Azerbaijan Packing List: What to Pack for Azerbaijan for Women and Men

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Planning a trip to Azerbaijan? You might be wondering what to pack to visit this relatively little-traveled country. For many, questions about appropriate dress pop up whenever visiting a majority-Muslim nation. While Azerbaijan is a secular country, there are a few times during your trip when you’ll need to be cognizant of how Islamic customs are observed in this part of the world, and that includes planning ahead on what to wear. In addition, the country is mountainous with a large sea coast, which can cause extra confusion about what to wear. Here’s my packing list for Azerbaijan, including everything you need to pack for Azerbaijan for both women and men.

 

Read:  75 Epic Reasons You Need to Travel Azerbaijan

 

 

Should You Take a Backpack or Roller Suitcase?

Even if you fly into Baku, I would recommend anyone planning to get out of the city and explore to bring a backpack. There are many times (and modes of travel) when you’ll appreciate having the smallest luggage possible. Of course, if you’re planning to travel with a rental car or by private taxi, then space will become less of an issue. For anyone who will be only staying in Baku or simply flying from Baku to Nakhchivan, either a backpack or a roller suitcase will work fine.

 

A few more situations to consider where I would suggest a backpack over a roller suitcase:

  • Are you staying in a shared dorm in a hostel?
  • Are you visiting any cities for just one day and moving on without sleeping overnight? This means you won’t be able to leave your luggage anywhere in the city.
  • Are you a classic over-packer who needs the restrictions to force yourself to pack only what you will actually use on the trip?
  • Will you be traveling from Sheki to Tbilisi and crossing the border into Georgia on foot? The border crossing isn’t terribly long, but I would have been annoyed having a roller with me.

 

Azerbaijan - Ganja - Marshrutka
When crammed into a marshrutka from Ganja to Sheki, you’ll be glad you only brought a backpack (which the driver smushed to bits)

 

 

Suggested Backpacks

Here are the backpacks I personally use:

 

I use a Bergans Skarstind 48 similar to this Bergans backpack. I absolutely love it, and it’s served me well through ten countries so far. For those who are Osprey diehards (and I get it) 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. 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. 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 waiting in line at the Azerbaijan border control

 

 

Roller Bags

For roller suitcases, I recommend 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. I absolutely love this bag. Its soft core 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 beat 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

 

 

Day Bags and Daypacks

If you’re flying and you’re taking a full roller bag as your main suitcase, then you can take a backpack as your carryon. Otherwise, you’ll want something smaller that can fit under the seat in front of you. These are the three main bags I am currently using as a day bag while traveling:

 

Option 1:  Sleek and Collapsible

In Azerbaijan, 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 Azerbaijan 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
Absolutely love using this backpack as a day bag.

 

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.

 

Azerbaijan - Batabat - Forrest Feast
Having an extra ziplock bag on me would have come in handy when sneaking chili pepper at this restaurant in Batabat

 

 

What to Wear in Azerbaijan for Women

Here’s what women should pack. This list assumes you will be traveling for more than a week, but if you’ll be away from home for less than that, then obviously adjust the list down. I like to have a few more clothing options than some traditional backpackers, but if you want to pack less, then take off one or two items from categories with multiple options.

 

Clothes

  • 3-4 shirts and blouses
  • 1 tank top
  • 1 tee shirt
  • 2-3 dresses
  • 2-3 pairs of leggings (optional, but great for layers or visiting Mosques while wearing a dress or skirt)
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 skirt (optional)
  • 1 sweater, cardigan, or kimono for light layering
  • 1 jacket (I brought my jean jacket, but something that can handle a 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 a mosque, so having slip-on or easy sandals is clutch.

 

Underwear & Socks

  • 7-8 pairs of underwear
  • 1-2 bras
  • 1-2 pairs of socks (summer) or 5-7 pairs of socks (winter)

 

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 Mosques (unless you feel comfortable using the ones provided at the front entrance).
  • Sunglasses (regular or prescription if required). Azerbaijan 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)

 

Winter Clothing

This obviously depends on your plans. If your purpose of visiting Azerbaijan in winter is to go to one of the country’s two world-class ski resorts, then pack for a ski vacation. However, if your goal is to explore Baku, Ganja, or Sheki, 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.
Azerbaijan - Ordubad - Mosque
While visiting the Mosque in Ordubad, I needed a scarf and to take off my shoes. Other mosques required a more modest outfit that they provided for us.

 

What to Wear in Azerbaijan for Men

Here’s what men should bring with them.

 

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 a mosque, so having slip-on or easy sandals is clutch.

 

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

Just like for women, this obviously depends on your plans. If your purpose of visiting Azerbaijan in winter is to go to one of the country’s two world-class ski resorts, then pack for a ski vacation. However, if your goal is to explore Baku, Ganja, or Sheki, 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.

 

Azerbaijan - Nakhchivan - Market
The key to dressing in Azerbaijan was layers. It would be hot, cool, misty, rainy, and everything in between in a single afternoon.

 

 

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). Azerbaijan 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.

 

Azerbaijan - Baku - Cool Kid
Every kid in Azerbaijan dress better than you…and they have that baby smooth skin. Better bring your moisturizer.

 

 

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. 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 Azerbaijan. 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.

 

Always pack vaseline

 

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 Azerbaijan.

 

Azerbaijan - Nakhchivan - Mountains and Highway
Azerbaijan in an Instagram dream – don’t forget your camera(s)!

 

 

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 Azerbaijan)
  • 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. 

 

Azerbaijan - Ganja - The Ganja Hotel
Make sure you bring your passport, driver’s license (if renting a car), banking and ATM info, and your Travel Insurance details!

 

Books

Azerbaijan - Baku - Ateshgah of Baku Fire Temple
The Ateshgah fire temple outside of Baku. Zoroastrianism played a major role in Azeri history.

 

 

Apps for Visiting Azerbaijan

  • Uber for getting around Baku
  • Google Translate
  • 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)
  • Facebook Messenger (This is ninety percent of how I communicate these days).
  • Instagram (Because aren’t we all basic at heart?)
  • Adobe Lightroom for Desktop & Lightroom Mobile for your Smart Phone for photo editing
  • Snapseed for the photo editing features that Lightroom doesn’t have when on mobile
  • 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
  • The mobile apps for any airlines you’re using
  • TripIt for organizing flights, hotel accommodations, and tickets.

 

Azerbaijan - Ganja - Alexander Nevsky Church
We never would have found this church in Ganja without Google Maps!

 

 

What to Pack for Staying in Hostels

A few things to pack if you’re staying in hostels in Azerbaijan like I did while in Sheki.

  • 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.

 

Azerbaijan - Sheki - Palace of the Shaki Khans
We stayed at a guesthouse/hostel while in Sheki to see the Palace of the Sheki Khans

 

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

If you are going to be staying with someone or interacting with anyone in Azerbaijan 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 Azerbaijan

 

More about Traveling the Caucasus

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

 

Armenia Travel Resources

 

Georgia Travel Resources

 

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

 

 

Pin this Article for Your Trip to Azerbaijan

What to Pack for Azerbaijan Packing List
What to Pack for Azerbaijan: an Azerbaijan Packing List for Women and Men

 

One Comment

  1. That’s what I understand – the true blog. How long did it take to write each item? I was in Azerbaijan, the people there are very friendly. Went there with my younger sister. I really want to go there again … what kind of people and what ecology! My sister told me that “you have to pay someone to do your homework.” And in the end she is right, at university I really have problems …

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