Toronto Packing List: the Ultimate Guide to What to Pack for Toronto

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Last Updated on: 19th June 2023, 06:41 pm

Headed to Canada and wondering what to pack for Toronto? While Toronto is a sophisticated city like New York and Montreal, it’s got a slightly more casual vibe.

It’s a city where you will spend tons of time on the metro (or a bike if you get your hands on one) so packing can be a bit confusing.

Here’s my Toronto packing list, plus what to wear in Toronto for women and men.

My Favorite Travel Booking Sites for 2024

These are my favorite companies that I use on my own travels.

Protect Your Trip via Safety Wing

Find the best city tours, day tours, bus tours, & skip-the-line tickets on GetYourGuide and Viator.

Find the best deals on hotels & vacation rentals on

For English-speaking private airport transfers, book through Welcome Pickups.

For road trips and independent travel, rent a car through Discover Cars.

Find information and cruise reviews on Cruise Critic.

For packing and travel essentials order via Amazon.

Book an affordable family or romantic photography session on your trip through Flytographer (Use the code HISTORYFANGIRL for 10% off your first photoshoot).

For travel guidebooks to have with you during your trip, I always pick one or two from Rick Steves and Lonely Planet.

Where to Stay in Toronto

I’ve stayed in a variety of Toronto hotels, Airbnb apartments, and even at friends’ houses, so I’ve seen the city from a few different neighborhoods. Here are awesome Toronto hotels for every budget. You can see the breakdown below:

  • Budget: A room in a hostel, usually $25-40 USD per night for a dorm bed.
  • Mid-range: Around $50-80 for a hotel room (private or shared bathroom)
  • Luxury: Around $100 per night or more for a hotel room

Budget: For a great budget-friendly hostel, you can stay in the dorms at The Only Backpacker’s Inn on Danforth Ave.  Located next to a taco place (so basically the perfect location) it’s just about one hundred meters away from a convenient metro stop. Includes free breakfast. Check pricing, reviews, and availability here.

See also
How to Visit Rideau Canal, Ottawa's Unique UNESCO World Heritage Site

Mid-Range: For an affordable hotel in a great location, check out Kaiser Guest House. Located by Toronto University and Kensington Market, plus quick access to the metro. They have shared kitchens and coin-operated laundry, so it’s a great place for long-term travelers. Check pricing, reviews, and availability here.

Luxury: For an upscale Toronto vacation, stay at  Old Mill Toronto, a four-star luxury hotel with a full-service spa, onsite restaurant, and tennis courts. There are beautiful fireplaces to cozy up to if you visit in winter. Check pricing, reviews, and availability here.

What Kind of Suitcase to Bring?

Canada - Toronto -Air Canada Plane
What suitcase you bring to Toronto depends a lot on how you’ll be getting here!

Whether you choose to bring a sleek weekender bag, a practical backpacker’s backpack, or even a wheeled backpack, it all depends on what kind of traveler you are and what kind of trip this will be.

Another thing you need to decide before you start to pack is whether you’re flying carry-on only, checking a bag, or going overland.

It’s common to pair a trip to Toronto with cities like Montreal, nearby Niagara Falls, or even come from Ottawa to Toronto. So make sure to consider what you want to pack for other parts of your itinerary along with your time in Toronto.

If you travel by bus, train, or car, you can get away with a larger bag without paying more, but on flights, you typically need to plan ahead to avoid a checked bag fee.

Note that the type of bag you pick does not mean it will be small enough for a carry-on. You can get all three kinds of suitcases in versions small enough to travel as carry-on, but also there are versions large enough that they would have to be checked.

On my most recent trip to Toronto, I used a carry-on sized backpacker’s backpack. This was great, because you use a lot of public transportation in Toronto, and walking around with a backpack makes getting around easy.

See also
The 5 Best Things to Do in Banff National Park & Banff Town

Questions to Ask Yourself When Deciding on a Suitcase

  • How long is your trip?
  • Are you staying in your own room with a lock or a shared room?
  • Will you be staying at a hostel with a small locker?
  • How fast-paced is your itinerary?
  • Will you be traveling just to Toronto or will you move from city to city?
  • How prone are you to overpacking? Go smaller than your instincts if you know you never wear half of what you bring.


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

Weekender & Duffel Bag Recommendations

If you’re just coming to Toronto for a stylish weekend getaway, a small carry-on sized weekender bag will do the trick. This is kind of bag can handle road trips, train travel, buses, and is small enough to be the carry-on on flights. If you’re just going to be in town for a few days and want something sleek, I suggest using something like this leather duffel bag.


You can check prices and reviews here.

Backpack Recommendations

For my most recent trip to Toronto, I used my Bergans Skarstind 48 which is similar to this Bergans backpack. This backpack is easy to wear and distributes the weight evenly along my torso when I walk. It’s also small enough that I can easily wear it on metros without any hassle. This backpack is small enough to be a carry-on as long as I leave the top compartment empty. When I am not flying, I use this compartment and it adds about six inches of height to the bag.

Greece - Crete - Stephanie Luggage
This is the Bergens backpack (on the left) that’s my favorite travel backpack these days. It served me well in Toronto last summer.

For those unfamiliar with Bergans or who are loyal to the brand Osprey, 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).

If you’ve never backpacked with a real travel backpack, you may wonder what is different about it from a standard backpack or weekender bag. The main difference is that the weight is distributed so that it’s not a burden. Basically, you can put the same weight in all three types of bags, but the ergonomic design makes the backpacking bag MUCH easier and more pleasant to carry.

See also
27 of the Most Instagrammable Places in Montreal & Best Photo Spots

This is the bag I would recommend if you’re going to be traveling to a few different cities, will be using lots of public transportation, or will be carrying your bag up more than a few flights of stairs.

You can check prices and reviews here.


Roller Suitcase Recommendations

When I travel and check a bag, which I do from time to time, I opt for a larger roller suitcase. If you are going to bring a roller bag, I suggest getting a soft shell one that can squish. My personal roller suitcase is the awesome Osprey Sojourn. I took it to a trip to Ottawa to see Niagara Falls from the Canadian side, and it was great for the month-long road trip I took through Canada and the American Rustbelt and Midwest.

This bag is great for long-term travelers, heavy shoppers (it fit SO MANY ITALY SOUVENIRS, YOU GUYS), and chronic over-packers.

My dog napping in my Osprey suitcase
Lucy napping in my Osprey suitcase before we left a trip to Ottawa in 2016.

If you’re going to be on a lot of public transportation and need a roller bag, you will want a suitcase that can handle some abuse without getting damaged, which is why I love the fact that it’s got a soft shell. This bag has been crammed, pushed, squished, scratched, and jammed into the smallest and weirdest of cargo spaces around the world and still looks and works great.

You can check prices and reviews here.

What to Use During the Day?

Germany - Dresden - Stephanie Selfie
A great day bag makes it so much easier to sightsee all day with a smile on your face.

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, you’re going to want a reliable and safe day bag to carry around things like your camera and wallet. On days when you’re traveling, you need it to be organized, with quick access to your wallet, ID, and passport. I have two primary day bags that I use when I travel.

Features to Look for in a Reliable Travel Day Bag

  • In Toronto (and all large Canadian cities), you want something fashionable enough that the bag doesn’t scream “tourist”
  • You want safety features that protect you from the kinds of low-level crime targeted at tourists
  • Room for the specific tech you’re bringing like a laptop, tablet, camera, etc.
  • Comfortable to wear on long days sightseeing where you’ll be tired by the end of the day
  • Small enough to fit under an airplane seat if your main bag is a carry-on
  • Sized right for the kind of trip your taking
  • Collapsible if necessary
See also
25 Nifty Niagara Falls Puns for Niagara Falls Instagram Captions & Statuses


Day Bag Recommendations

After two and a half years of full-time travel, I’ve gone through a few different styles of day bags. I use mine daily, so I’m always on the hunt for the best one to fit my needs. Here are my three favorite kinds of personal travel bags:


Option 1: Safety First & Technology Friendly

For the past eight months, I’ve been using my new Pacsafe Citysafe laptop backpack as my primary travel day bag, It’s small enough to fit under the seat in front of me when flying or taking a bus.

Serbia - Belgrade - Day Bag Pacsafe
My favorite day bag of all time!

Things I love about the Pacsafe Citysafe that make it a great bag to pack for Toronto:

  • I can fit my camera in the main pocket and still have room for my laptop in the laptop pocket.
  • It has interlocking zippers which are great to avoid pickpockets in busy tourist areas where the petty thieves tend to target obvious foreigners. Toronto is a safe city to travel, but there’s still the kind of small crime targeted at tourists.
  • It has a pocket for your wallet and passport that has RFID protection so your credit cards can’t get scanned and your identity (and money) stolen.
  • It has side pockets for carrying my own reusable water bottle or when I buy a soda.
  • It’s a sleek black bag, which is perfect for Toronto since it won’t stick out when I carry it during the day and at night.

Pacsafe also makes smaller bags that look like traditional purses, but are packed with TONS of safety features. I especially like this Slim Crossbody if you want to find a small purse for your trip that still has anit-theft and RFID built in.

You can check prices and reviews for the Pacsafe Citysafe here. 

Option 2:  Sleek and Collapsible

On my most recent trip to Toronto, I went with my large Longchamp bag, which was the only day bag I ever used or needed for two years. Built specifically for travel, this bag rolls up completely, so I can store it away when necessary. However, it’s large enough to fit what I need to take out with me to explore a city for the day: wallet, camera, snacks, etc. It’s also durable and cute.

See also
The Strangely Competitive History of the CN Tower
Canada - Toronto -Luggage
For my most recent trip to Toronto, I brought my Bergen’s backpack and my Longchamp day bag.

I used my Longchamp bag almost every day for two years and it’s still going strong. This is also a great bag to roll up and bring just in case, whenever you want to have a more traditional-looking purse as opposed to a backpack. Because it’s collapsible, you can bring it on every trip and use it as needed.

You can check prices and reviews here.


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 and the middle pocket is large enough to fit my camera and work as a camera bag.

Wizz Air Carry On Only Airport Mirror Selfie
Taking a mirror selfie in Budapest with my carryon

This bag is great for someone looking for a reliable bag that can fit everything they need on a smaller budget.

You can check prices and reviews here.



How to Keep Your Bags Organized

Keeping your stuff organized on the road is always important. You need to be able to get in and out of your bag quickly at airports, bus stations, on the metro, etc. Organization is also a safety issue since you’re much less likely to get pickpocketed or lose your stuff if you always put it back in the same safe spot.

Bulgaria - Sofia - Packing before a trip
Only packing cubes can tame this mess!

Regardless of what kind of suitcase and day bag you go with, you’ll need smaller organizational bags to keep them in line. Here’s what I use on my trips:

  • Packing Cubes: I take 1-2 large packing cubes for clothes and 1 medium packing cube for underwear, bras, swimsuits, and pajamas.(I WILL NEVER TRAVEL WITHOUT PACKING CUBES AGAIN)
  • Small Cosmetic Bags: I have five small makeup bags that I use to keep different items together. Mine are organized into make-up and jewelry, wet toiletries, dry toiletries, medicine kit, and tech odds and ends.
  • Laundry Bag: I use the one that came with my packing cubes.
  • Coin Purse: Especially if you’re traveling internationally! There’s nothing worse than finding the equivalent in foreign coins as you pack up to leave, knowing that you’re basically throwing money away.
  • Canvas Tote Bag: Great for grocery shopping, quick errands, or lazy days.
  • Ziplock Bags: These babies are clutch! I take 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.
See also
The Perfect Itinerary for a Toronto Winter Getaway Weekend: How to Spend a Winter Weekend in Toronto

What to Wear in Toronto for Women

Here’s what women should pack for Toronto. In Toronto, the women dress chic, even when they’re dressed casually. In winter, clothing gets darker, but in summer you can wear dark or bright colors. The best Toronto travel clothes are one you feel comfortable in, with breathable fabrics that hang-dry well.

Canada - Toronto -Stephanie Bike Works
Always have a jacket with you in Toronto. Bring a light one for summer. This pic was taken mid-July.

This list assumes you will be in Toronto for a week. If you are there longer, have your clothes laundered or wash them yourself. If you are in Toronto for only the weekend or a few days, cut the list in half.

Clothes to Pack for Toronto in Summer, Spring, and Autumn

  • 3-4 shirts or blouses
  • 1 tank top
  • 1 tee shirt
  • 2-3 dresses (If you don’t wear dresses or skirts, then pack additional shirts and jeans to wear instead).
  • 2-3 pairs of leggings (optional). I love wearing leggings while traveling because I can wear a cute dress but still be very comfortable, and they’re great for layering because Toronto can be VERY chilly in the spring and autumn.
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 skirt (optional)
  • 1 sweater, cardigan, or kimono for light layering (I found that even in early April, I wanted to have layers because it was COLD).
  • 1 jacket (If traveling in spring or autumn, bring a jacket that can handle colder temperatures and rain. In summer, a light rain jacket will do the trick. I love to bring waterproof trench coats to Toronto because they look cute but are practical.).
  • 1 pajama top
  • 1 pajama bottoms (or use one of the leggings)
  • 1 swimsuit (Optional depending on weather and plans).
Greece - Crete - Stephanie Mirror Selfie
Weather can be tricky in Canada. This was a winter outfit in Crete but I wore the same exact outfit (with sandals) in summer in Toronto!


Shoes and Sandals

I travel with three pairs of shoes. When traveling in Toronto, I like to have two sturdy shoes good for exploring the city on long days, and one pair of comfortable slip-on jellies or sandals for when I’m back in my hotel room.

  • Comfortable Closed-Toed Walking Shoes (I use boots like these or like these. Pack hiking shoes if you’re planning on hiking or going up Mont Royal. Otherwise, any closed-toed shoes will work). Expect long days walking on pavement or cobblestones. At the end of everyday sightseeing, my feet were completely beaten up.
  • 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).
See also
13 Steps to Flawlessly Planning a Trip to Canada

Underwear and 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 your needs. There’s a good rule of thumb for underwear: one for every day of your trip plus one extra.
  • 1-2 bras: self-explanatory
  • 1-2 bralettes: this is something I added in this year, and I’m obsessed with them. They’re basically super comfortable like a lightweight sports bra. If you have larger breasts, and you want to be able to relax at your hotel or hostel without feeling like you’re dressed inappropriately, add a couple of bralettes to your suitcase.
  • 7-8 pairs of socks: Even in the summer where I’d normally want to wear sandals more often, I find myself needing to wear socks and boots in the cities. Combining walking tours, long days sightseeing, with using public transportation, and I find that I need extra support, and therefore the extra socks.

Jewelry and 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.
  • Sunglasses (regular or prescription if required). You’ll be outside in Toronto more than you expect.
  • 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)

What to Wear in Toronto in Winter for Women

Toronto is just lovely in winter, but you have to dress for it, otherwise, you won’t have a good time. It’s crucial you bring the right clothes (or expect to spend time shopping for them). Toronto in winter is cold AF.

Here’s what you need to stay warm in a country where you’ll frequently be outdoors on public transit, even in winter.

  • A Winter Coat: You need that can handle the cold like this North Face parka. I found that my leather jacket and jean jacket were perfect for autumn, but they were not good enough for spending hours outside in the Christmas markets and beer tours I went on towards the end of the month.
  • Thermal Layers: This ultra lightweight down layer is my new #packinggoals. I don’t own one, but my friend Allison does and she wore hers while we were stuck at a Serbian bus stop in the cold early morning. I was so jealous, and this is on my future packing lists for anywhere I go that’s cold. It’s great because you can wear it on its own when you need a quick layer of warmth, but you can also wear it under your coat when it’s really cold outside.
  • Shoes: Upgrade your regular city boots to a waterproof version.
  • Socks: Upgrade your socks to thick, warm wool socks.
  • Gloves: In Toronto, you’ll be doing a lot of navigating on your smartphone, especially when you need to use public transit. I found it incredibly annoying to have to take my gloves off every few minutes, so I upgraded to tech-friendly gloves like these. They’re also clutch for using your phone to take pictures.
  • Winter Scarf: You want a thick knit scarf that you can pull up and cover your face when necessary
  • Leggings: You’ll want to be covered from head to toe when you’re outside. Regular leggings are great for late autumn, but for winter swap them for leggings that are lined with fleece for extra warmth. You can wear them under dresses or even slip them under your jeans.
  • Hat: A fleece-lined knit cap will keep you warm, and you’ll fit right in with the locals.
See also
The Ultimate Montreal Packing List for Women & Men (Including Winter!)

What to Wear in Toronto for Men

Just like the women’s packing list, men will want to wear simple, sophisticated clothes to fit in. Dark colors are the best for winter, but any color palette is fine the rest of the year. I’m assuming a one-week trip. Halve it if you’re only going to be in Toronto for a few days. If you’ll be there longer than one week, plan to do laundry and wear your clothes again.

Canada - Toronto - Man - Pixabay

Clothes to Pack for Toronto in Summer, Spring, and Autumn

  • 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 city)
  • 1 jacket that can handle the rain. In spring and summer, this should also be something to keep you warm. In summer, a light rain jacket will do.
  • 1 tee shirt and shorts for sleeping
  • 1 pair of swim trunks (optional depending on weather and plans)

Shoes and Sandals

  • 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).


Underwear & Socks

  • 7-8 pairs of underwear
  • 7-8 pairs of socks

Jewelry & Accessories

  • Sunglasses (regular or prescription if required)
  • Watch (optional)
  • Any personal jewelry
Canada - Toronto - Snow - Pixabay

What to Wear in Toronto in Winter for Men

Similar to the list above for women, men traveling to Toronto in winter will want to prepare to be outside more than you would be at home. Between outdoor sightseeing and public transportation, it’s vital that you be prepared to be outdoors in the cold.

  • A Winter Coat: You need that can handle the cold like this North Face parka. I found that my leather jacket and jean jacket were perfect for autumn, but they were not good enough for spending hours outside exploring.
  • Wool Baselayer: You’ll want an extra boost of warmth under your shirt as a wool baselayer.
  • Shoes: Upgrade your regular city boots to a waterproof version.
  • Socks: Upgrade your socks to thick, warm wool socks.
  • Gloves: In Toronto, you’ll be doing a lot of navigating on your smartphone, especially when you need to use public transit. I found it incredibly annoying to have to take my gloves off every few minutes, so I upgraded to tech-friendly gloves like these. They’re also clutch for using your phone to take pictures.
  • Winter Scarf: You want a thick knit scarf that you can pull up and cover your face when necessary
  • Hat: A fleece-lined knit cap will keep you warm, and you’ll fit right in with the locals.
See also
10 Essential Niagara Falls Tips: Everything You Need to Plan Your Trip!

Toiletries and Skincare

Not every one of these applies to every person, but here’s a general list of what I always take with me. Remember that if you’re flying carry-on only, you’ll need to bring any liquids in travel sized bottles that fit into a clear, ziplock bag. The limit for carry-on liquids is 3.4oz (100ml).

Haircare & Bathing

  • Travel-sized shampoo and conditioner. Some people swear by solid shampoo, but I just refill the same travel size bottles.
  • Dry Shampoo for the days when you really, really don’t want to shower.
  • Small hairbrush
  • Travel-sized hair dryer with North American plug (I’ve blown multiple hair dryers trying to use voltage converters. I’ve given up and only travel with a hairdryer with North American plugs in North American and European plugs while in Europe).
  • Hair products specific to your hair type
  • Soap
  • Razor
  • Shaving Cream (optional)
  • Nair or Veet (for when I get lazy)


  • Sunscreen
  • Moisturizer (travel is brutal on your skin). A moisturizer with SPF is awesome but is not a substitute for sunscreen since you’ll be outside so much.
  • Night Cream to help your skin recover
  • Body lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Vaseline. Here’s why you should always pack vaseline!
Canada - Toronto - Skyline Canva
Bring sunscreen if you’re going to be outside a ton!


Dental Care

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss


  • Contacts, contacts case, and solution (if needed)
  • Glasses and prescription sunglasses (if needed)


Best Microfiber Towel for Travel


  • 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.
  • Tissues, Toilet Paper, or Kleenex
  • Travel Sized Hand Sanitizer for all those days on public transit.
  • Nail File
  • Nail Clippers
  • Tweezers (2 pairs. One for my makeup kit and one for my toiletries kit).
  • Laundry Detergent Powder (For those going more than a week. 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.
See also
101 Wonderful Quotes about Canada & Canada Instagram Caption Inspiration


Medicine Kit

Over the counter medication from pharmacies is pretty easy to find in Canada, so you don’t need a huge, all-disasters-covered style medicine kit. However, there are a few things you’ll want to have with you. A basic kit will include:

  • Your prescriptions
  • Anything you take weekly (for me this would be things like antacids).
  • Any vitamins you take regularly.
  • Your OTC pain pills 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). Yes, I listed this twice on this packing list. Vaseline is THAT important.
  • If you’re flying transatlantic or anticipate jetlag or sleep issues, I love having melatonin with me on every trip.

Technology and Accessories

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

  • Laptop (I use a MacBook Air)
  • Laptop Charger
  • Laptop Cover (I have a navy blue one similar to this)
  • Smart Phone (I use a Samsung8, which I love. If you want to pick up a sim card while in Germany, make sure you have an unlocked phone. Your cell company can unlock it ahead of your trip if it’s not already).
  • Phone Cover (An OtterBox is basically like carrying your phone around in a pillow).
  • Headphones. This is especially important since you’ll be on so much public transit.
  • Phone Charger (I used this phone charging cable)
  • Backup Charging Bank
  • DSLR or Camera (I use my Nikon D810)
  • Spare Camera Battery (I use this spare Nikon Battery that goes with my camera)
  • Camera Battery Charger (This is the one that goes with my Nikon)
  • SD Cards (I recommend having a primary and a backup at a minimum).
  • Dropbox Account for Backing Up Photos
  • Two Universal Outlet Adapters with USB Ports (if coming from outside of North America). Canada uses the same outlets as the rest of North America. If you are coming from Europe, do not try to use your appliances unless they also can handle 110V.
  • Kindle Paperwhite for reading without having to haul around books
  • Kindle Cover (Mine is like this one, but there are lots of options).
  • DJI Osmo Cell Phone Gimbal for shooting video. (Not for everyone, obviously, but if you want to make videos on your trip, this gimbal changed my life).
See also
101 Wonderful Quotes about Canada & Canada Instagram Caption Inspiration
Don’t forget your passport if coming to Toronto from abroad. Even Americans need their passport to cross into Canada.

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 Canada, you will have to have this. It’s also handy for ID checks when you don’t want to keep your passport with you at all times).
  • 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 Berlin or climbing or hiking in the parks.  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 when traveling to large cities where tourists are the targets of petty theft. 

Click here to get a quote for insurance coverage for your trip. 



  • The Lonely Planet Canada guidebook for your trip. I used a Kindle version during my first few trips to Canada. If you don’t like carrying paper guidebooks, grab the Kindle version so you always have it with you.
  • Is there an author as synonymous with Ottawa as Alice Munroe? Dear Life is my favorite of her short story collections, but you really can’t go wrong with any of this Nobel Laureate’s books.
  • If you want a novel instead of a series of short stories, check out Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin opens dramatically in one of Toronto’s ravines.
  • For those who want a historical overview of the city before arriving (or to read at a Toronto cafe while you’re there) grab Toronto: Biography of a City covers four centuries of Toronto history is a literary (read: not dry) style that’s perfect for those who enjoy their non-fiction to still be thrilling.
See also
10 Essential Niagara Falls Tips: Everything You Need to Plan Your Trip!
The photography apps I use now
Prep your phone ahead of time with these recommended apps!

Apps for Visiting Toronto

Have these loaded up on your smartphone before you get here to make your trip easier!

  • Uber for getting a taxi easily.
  • Google Translate if you don’t speak English.
  • Google Maps (Download the map before you go 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.
  • The mobile apps for any bus companies or trains you know you’ll be traveling on.
  • TripIt for organizing flights, hotel accommodations, and tickets.

What to Pack for Staying in Hostels

Planning to stay in a hostel? Here are the items you’ll want to bring to Toronto for staying in hostels or other shared accommodations:

  • 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: You’ll need this for your locker at most hostels.
  • BYO Privacy:  Bring a Sleep Mask and Earplugs if you’re a light sleeper to block out the other hostel guests.
See also
27 of the Most Instagrammable Places in Montreal & Best Photo Spots

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

If you are going to be staying with someone or interacting with anyone in Toronto 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 or city, 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.

Toronto Travel Resources

Headed to Toronto? Check out:

Have you traveled to Toronto or are you researching an upcoming trip and wondering what to pack? Leave your best Toronto packing tips and any questions below!

Pin This For Your Trip to Toronto

What to Pack for Toronto. A Toronto packing list with what to wear in Toronto for women and men.

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