Armenia Packing List: Everything You Need to Pack for Armenia for Women and Men

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Many people who travel to the Caucasus are wondering what to pack for Armenia since most people’s travel itinerary here will include stops at many ancient monasteries and important churches. When visiting holy pilgrimage sites like Geghard Monastery, you want to know that you’re wearing culturally appropriate clothes. As anyone who’s fond of visiting Orthodox Monasteries can attest, the trick to religious tourism is to be respectful and appropriate so that you don’t interfere with the visitors coming to pray and practice their faith. For anyone wondering what to pack for Armenia, here’s my recommended Armenia packing list for women and men.

 

Roller Suitcase or Backpack?

Many visitors to Armenia fly into Tbilisi in Georgia and then come to Armenia via the sleeper train or on a marshrutka. If you will be moving between countries or cities fairly often, I would suggest using a backpack. Marshrutkas have minimal storage space, and the space on the sleeper train to stow luggage is pretty small in the private cars. However, if you are flying directly into Yerevan and staying put, a roller suitcase will work just fine. This also depends on your own preference for travel styles and how long you’ll be in Armenia. In my experience backpacking through the Caucasus, I preferred having a backpack and would have found a roller suitcase annoying (especially since I stayed in a fifth-floor walk-up in Yerevan). However, there are many situations in which a roller suitcase might be preferred or even necessary.

 

Things to consider before deciding on which type of luggage to use:

  • Do you have private or shared accommodations?
  • How fast-paced is your itinerary?
  • Will you be based out of one or two cities for a long period of time?
  • When you travel, do you tend to overpack and not use all your items?

 

I think this part of the world is easier to backpack, but I have also lived out of a large roller suitcase in the Balkans and found it to be easy. Just consider your options ahead of time and don’t overpack!

 

 

Backpack Suggestions

These are the two backpacks I have used in the past:

 

For my trip to Armenia, I used my Bergans Skarstind 48 which is similar to this Bergans backpack. This backpack is easy to wear, and the fact that it is taller than it is wide makes the distribution of weight along  my torso easy to handle. Plus, I can squish it into the back of marshrutkas fairly easily. For those unfamiliar with Bergans or who are Osprey diehards (which I used to be) then I would choose something similar to this Osprey Women’s pack. For men, I would choose something in the same size range (40-48 L).

 

During previous trips, I have backpacked with a standard daypack-type backpack that wasn’t designed for backpacking, and I would not recommend this option. Before using an actual backpacking backpack, I didn’t understand what the differences were. However, once I switched to an actual backpacking pack, I fell in love. The straps are what make them so amazing because they distribute the weight of the pack across your whole torso, whereas a typical backpack just hangs the weight off your shoulders. I also would not recommend a woman get a man’s pack, because our hip belts are designed for our specific hip-needs. If you do choose a man’s backpack, get one that has interchangeable hip belts and swap out for a woman’s hip belt.

 

Azerbaijan - Border Control
Taking mirror selfies in my backpack while backpacking in the Caucasus

 

 

Roller Suitcases

If you are going to bring a roller bag, I suggest getting a soft shell one that can squish.  In these situations, I use an Osprey Sojourn. I have been using mine for over two years for big trips where I need a suitcase, and I lived out of just this bag and a day pack for eight months. The major benefit of this bag is the soft shell, which makes it easy to pack, even when I have strange dimensions (like lugging around a podcasting microphone). And whenever I do want to shop somewhere, it always seems to stretch just a bit more to add what I’ve bought (like when I went shopping-crazy in Milan and needed to bring back a full-size world map and a statue of a pineapple). It’s also extremely durable. Mine has been beaten up on Balkan buses, nearly run over in Austria, and almost left behind in Tunisia. But she’s still standing strong!

 

My dog napping in my Osprey suitcase
My dog napping in my Osprey suitcase

 

 

Daypacks and Day Bags

You will want to bring a smaller bag with you that can carry what you need to bring with you during the day. This bag will also handle anything you need easy access to while in transit (like passports, cell phone, camera, emergency snacks, etc.). For men, I typically see regular backpacks or messenger bags, while women will bring either a regular backpack or a large purse. What your pick for your day bag matters, as it will go with you everywhere and be with you all the time. Things to consider when choosing a daypack are:

 

  • what kind of safety features do I need and want?
  • do I want to look more fashionable or more like a tourist?
  • do I need to avoid looking like a tourist for safety reasons?
  • do I need to avoid looking like I have money for safety reasons?
  • how durable does my day bag need to be based on my itinerary (city/adventure/etc)?
  • how large or small is the ideal daypack for this trip?

 

I find that for most trips, I use the same kind of daypack. I travel to many cities and do a lot of religious tourism, so I like to have a day bag that looks reasonably stylish while not looking expensive. I like the safety features of my current bag. I don’t do much hiking or trekking, so I don’t need something that can handle bad weather. Here are the three main daypacks I use:

 

Option 1:  Sleek and Collapsible

In Armenia, I used a large Longchamp as a purse/daypack. If I take a suitcase and a carryon backpack, then I will roll this bag up and put it in my backpack so that I still have it. I absolutely love that it can roll up but still handle a lot. And even though it was one of my splurges (I bought it full price at the Vienna airport), I still use it almost every single day two years later. This is a great option for women who want to feel a little more glamorous while out and about than a typical laptop backpack offers.

 

Azerbaijan - Ganja - The Bottle House
Taking my Longchamp bag out around Ganja, Azerbaijan

 

Option 2: Safety and Technology-Friendly

I recently added the Pacsafe Citysafe laptop backpack as my primary travel day bag. I can fit my laptop, DSLR camera, spare lens, and a few other personals belong in it. It’s cute enough that I don’t feel like a traveling monster but large enough that I can have my essentials with me. Plus, it has a ton of built-in safety features, like interlocking zippers and hidden pockets. The company behind it, Pacsafe, focuses on creating travel products that have smart anti-theft technology built into them. I don’t use the features every day, but I love being able to lock the zippers and hide my passport when things get dicey, like when I’m in a crowded place or out after dark. I’ve bought Pacsafe products in the past, but I bought this bag after watching my friend Allison use hers in Armenia and the Caucasus, where it came in really handy.

 

(Pacsafe also makes smaller bags that still have a ton of safety features to keep your belongings safe on the road. I especially like the Slim Crossbody).

 

Option 3: Large and Functional

Another option I’ve used in the past is a traditional backpack with a laptop slot. For this, I have this SwissGear Travel Laptop Backpack. It’s a great travel daypack because the laptop slot is crucial for days digital nomading in coffee shops, but also just important for getting my laptop with me to my destination. The middle pocket is large enough to fit my camera and work as a camera bag. I have backpacked out of this bag, and while I was able to do it successfully (through Spain, Hungary, Romania, Jordan, Israel, Moldova, and Ukraine) I am much happier now with a true backpacking pack and using this as a day bag when I need something on the larger side.

 

Wizz Air Carry On Only Airport Mirror Selfie
This backpack can handle a ton of stuff…almost too much stuff.

 

 

Keeping Your Bags Organized

The key to successful packing, whether backpacking or traveling with a roller bag, is to make sure your bag is organized. This is how I divide up my things inside my bags:

  • Large Packing Cubes (1-2): Clothing
  • Medium Packing Cube (1): Underwear / Socks / PJs / and Swimsuit(s) (depending on the season)
  • Small Cosmetic Bags (5): I have a random collection of bags bought at various H&Ms across Europe, but they are all similar to this one. I use them like this:
    • Wet Toiletries: I keep my toothbrush and toothpaste in a ziplock inside. Other toiletry bottles also in zip locks inside. I don’t want cross-contamination from one wet thing to another. I try to unpack these whenever I’m going to be somewhere for more than a night so they air out.
    • Dry Toiletries: razor (with the cap on!), hair brush, tweezers, etc
    • Medicine Kit: prescriptions, OTC meds, vitamins
    • Gadgets: cords, chargers, and converters,
    • Makeup and Jewelry
  • 1 laundry bag (comes with the packing cubes) for tossing in dirty clothes until the next wash. This keeps my clean clothes fresher for longer.
  • Coin Purse (whenever I’m in Europe, I’m always shocked how fast the coins add up in my pack)
  • Canvas Tote Bag for groceries or for days when you need something lightweight
  • 1-2 empty gallon ziplock bags and 3-5 empty small ziplock bags for random organizational emergencies. These seem to happen on every trip, and I’m always grateful to have them with me.

 

Armenia - Geghard Monastery
Extra ziplock bags come in handy for loading up on Armenian snacks when leaving Geghard

 

What to Wear in Armenia for Women

Here’s what women should pack. This list assumes you will be traveling for more than a week, so if you will be on the road less than that you can take clothing items off wherever there are multiple options listed. If you are going to be visiting Armenia to do trekking, hiking, or other outdoor adventure activities, then make sure to also bring items appropriate for the activities you’ll be participating in.

 

Clothes

  • 3-4 shirts or blouses (Make sure that you have modest clothes to wear for visits to churches or monasteries. This means no cleavage showing and shoulders are covered).
  • 1 tank top
  • 1 tee shirt
  • 2-3 dresses (If you don’t wear dresses or skirts, then pack additional shirts and jeans or shorts to wear instead).
  • 2-3 pairs of leggings (optional, but great for layers or visiting churches while wearing a dress or skirt)
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 skirt (optional)
  • 1 sweater, cardigan, or kimono for light layering (I found that even in early summer, I wanted to have layers available).
  • 1 jacket (I brought my jean jacket, but something that can handle light rain would also be a good idea).
  • 1 pajama top
  • 1 pajama bottoms (or use one of the leggings)
  • 1 swimsuit (optional depending on weather and plans)

Shoes & Sandals 

  • Comfortable Closed-Toed Walking Shoes (I use boots like these or like these. Pack hiking shoes if you’re planning on hiking. Otherwise, any closed-toed shoes will work).
  • Comfortable day shoes (I have had a pair of these Tevas for the last two years, and I’ve worn them so much they have a hole in the right sole. For cold weather months, I opt for the second pair of boots. Both the sandals and the boots are perfect for travel because the rubber souls make them extra durable and comfortable at the same time).
  • Extra Easy Slip-on Sandal or Flip-Flops (I use these Croc Jellies because they work for hostel showers but are also wearable outside. I’m currently on pairs #2 and 3. I own them in blue and pink). Remember that you’ll need to take off your shoes before entering the mosque in Yerevan, but you do not need to remove your shoes for visiting Orthodox churches.

 

Armenia - Yerevan - Mosque
Wearing slip-on sandals in Yerevan was clutch for being able to explore the mosque simply.

 

Underwear & Socks

  • 7-8 pairs of underwear (I like to have enough for one week before having to do laundry, but you can bring more or less depending on yon our needs).
  • 1-2 bras (If you’ll be doing a lot of hiking, you might want one of these to be a sports bra).
  • 1-2 pairs of socks (summer) or 5-7 pairs of socks (winter). Bring more if you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking.

 

Jewelry & Accessories

  • 1-2 items of each kind of jewelry you prefer. For me, that’s a few pairs of earrings, one bracelet, my two rings, and a necklace.
  • A Scarf for Visiting the Mosque in Yerevan (unless you feel comfortable using the ones provided at the front entrance). (For church visits, I found that I needed to wear a scarf visiting Orthodox churches in Georgia and Azerbaijan, but I was not asked to wear a scarf inside churches in Armenia. Armenian women did wear scarves over their heads inside the churches. Additionally, I think it’s always a good idea to have a scarf in your bag whenever participating in religious tourism since customs can vary from place to place even within a single religion.
  • Sunglasses (regular or prescription if required). Armenia is sunny, and you’ll be happy to have them with you.
  • Hairpins, Bobby Pins, or Barretts (1-3 styles depending on your hair needs)
  • Headbands or Hair Wraps (1-4 depending on your needs)
  • Watch (optional)

 

Bring your own scarf to Armenia to go inside Yerevan’s Blue Mosque. Otherwise, you can grab one of their scarves by the front door to put on for your visit.

 

Winter Clothing

This obviously depends on your plans. If your purpose of visiting Armenia in winter is to visit Tsakhkadzor to ski, then pack for a ski vacation. However, if your goal is to explore Yerevan and do a few light day trips, you’ll want to wear good city winter clothes:

  • Winter Coat
  • Gloves
  • Upgrade your socks to thick, warm socks
  • Winter Scarf
  • If you’re going to be hiking, make sure to bring winter thermal layers.

 

Armenia - Geghard Monastery
When visiting Armenian churches, you’ll see Armenian women wearing scarves, but it’s not necessary to wear one as a visitor who is not Orthodox. This is different than in Georgia or Azerbaijan.

 

 

What to Wear in Armenia for Men

Here’s what men should bring with them. This list assumes you will be traveling for more than a week, so if you will be on the road less than that you can take clothing items off wherever there are multiple options listed. If you are going to be visiting Armenia to do trekking, hiking, or other outdoor adventure activities, then make sure to also bring items appropriate for the activities you’ll be participating in.

 

Clothes

  • 4-5 everyday shirts
  • 1 collared shirt
  • 3 undershirts
  • 1-2 pairs of shorts (summer only and avoid overly touristy looking khaki shorts or cargo shorts).
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 1 pair of wrinkle-free dress pants (if you want to do anything nice out in the cities)
  • 1 light jacket
  • 1 tee shirt and shorts for sleeping
  • 1 pair of swim trunks (optional depending on weather and plans)

Shoes

  • Comfortable Closed-Toed Walking Shoes (Sneakers, hiking shoes, or boots, depending on your preference.
  • Comfortable day sandals. If you are the kind of guy who doesn’t wear sandals, bring a second pair of walking shoes.
  • Extra Easy Slip-on Sandal or Flip-Flops (especially important for anyone staying in hostels). Remember that you’ll need to take off your shoes before entering the mosque in Yerevan.

 

Armenia - Yerevan - Walking Tour
Bring comfortable walking shoes for exploring Yerevan. Especially if you plan to go on a walking tour of the city.

 

Underwear & Socks

  • 4-5 pairs of underwear
  • 3-4 pairs of socks (summer) or 5-7 pairs of socks (winter)

 

Jewelry & Accessories

  • Sunglasses (regular or prescription if required)
  • Watch (optional)
  • Any personal jewelry

 

Winter Clothing

This obviously depends on your plans. If your purpose of visiting Armenia in winter is to visit Tsakhkadzor to ski, then pack for a ski vacation. However, if your goal is to explore Yerevan and do a few light day trips, you’ll want to wear good city winter clothes:

  • Winter Coat
  • Gloves
  • Upgrade your socks to thick, warm socks
  • Winter Scarf
  • If you’re going to be hiking, make sure to bring winter thermal layers.

 

Armenia - Geghard Monastery
Wear shoes with some grip if you want to get down in the holy spring in Geghard to collect some water to bring back with you.

 

Toiletries & Skincare

  • Travel-sized shampoo and conditioner. Some people swear by solid shampoo, but I just refill the same travel size bottles.
  • Small hairbrush
  • Travel-sized hair dryer with European plugs (I’ve blown multiple hair dryers trying to use voltage converters. I’ve given up and only travel with a hairdryer with European plugs while in Europe). Armenia uses the same plugs as Europe, so you don’t need anything special for just the Caucasus.
  • Full Sized Travel Towel. Most bloggers I know hate their microfibre travel towels, but I opted for a big, beautiful microfibre towel that’s perfect for the beach or a hostel. Seriously, no one loves their travel towel as much as I do.
  • Dry Shampoo for the days when you really, really don’t want to shower.
  • Hair products specific to your hair type
  • Sunscreen
  • Tissues, Toilet Paper, or Kleenex
  • Travel Sized Hand Sanitizer
  • Moisturizer and Night Cream (travel is brutal on your skin)
  • Makeup
  • Makeup removing towelettes
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Eye Care (contacts, glasses, prescription sunglasses if needed)
  • Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Razor
  • Shaving Cream (optional)
  • Nair or Veet (for when I get lazy)
  • Nail File
  • Nail Clippers
  • Tweezers (2 pairs. One for my makeup kit and one for my toiletries kit).
  • Laundry Detergent Powder (I like to have enough for 3-4 loads of laundry. If I’m traveling longer than this, I can always get more on the road).
  • Something to deal with that special time of the month. If you have to deal with a period on the road, pack whatever you need depending on your preferences.

    Armenia - Selfie
    I forgot to bring my face wash with me to Armenia…and had to photoshop out a pimple under my chin

 

 

Medicine Kit

Over the counter medication from pharmacies is pretty easy to find and inexpensive, so you don’t need a huge, all-disasters-covered style medicine kit. I contracted ringworm in Armenia, and I was able to easily get what I needed from the pharmacy. A basic kit will include:

 

  • Your personal prescriptions, medications, contraception needs, and regular vitamins.
  • Anything you take weekly (for me this would be things like antacids).
  • Your OTC Painkiller of choice.
  • Bandaids (After accidentally stabbing my thumb with my own razor in the Lisbon airport and having to pretend like I wasn’t bleeding to death while eating a steak, I vow to never leave home without band-aids).
  • Travel-sized Vaseline (Vaseline should be in every single person’s luggage for every single trip. Period).
  • If you’re flying transatlantic or anticipate jetlag or sleep issues, I love having melatonin with me on every trip.

 

Anything else that comes up, you can easily get at a pharmacy in Armenia. Just have Google Translate available for times when you run into a pharmacist who doesn’t speak English. Explaining my ringworm in Russian to an Armenian pharmacist was a trip, but without Google Translate, I would probably still be explaining it to her. If you do need to go into a pharmacy, note that most only take cash.

 

Armenia - Yerevan - Mount Ararat
Going to a pharmacy in Yerevan wasn’t scary. If you forget basic medication, you can pick some up. Just have Google translate with you!

 

 

Technology and Accessories

As a full-time travel blogger who also has a podcast, my tech needs are out of control. Here’s the technology that I traveled with to Armenia.

 

 

Armenia -
Armenia has amazing scenery for photos opportunities. Make sure to bring a camera to capture the magic!

 

Important Documentation

  • Your Passport & either quick access to a soft copy or a couple of hard copies. Make sure to take it with you to buy a sim card.
  • Passport Holder
  • Your Driver’s License (If you plan on renting a car in Armenia)
  • Your Travel Insurance Policy Information:  I never leave home without travel insurance. You just never know what kind of trouble you’ll run into on the road. I’ve had several broken phones, a nearly stolen wallet, car rental accidents, etc. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. I always get the higher level so that I have coverage for more of my technology in case anything gets lost or stolen. It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’re going to be doing any urban exploration in Baku or climbing or hiking in the countryside.  Have your travel insurance available in a soft copy, and forward your policy info to your primary emergency contact.
  • Credit & ATM Cards (make sure to call your banks to let them know you’re traveling if they require it).  Have either quick access to a soft copy or a couple of hard copies. Never travel with only one card or access to one account. I have two checking accounts and four credit card accounts. This way when things happen on the road (and they do), I don’t get stuck. You never know when your credit card company is going to flag your ATM withdrawal in a foreign country as suspicious and block your cards.

 

I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for two years, and I happily recommend them.  It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’re going to be doing any urban exploration, hiking, or sports. 

 

Don’t forget to have Travel Insurance coverage while on your trip! You want to come back from Armenia with beautiful memories and photographs, but no headaches or giant medical bills!

 

Books

 

Reading up on Armenian history beforehand can really enhance your understanding while on your trip!

 

 

Apps for Visiting Armenia

  • Yandex for getting around Yerevan.
  • Google Translate (This one was clutch when in Armenian pharmacies).
  • Google Maps (Download the maps for the cities you’ll be visiting so they’re available offline).
  • Skype (Great for calling to get your bank cards unblocked. Not that I have any experience with that…).
  • Facebook Messenger (This is my main form of communication these days).
  • Instagram (If you go on a trip and you don’t Instagram it, did you even go? Just kidding, Instagram is a necessary evil).
  • Adobe Lightroom for Desktop & Lightroom Mobile for your Smart Phone for photo editing. Lightroom Mobile is free, but Lightroom for desktop is paid.
  • Snapseed for the photo editing features that Lightroom doesn’t have when on mobile, especially if you don’t get Lightroom desktop.
  • iTunes, Podcast Addict, or other Podcatcher (Check out these travel podcasts I use for inspiration and learning about upcoming travel destinations)
  • Dropbox Mobile for backing up cell phone photos before you leave. This is important in case your cell phone gets lost, broken, or stolen.
  • The mobile apps for any airlines you’re using. I flew into Baku and out of Tbilisi on separate airlines.
  • TripIt for organizing flights, hotel accommodations, and tickets.

 

Snapped this gorgeous scene from the back of a Yandex taxi. The app is clutch when traveling the former USSR!

 

What to Pack for Staying in Hostels

A few things to pack if you’re staying in hostels in Armenia.

  • Flip-flops or shower shoes. I mentioned this above, but it’s extra important if you’re in hostels where you’ll want to have your feet covered in the shower.
  • Full Sized Travel Towel. This is the best travel towel in the world, and you’ll need it if you are staying in hostels where you have to bring your own towel.
  • A lock for your stuff.
  • Sleep Mask and Earplugs if you’re a light sleeper.

 

 

What to Pack for Studying Abroad, Working Abroad, and Homestays

If you are going to be staying with someone or interacting with anyone in Armenia who could be considered as “hosting you,” it’s polite to bring a small present from home to give to as a gift to your hosts. Popular items for this type of gift would be something you can only get in your home country, for example, something with your home country’s flag on it or something made there. This doesn’t need to be extravagant, just a small token will suffice.

 

 

More about Traveling Armenia

 

More about Traveling the Caucasus

Many people who travel Armenia combine it with a trip to Azerbaijan and Georgia:

 

Azerbaijan Travel Resources

 

Georgia Travel Resources

 

 

Have you been to Armenia or are you planning an upcoming trip? Leave your best tips for an Armenia packing list and any questions about what to pack for Armenia below!

 

 

Pin this Article for Your Trip to Armenia

Armenia Packing List: Everything You Need to Pack for Armenia for Women and Men
Armenia Packing List: Everything You Need to Pack for Armenia for Women and Men

 

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