For Europeans: How To Pack Like A Pro For California

There’s no doubt that California makes a fantastic fall trip. With Indian summer heating up the Bay Area while the rest of Europe chills down with tinted red leaves, no wonder many Europeans have always traveled to the Wild West to soak up the Cali sun, indulge in breathtaking landscapes and explore outdoor activities.

Marin, San Francisco
The rolling golden hills of California up on the Bolinas-Fairfax Ridge. Photo: Zoe Zaleski

Packing for autumn in California, Las Vegas or even the Grand Canyon can be overwhelming since local climates aren’t exactly the same. Night time at the Grand Canyon can drop to as low as 4 – 5°C while daytime in Las Vegas can be as hot as 39°C. Here are temperature ranges to keep in mind:

  • San Francisco = 13°C / night to 23°C / day
  • Las Vegas = 24°C / night to 39°C / day
  • Grand Canyon = 5°C / night to 24°C / day
  • Los Angeles = 18°C / night to 28°C / day
  • Napa Valley = 12°C / night to 31°C / day

As it is still California, focus more on summer clothing but bring 1-2 thick jackets or sweaters for camping outdoors especially at the Grand Canyon. Here’s a list of must-pack items:


  • Shampoo
  • Soap/shower gel
  • Toothpaste + toothbrush
  • Razor + shaving cream
  • Hand or body lotion
  • Comb or brush (Ladies: blow dryer / curling iron)
  • Underwear (Ladies: bras)
  • Socks
  • Voltage converter (electrical plugs in U.S.: 120 V / 60 Hz)
  • Computer/phone chargers
  • External battery
  • Hard drive: if you want to backup your photo images
  • Passport
  • Camera

Clothing & accessories:

  • T-shirts & tanks
  • Shorts and skirts (women)
  • Jeans
  • For going out drinking or dancing at night:
    • Women – dresses and heels.
    • Men – button-up shirt, slacks and nice shoes.
  • Sandals or flip flops
  • (Women) Avoid heels but bring wedges or cute flats
  • (Men) Most Vegas clubs will not allow sneakers inside, so bring dress shoes
  • For walking all day: 1-2 pairs of sneakers (or comfortable shoes)
  • Lightweight jackets for camping and nighttime in cities
  • 1 sweater for nighttime during camping
  • Swimwear: for hitting the pools and beaches
  • Sunscreen
  • Hats
  • Sunglasses


Call your bank before your trip to California to be sure you can withdraw money in a foreign country to avoid fraud alerts.

Consider your budget, I would highly recommend creating a budget for yourself. Exchange 50% of your budget at your local bank prior to the trip, then withdraw the rest of your money in the U.S. throughout the trip so you don’t have to worry about carrying a large amount of cash at all times.

Every traveler has their own version of budget depending on how one likes to spend on food and shopping. But cities in California are considerably more expensive than most American cities, so plan USD$50/day (excluding lodging) if you’re a budget traveler. USD$75/day if you plan on splurging at nice restaurants.

Wendy Hung


As the founder of Jetset Times, Wendy is an avid traveler and fluent in five languages. When she's not traveling, Wendy calls Paris and Taipei home. Her favorite countries so far from her travels have been: Bhutan, Iran, and St. Bart's because they were all so different!

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