Things to Bring When Traveling to Singapore: Tips for Modern Travel

February 26, 2024

As I stepped off the plane at Changi Airport, the thick and humid air that makes Singapore infamous hit me like a wall. I was already starting to sweat by the time I got through immigration. And that’s when I realized, to my horror, that I had left my backpack with ALL my vacation necessities back home in San Francisco. No change of clothes, no mosquito spray, no chargers for my phone that was already on low battery. I was woefully unprepared for the tropical climate I had just plunged into. 


I made it through the trip, but it was painfully uncomfortable at times. I learned the hard way that having the right gear makes ALL the difference for travel in hot and humid places like Singapore. Packing properly keeps you feeling fresh, clean, charged up, and ready to take on this amazing city. 


In this blog post, I want to share the top modern necessities for having an enjoyable trip to Singapore. I’ll give you tips beyond the boring old checklist to make your time in the “Lion City” easy and fun. And I’ve got a killer recommendation for using eSIM data to stay conveniently connected abroad with no roaming fees. Trust me, with the right stuff in your bags and pockets, Singapore goes from sweltering to amazing in no time!


Top Things To Pack for Your Singapore Vacation 


Singapore is an ultra modern city, so you can find most everyday necessities quite easily if you forget to pack something. But bringing certain items from home saves time and hassle adjusting to the tropical climate. This list has my top picks for seamlessly enjoying everything this destination offers:


A. Lightweight, Breathable Clothing 


As I learned the hard way off that plane, Singapore’s daily temperature hovers around 86°F year-round. And it’s almost always humid thanks to the surrounding rainforests and sea. You’ll want to pack ultra lightweight, breathable fabrics that won’t stick to your skin as you explore.  


Synthetic moisture-wicking shirts and pants are perfect. They dry quickly after getting damp with sweat or from intermittent tropical downpours. Bring both short and long sleeve tops to adjust for sun coverage or highly air conditioned malls. Tank tops and shorts keep you coolest, but be respectful of cultural norms for wearing them only at certain places. 


Having a versatile wardrobe for layering allows you to handle Singapore’s unique microclimates. Freezing cold aircon indoors to sweltering heat outside.


B. Good Walking Shoes 


While Singapore has excellent public transportation, you’ll still find yourself doing extensive walking as you discover neighborhoods like Little India and Kampong Glam. Areas like Orchard Road shopping belt can mean 10,000+ step days. So do NOT make the mistake I see tourists make all the time – wearing fashion over function footwear in Singapore. 


Your feet will definitely swell after hours of walking in heat and humidity. Protect them by packing ultra comfortable sneakers or light hikers. Moisture wicking hiking socks help too. My go-to brands are Merrell, Oboz and Darn Tough socks, but find what works for your feet. I cannot stress enough that improper footwear ruins many visitors’ enjoyment of this world class walking city. Take care of your feet so they’ll take care of you!

C. Universal Power Adapter


Singapore uses a different style electrical outlet than North America – Type G rather than Type A. So you’ll absolutely want to bring a universal adapter to plug in and charge your devices. Your phone will work harder searching for signal, snapping photos, and running maps/translation apps. Tablets or laptops may need charging too. 


The best adapters have dual USB ports for simultaneously juicing up multiple gadgets. With Malaysia and Indonesia nearby, one adapter lets you charge on quick weekend getaways too. Pro tip: buy one with a built-in surge protector for keeping your beloved electronics safe from electrical fluctuations.


D. Travel Wallet 


As a wealthy Asian financial capital, Singapore has very low violent crime rates. But petty theft unfortunately still exists, especially in crowded tourist areas. Keep your cash, credit cards, passport, SIM card, and other vital items together in one place instead of scattered around your pockets and bags.


A good travel wallet with RFID protection keeps everything you need safe on your adventures. It also makes you less of a target to pickpockets if you keep it tucked away underneath your clothing. I’m currently loving the Pacsafe Venturesafe X 30L Anti-Theft Adventure Backpack combined with their portable 15L Day Safe for when I go out. Expensive but worth it!


E. Quick-Dry Travel Towel


Most hotels in Singapore provide towels, but not all do. And they may charge for taking extra ones to the pool, beach or waterpark. Plus some hostel dorm bathrooms I’ve seen only had small face towels. Bringing your own full sized quick dry travel towel guarantees you always have this essential item. 


After hitting up Sentosa beaches and theme parks, I loved having a towel instantly ready to dry myself off and change clothes. For a compact one, Sea to Summit’s lightweight pack towels work fabulously. Made from antimicrobial material, they barely take any space when folded up.


F. Mosquito Repellent – Just in Case!


Mosquitos and insect-borne diseases are not a major issue in ultra-urban Singapore. But if your travels take you to nature reserves like Bukit Timah or mangrove forests, it’s smart to lather on repellent. Mosquitos also come out at dusk in neighborhood parks and gardens.  


DEET or picaridin sprays and wipes keep pesky bugs away for hours. Or wear permethrin-treated clothing for long-lasting, hands-free protection. Just remember mosquitos in Southeast Asia can spread dengue fever or zika, so better safe than sorry packing repellent.


G. Travel Guidebook or Mobile Apps


With so many things to see and do in Singapore, having an informational guide will enrich understanding the culture beyond superficial tourism. I love the in-depth Lonely Planet Singapore edition for thorough neighborhood descriptions and hidden gems. Their Two Days in Singapore itinerary gives a great quick overview too.


If you prefer mobile apps, check out Spotted by Locals, TripAdvisor, Ulmon City Maps, and Visit Singapore. These all have impressive user reviews for navigating the various ethnic enclaves and finding lesser known local eateries.


H. Small First Aid Kit 


Singapore medical care standards match or exceed those in Western countries, so major health issues are no worry. But having a few key first aid supplies keeps you prepared for minor scrapes, headaches, stomach troubles, or muscle soreness. 


Pack bandaids, antiseptic wipes, aspirin/ibuprofen, anti-diarrheal medication, hydration salts, moleskin for blisters, and antacid tablets. You can buy a premade kit or assemble your own travel-sized zip pouch of supplies.

Don’t Forget Your Travel Documents!


Singapore’s Changi Airport immigration and customs are among the smoothest in the world. But failing to have proper documentation in order can still land you in hot water. Avoid unnecessary hassles by making sure you have all the right paperwork ready to go:  


A. Passport with 6+ Months Validity


Your passport must remain valid for a minimum 6 months from the date you enter Singapore. Airlines may actually deny you boarding without adequate validity left. Check this necessity long before your trip and renew early if cutting it close.


Also secure a visa in advance if your nationality requires it. United States passport holders can enter and stay up to 90 days without a visa. 


B. Printouts of Confirmations 


Some immigration agents ask to see return itineraries and accommodation bookings as proof of onward travel. Even if not asked, having paper backups when WiFi or cell service is spotty provides peace of mind. 


Print out your flight reservations, hotel confirmations, pre-booked tour times, anything proving you have scheduled plans. Organization saves hassle scrambling through emails or apps to find details.


C. Prescription Medications


Import regulations are strict in Singapore regarding restricted medications. But common drugs like birth control, antidepressants, etc are permissible with proper documentation.


Make sure to travel with original medication bottles with prescription labels matching your name. Also bring a letter from your doctor detailing exactly what you need each medication for, dosage instructions, generic names, etc. 


D. Backups of Important Phone Numbers & Documents


As a precaution against lost luggage, damaged phones, or other unforeseen issues, have backups of any vital contact details, itineraries, or identification you might urgently need access to.


Scan or take photos of your passport, vaccination certificates, credit/debit cards, medical prescriptions, hotel reservation printouts, and daily itinerary. Email images to yourself or save them to cloud storage for retrieval anywhere. Having contingency plans secures peace of mind if problems arise.


Stay Connected With an eSIM


One of the best travel technology advances in recent years is the electronic SIM card, or eSIM. This programmable chip lets you instantly activate a local data plan on your phone rather than fussing with physical SIM cards. Convenient and budget-friendly, an eSIM like eSIMple keeps you seamlessly connected abroad.


1. Avoid Roaming Charges  


International roaming rates from your provider at home can rack up INSANE costs, like $10 PER MEGABYTE. Just downloading an email could cost $50 if you’re not careful. An eSIM with a local data package prevents any surprise roaming fees.


2. eSIMple eSIM Sets Up in Minutes


Ordering an eSIMple eSIM takes only seconds online. Installation onto dual SIM phones is done via a simple app. You scan a QR code or transfer a data profile to enable service abroad. The entire process from purchase to activation takes mere minutes without visiting a store.  


3. Works Instantly Upon Singapore Arrival  


Activating your eSIMple Singapore eSIM can actually be done last minute at the airport after you land. But setting up in advance means connectivity right as you turn on your phone. Avoid scrambling to find WiFi or waiting hours for a store to open on the first morning.


4. Top Up Data Through the eSIMple App


eSIMple’s architecture makes managing your overseas data refreshingly convenient. If your usage exceeds an initial purchase, add more high speed data in increments from 1GB up through the intuitive mobile app. No waiting in long refill shop queues!


5. Dual SIM Capability  


If your device supports dual SIM mode like newer model iPhones, you can allocate data to eSIMple’s eSIM line while keeping calling and messaging on your primary number. Avoid missing banks verifying payment attempts or family trying to reach you abroad.  


Having backup power banks, adapters, memory cards, and other tech gear optimizes using eSIM connectivity on vacation. But those warrant their own future post!

Packing Tips and Organizing Gear


Now that you’ve got your must-have items for Singapore ready to go, proper packing strategy keeps everything neat and at your fingertips when you need it. Don’t be that traveler who has to always dump out their entire suitcase!  


  • Use packing cubes and folders in your luggage to allocate categories like: underwear/socks, shirts, pants, swimwear, etc. Bargain cubes by Eagle Creek work fine for shorter trips and light packing. Compression cubes save even more space.


  • Keep all charging, memory cards, adapters and other small electronics in one easily accessed tech pouch. My Cord Roll kit from Incase wraps cables neatly when not in use.


  • Consider a water-resistant wet/dry bag to separate damp items like bathing suits or laundry that could leak later. I often bring an extra few plastic baggies too for souvenirs, snacks, or odds and ends I pick up.


  • Lastly, have a dedicated toiletry bag stocked with your soaps, creams, medicines, dental supplies and other bathroom necessities.

Final Thoughts


Preparing properly for the tropical climate goes a long way ensuring you make the most of your Singapore visit. But don’t stress about having every little thing – this incredibly convenient city has anything you might forget easily purchasable. 


With breathable clothing, mobile connectivity, travel documents, health items, and other essentials covered, you’ll be ready to take on the famous Singapore humidity!

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