2015, I’ve only needed two pairs of Havainas. My first pair lasted a solid 5 years and only broke on an impromptu rocky hike in Hvar to discover a secluded beach – in case you were wondering, yes, it was worth the broken flip flop.

Havainas are a great investment if you’re hoping to skip the annual flip flop replacement. Bonus: they’ve got all different colors for both men and women. I personally have the gold ones.

I is for Insect repellent

Especially if you’re visiting the countryside, Krka or Plitvice Lakes National Park, or even exploring the island of Mljet, insect repellent is a must. Croatia’s natural beauty sometimes comes with pesky mosquitoes, and you don’t want to be eaten alive. You also don’t want to spend your vacation shopping for mosquito spray, so get some before you leave home. I like this one because it is DEET free, not tested on animals, and completely safe for children too.

J is for Jet lag remedy

When it comes to jet lag, I usually suggest trying to fully commit to your new time zone. This means avoiding long naps, exercising in the morning, and getting out into the sunlight as soon as possible. But if all else fails when I’m really struggling to adjust my body clock I occasionally take melatonin to combat jet lag (be sure to do your research or consult with your doctor before taking any new supplements).

Similarly, this homeopathic jet lag remedy has great reviews – just follow the directions and enjoy your trip without sleep problems.

K is for Kindle

If you love to read but are a minimalist when it comes to packing, then a Kindle will be your best travel companion, allowing you to pack multiple books without taking up too much space in your luggage. As someone that works from a laptop all day, I love that the Kindle’s display reads like real paper so that I don’t feel like I’m just switching to another screen. Plus, the Kindle’s battery lasts forever, so you can spend countless hours lost in a good book without worrying about running out of juice!

I also recommend downloading audiobooks and podcasts before your trip; this will help keep the time fly by on long flights or car rides!

L is for Liquid IV

Did you know that flying can dehydrate you way faster than usual? And if you’re venturing out during the scorching peak season, it’s essential to keep up with your hydration game. When traveling, I swear by Liquid IV, an electrolyte-packed drink mix that helps you stay hydrated and feeling your best. I try to drink one packet per day while on the road and during layovers in between flights. I’ve tried most of the flavors but my favorites are tangerine and strawberry.

M is for Money belt

Money belts are special bags designed to keep your cash and essentials snug and secure. They can be tucked away under clothes, making them hard to spot by pickpockets and thieves. I don’t usually go for money belts myself, but I know many travelers who wouldn’t leave home without one. If you’re leaning that way, check out this one—it’s discreet, practical, and has a ton of positive reviews.

N is for Neck pillow

I was never a fan of neck pillows until I was on a flight where the headrest didn’t have those little adjustable wings on the sides to lean your head on. It was then I realized how necessary neck pillows are for a comfortable travel experience. Not only do they provide support for your neck, but they also help you to fall asleep in comfort during those seemingly endless flights.

If you’re shopping for a good one, this memory foam one is definitely worth considering. Plus, it comes with its own travel bag so you don’t have to worry about it collecting germs all over the airport.

O is for Organized toiletries

Keep your cosmetics and toiletries organized in this waterproof toiletries bag. I love this one because it is clear and comes with a detachable, TSA-approved quart-sized pocket. As someone who spent many years putting my liquids in plastic bags, it’s so much more convenient to have all my items in one bag and ready to go. Plus, it comes with a hook so you can hang it nicely on the bathroom door instead of spreading all of your toiletries out on the hotel sink.

P is for Packing cubes

How did anyone pack before packing cubes? If you’re a neat freak like me (hello, welcome), then you need packing cubes in your life. At first glance, they might seem like an extra, but in reality? Absolute game changers. With packing cubes, suitcase chaos transforms into a neatly curated space. Whether you’re sorting by full outfits or categorizing by clothing type (think one cube for tops, another for bottoms), these cubes turn packing into a breezy, stress-free task. Once you try them, there’s no going back!

Q is for Quick-dry towel

Heading for a swim? Quick-dry towels might just become your next favorite travel essential. They’re lightweight, easy to pack, and dry three times faster than regular cotton towels. It comes with its own travel pouch and packs down super small so that it barely takes up any room in your suitcase. When you need it, it folds out into an extra large towel.

This towel is also great for sandy shores because the sand just falls right off of it, so you can use it in Croatia and beyond.

R is for Reusable water bottle

Stay hydrated while exploring. Tap water is safe to drink in Croatia, and having a reusable water bottle is both eco-friendly and convenient. I’ve had this one from S’well for YEARS and it has never failed me. It keeps drinks icy cold for an impressive 36 hours – an absolute blessing during those sizzling summer months.

S is for sneakers & sandals

Hiking through national parks and long sightseeing days call for comfortable walking shoes. You’ll probably clocking thousands of steps per day, so you want to make sure your shoes are supportive and comfortable. I recommend packing a pair of sneakers for the trails or busy city days, plus a pair of sandals for post-hike relaxation or beach days. I love my Birkenstock Arizona sandals, they are the comfiest shoe I’ve ever owned.

T is for Travel insurance

If there’s one single thing that I recommend to everyone when traveling to Croatia (or anywhere for that matter) it is always, always, always travel insurance. Travel insurance gives you the freedom to explore fearlessly, knowing that if anything were to go wrong, your medical costs are covered.

SafetyWing is a company that I’ve personally been using for years. They are affordable, reliable, and they have excellent customer service. No matter where you go or how long you stay, having the right travel insurance can help you protect your trip and keep your mind at ease. Their average plan costs $42 for 28 days – that’s $1.50 a day to enjoy peace of mind. Don’t hesitate and just get it.

U is for Umbrella

While Croatia has many sunny days, occasional showers can occur, so a compact umbrella is great for those unexpected rainfalls especially if you’re traveling during shoulder season. Need rainy day inspiration? Check out all of these fun activities you can do in Dubrovnik when it’s raining.

V is for Very bad situations

Traveling is all rainbows and daisies until you find yourself on a boat in the middle of the sea with food poisoning (not that I’m speaking from experience). While pharmacies are pretty easy to find in Croatia, sometimes you need “multi-symptom relief” immediately. It’s not the most pleasant topic, but it’s always a good idea to have this in your bag in the event of an emergency (no matter where you’re traveling).

W is for Waterproof phone case

Here’s a fun story: A few years ago, I was sitting on a sun lounger by the pool and covered my phone with the edge of my towel. When I got up, I shook out my towel, launching my 2-week old iPhone directly into the pool, immediately regretting not buying the additional warranty the guy at the cell phone store tried to sell me multiple times.

Don’t be like me. Order a waterproof phone case to keep your little buddy safe. After all, you’ll be spending lots of time by the water and riding on boats in Croatia, and a waterproof case is a super inexpensive way to protect your phone from getting unplanned spa treatments. This one is compatible with iPhones, Samsungs, the whole gang.

XL foldable duffle bag

This is honestly the best thing to have for ANY trip. I’m a carry-on-only gal, so I usually don’t have much room for souvenirs. But if I’m going somewhere where I plan to do some shopping, or already have a larger item in mind (like the time I bought a handmade wool rug in Morocco), a foldable duffle bag is a lifesaver. It’s easy to stash in your suitcase and takes up almost no space, but it can hold a ton of stuff.

Y is for Year-round prescriptions

When traveling, never assume that any medication you need to take to maintain your health and well-being will be readily available. Take a few minutes to update prescriptions for any medication you take regularly, especially if you plan on being gone for more than two weeks.

Z is for Ziploc bags

When traveling, you’d be surprised how often a Ziploc bag comes in handy. They’re great for stashing snacks, keeping electronics safe from moisture, or separating a wet swimsuit from the rest of your gear. And if you’re bringing home liquids, they offer an extra layer of protection. I always pack a mix of sizes – just to be ready for any scenario. Simple, but effective. 

More Useful Croatia Packing Tips

Obviously, Packing all 26 suggestions on this list of what to pack for Croatia might mean sacrificing some space for clothes or souvenirs. Think of this list more as a guide to refresh your memory on potentially overlooked essentials or introduce you to exciting new additions for your trip.

You’ll notice that this Croatia holiday packing list doesn’t include clothing either (with the exception of some shoe recommendations).

While I would love nothing more than to give you the exact list of clothing you should pack for Croatia, everyone is different. I pack carry-on only, while I realize that other travelers love having a big suitcase for all of their belongings. Plus, depending on the season you’re traveling in, you will need to adjust your clothing choices accordingly.

Croatia’s climate varies; summers are typically hot and dry, while winters can be cool and rainy, especially along the coast.

For instance, while I might be content with a few versatile dresses, a pair of sandals, and a light sweater for a summer trip, you might want several outfit options, including evening wear for upscale dinners or events.

Local Tip: As far as Croatia dress code goes, the locals tend to dress casually, but put-together during the day. At night, they do like to dress up a bit. I recommend finding outfits that work for multiple occasions and can easily be dressed up or down with a few accessories. For women, a long black maxi dress that can be worn during the day and dressed up at night with some nice sandals and jewelry is a perfect example. Whatever you do though, leave the heels at home! Trust me, you do not want to be hobbling around the cobblestoned streets in high heels.

On the other hand, if you’re venturing in the cooler months, layers are essential, and while I might rely on a combination of thermals and a couple of sweaters, another traveler might want an array of jackets, boots, and other cold-weather gear.

When it comes to packing lists, it’s tough to give a one-size-fits-all answer because everyone’s needs are a little different, depending on where you’re going and the type of activities you plan to do. I recommend taking into account your personal style, the activities you’ll be engaging in, and the season during which you’re traveling when deciding what to wear in Croatia. Always check the weather forecast before you leave and remember, if you forget something really important, chances are you will be able to find it in Croatia.

Two beige colored suitcases from Away luggage side by side in front of a green wooden door. Away luggage is my go-to brand when it comes to bags for traveling.
Suitcases from Away Luggage: My all time favorite bags for traveling.

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when packing for Croatia:

  • Minimize what you bring by choosing items that can be layered and worn multiple times.
  • If you’ll be spending time at the beach, don’t forget to pack a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a swimsuit.
  • Bring a lightweight waterproof jacket, especially when traveling during shoulder season as the weather can change quickly and unexpectedly.
  • Seaside towns can get breezy and cool in the evenings, so pack a sweater or two even when visiting during summertime.
  • Have a shawl with you while sightseeing that you can use to cover your shoulders if you plan on visiting churches
  • A pair of black leggings can come in handy in case it gets unexpectedly chilly. These are also great for the plane ride over.
  • A white linen button down is a fantastic item to have with you because it can be worn as a top, used as a cover up, or even an additional layer when it’s cold.
  • Finally, always keep a copy of your passport, travel insurance, and essential documents in a separate place from the originals, preferably in digital form as a backup.

In the end, smart packing for Croatia is a balance between being prepared and staying flexible.

FAQs About Packing for Croatia

What should I pack for 4 days in Croatia?

Depending on the time of year you are visiting Croatia, you should be able to pack enough clothes and essentials in a carry on for 4 days in Croatia. No matter what season you visit, be sure to pack a swimsuit, comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, a day pack, light jacket or sweater, and clothes that you can easily layer.

What is appropriate to wear in Croatia?

Croatia has a varied climate, with continental, Mediterranean, and mountainous influences, so clothing can depend on the region and season. However, Croatians are generally well-dressed, especially in cities. There are no strict rules on what you should or should not wear. If visiting in summer, please be respectful and cover up when you’re not the beach (i.e. don’t wear a swimsuit or go shirtless while walking around cities or at restaurants).

Should I bring jeans to Croatia?

You should bring jeans to Croatia if you are visiting in the fall, winter or spring. A nice pair of jeans can be extremely versatile when it comes to packing as they can easily be dressed up or down.

Should I take a backpack or suitcase to Croatia?

If you plan to visit Croatia for a few short days, you can easily get away with taking a backpack. For stays of a week or more, I recommend taking a carry-on sized suitcase (my favorite is the carry-on from Away luggage). Bear in mind that if you visit Dubrovnik, you will need to carry your luggage through town as rolling your suitcase is no longer allowed.

Is it okay to waer shorts in Croatia?

Yes, wearing shorts in Croatia is okay and a popular choice among travelers during the summertime. You will notice that most locals do not wear shorts (especially in cities like Zagreb), so if you want to blend in, consider packing dressy shorts or skirts and dresses.

Do I need sea shoes in Croatia?

Sea shoes (or water shoes) are a good idea to pack if you are not used to rocky and pebbled beaches. Water shoes will help protect your feet from sharp rocks and sea urchins, and make visiting Croatia’s beaches much more comfortable.

Final Thoughts: A to Z Packing List for Croatia

Exploring the jaw-dropping landscapes of Croatia guarantees an adventure like no other! And when you’re well-prepared, you can fully immerse yourself in the experience without any hitches.

While every traveler’s needs are unique, this A to Z Croatia packing list gives you a general idea of the items you should bring along in order to have a great experience and be prepared for just about any situation. From the busy streets of Zagreb to the serene shores of the Adriatic Sea, the right gear can make all the difference.

The most important thing is to take into account the season, your planned activities, and leave a little room for the unexpected.

If you’re still putting together your Croatia trip, here’s my list of Croatia’s hidden gems that should not be missed! 

Still need help planning? Get personalized advice in a 1:1 call with me!

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Croatia Travel Planning Guide

💸 What is the currency in Croatia?
As of January 1st, 2023, the official currency of Croatia is the Euro and NOT the Kuna (which is also the name of the national animal of Croatia).

🇭🇷 What language do they speak in Croatia?
Croatian is the official language of Croatia. Learn some phrases in Croatian before your trip with the Ling app!

🚑 Should I buy Croatia travel insurance?
10000% YES – Seriously, don’t leave home without it. You never know what can happen on the road. I like SafetyWing because they provide excellent coverage for as little as $1.50 a day.

📱 Will my phone work in Croatia?
Maybe – check with your provider to see if you’ll have service while traveling Croatia. If you don’t have service (or it’s too expensive) I recommend getting an eSIM like Airalo. Airalo allows you to have data while traveling without the high costs of roaming. They have super affordable plans available for 190+ countries, including Croatia. Download the app and get your plan before you leave home so that you have data as soon as you touch down in Croatia!

🏨 What’s the best way to book my Croatia accommodations?
For Croatia hotels, Booking is by far the best site.

🛫 What’s the best site to buy Croatia flights?
I always use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights.

🚗  Is it safe to rent a Car in Croatia?
Yes! – In fact, renting a car in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the country! I recommend Discover Cars because they check both local and international rental companies to ensure you get the best deal. (Get your Croatia road trip itinerary here)

💦 Is it safe to drink the water in Croatia?
Tap water in Croatia is completely safe to drink, so bring your reusable water bottle and fill up!

🪪 Do I need a visa for Croatia?
Depending on where you are coming from you may or may not need a visa to enter Croatia. Check the official Republic of Croatia Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for more information on who should apply for a visa.

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