Updated: Mar 2
Leave approved, flights booked. It's now time to get the A4 notepad out and start to write a list of what to bring. Luckily I've done some of the work for you!
Suitcase/Rucksack: Your first tricky decision is whether you want to take a suitcase or a rucksack. This decision will be affected by your capacity to carry luggage, where you want to visit and whether you intend to use taxis or scooters for transport. It is entirely possible to use a suitcase for your trip as you can avail of taxis on the island although these are much slower than the scooters. I never drove a scooter in Bali (although we did ride on the back of them, more on this later) but we did stay in some places where the sandy terrain made it difficult to wheel our luggage across or had lots of steps to get to our accommodation. As such, the benefits of having a rucksack are certainly there for those who feel comfortable carrying their luggage. One thing I am a sucker for is a product with the word 'hybrid' in it. I brought a 'hybrid' suitcase/rucksack that gave me some benefits of both. However it is neither the perfect suitcase (limited space and wheels only go one direction) nor is it a particularly good rucksack (weight not distributed on hips, gets sore if carrying for large spells) however if you primarily want a case that you will be wheeling but would like the option to throw on your shoulders if hopping on a scooter or navigating difficult terrain you could certainly explore this option.
The one i used was Millets Eurohike Transporter which also comes with a detachable backpack which i used on day trips.
Clothes: Keep it light! As tempting as it is to pack your suitcase/rucksack to maximum capacity, I would advise packing a bit lighter if you can. Laundry in Bali is incredibly cheap. I had two weeks worth of clothing cleaned and dried in 24 hours for less than £8. Save the space in your suitcase for souvenirs and less weight will lead to much more comfortable travelling. For the gents T shirts, shorts, swimming gear and a couple of pairs of trousers really is all you need. Ladies can get by with the same and some blouses, dresses (so i'm told) It stays really hot in the evening time all year round. There are no real seasons in Bali, just wet and dry but the temperature remains pretty constant due to it's proximity to the equator. Footwear is pretty straightforward, a pair of runners for day trips and flip flops for everything else. For those 'hybrid' enthusiasts out there (Am i the only one?) I brought a pair of Merrell Choprocks Shandals. These are super comfortable sandal/water shoes that have excellent grip. Perfect for exploring the many waterfalls off Bali!
Vaccinations: You may want to consider seeing your GP to discuss any vaccinations that you may want to get. Get this done in the months leading up to your travel as some vaccinations such as rabies may require a couple of sessions.
Travel Insurance: This I would say is absolutely essential. Thankfully i did not have to make a claim on my policy during my time in Bali but I had read numerous horror stories of the medical treatment for travellers who sustained injuries abroad and the associated astronomical costs. To cut a long story short, do your research and get cover to suit your plans! Given the time difference when you're in Bali I would advise you to ensure that your provider offers a 24 hour call line if in the unlikely event you get into any trouble.
Insect Repellant: Personal preference on this one, i sprayed myself daily with insect repellant from Boots but still found myself covered in bites by the end of the trip. Alot of accommodation venues provide mosquito nets for the evening time but this isn't much help if you've been sweating up a tasty meal for the flying parasites on your trek to the top of Mount Batur! I wouldn't let this put you off though, they are more of a nuisance than any kind of danger. Malaria is low risk in Bali according to the NHS Fit for Travel website:
Maps: Google Maps offer excellent free Offline Map functionality for when you are abroad but don't have an internet connection. Download your maps before you go and you'll save a bunch of time on your day trips. It's also useful to have this open in taxis so you can show them where you are going. Here's how it's done:
Money: The currency in Bali is the Indonesian Rupiah. As at the time of writing GBP £1 = IDR 17,879. As such things get pretty confusing very quickly. There are plenty of ATMS in Bali and Money Changers on shop corners however it being the 21st century there are many travel cards, prepaid credit cards and challenger banks who can make this administrative part of your holiday much more stress free. If you have ever experienced credit card fraud or have lost a bank card and have spent countless hours on expensive phone calls trying to contact your bank I would advise trying one of these services. I am a big fan of the company Revolut and have used their services wherever I go. They are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK. Revolut provide you with a prepaid VISA card which is accepted in most countries around the world (including Bali). You essentially load it with some money and convert currencies at close to the interbank rate on the App. For their rates and fees see;
There are many places to get a sim card if you would like to have data and minutes while in Bali. I did regret not doing this on my trip as it would have saved a lot of time arranging transport. More on this later. The minute you step off the plane numerous providers will be trying to sign you up for a sim only plan. There are also plenty of options at local shop corners to get a sim for your holiday. Unfortunately I am unable to recommend any as I generally use Skype credit if needed to make a call abroad and avail of WiFi where i can for data purposes. I found a lot of communication in Bali is done via What's App and was used by us to chat with tour operators and taxi drivers.
There are a number of transport apps you can download while in Bali. If you want to get a taxi rather than use the scooters, the one we liked the most was MyBlueBird. This is one of the most reputable taxi companies in Bali with a meter installed in every car. Rates are super cheap and an estimated fare is provided before you book a driver. Please note that some areas do not allow you to use MyBlueBird and request you utilise local transport at a much higher rate without a meter. We found this to be anti competitive and on numerous occasions went to a nearby cafe or restaurant to utilise the WiFi to request a BlueBird taxi. There are similar apps such as GoJek and Grab if you are comfortable riding on the back of a scooter. These are cheaper and much faster than the taxis as they can navigate more easily through the built up traffic. Particulary in areas like Canggu, Ubud and Seminyak.