This female packing list for San Francisco is brought to you by Caroline. See all packing list posts here.
San Francisco is a must-visit destination for overseas and domestic travelers alike, for sites like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and Lombard Street. The food is enough to make anyone want to stay, from the fresh seafood to various ethnic fares.
Travelers who have never been to San Francisco might imagine it to be like the rest of California: warm and sunny year-round. But think again. Since San Francisco is located on the bay, it gets brutal wind that keeps temperatures low, despite sunny days. I assumed I could wear shorts and dresses in June, which turned out to be a big mistake. San Franciscans have a more dressed-up style, so you might prefer to look professional.
2 long sleeved shirts – Solid colored shirts usually do best so you can mix and match.
1 sweater – I wished I had a chunky sweater to keep me warm during my trip.
1 pair of jeans – Make sure they’re a nice pair, dark wash and no holes.
1 pair of black pants – Jeans aren’t always appropriate, so it’s good to have a backup.
1 pair of leggings – Leggings are my favorite travel accessory, particularly under a thick sweater or on long plane rides.
1 light jacket – The bay breeze can sneak up on you even when the sun is out, so have a light jacket you can throw in your purse.
1 scarf or pashmina – As with the jacket, you may get cold very suddenly and a scarf is ideal for this purpose.
1 cardigan – Dress up your solid colored shirts for a night out.
2 bras – One nude and one black should be sufficient, unless you are doing major hiking, in which case I might throw in one sports bra.
3 pairs of underwear – ExOfficio is the way to go! They look cute and are functional.
2 pairs of socks – I swear by my Smartwool socks!
1 pair of comfortable shoes for walking – I rarely took public transportation in San Francisco and instead walked mostly uphill! Your feet will thank you for packing comfortable shoes.
1 pair of basic flats – For a night out it’s best to have something a little dressier.
1 pair of boots – Ankle boots are the best of both worlds, keeping your feet warm and looking stylish.
Travel-sized shampoo and conditioner – Keep your hair clean before it gets damaged by the wind!
Soap or body wash – Whichever you choose, make sure it smells nice. I always pack Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps for their multifunctional abilities.
Diva Cup – Don’t let your time of the month weigh down your trip.
Toothbrush and toothpaste – I recommend Lush’s solid toothpaste as a unique alternative to the tube.
Hairbrush and hair ties – I kept my hair pulled back for most of the trip, but I was glad to have a hairbrush ready to pull the tangles out.
Protection from the Elements
1 hat – If nothing else, pack any sort of hat to keep your hair from getting too unruly.
1 windbreaker – If you’re planning a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, a windbreaker will be useful.
1 umbrella – Rain can appear out of nowhere so pack a travel-sized umbrella.
1 pair of sunglasses – Keep your eyes safe, even if it’s not summertime.
Sunscreen – I got sunburned even though it wasn’t warm. You can never be too careful.
iPod – Keep yourself entertained on flights and bus rides.
iPhone – There are a number of great iPhone apps for San Francisco, namely the MUNI public transportation app, Kayak, Afar, Scoutmob and Hipmunk.
Adapters and chargers – If you’re traveling from abroad, don’t forget your adapters.
Wine rollup – I tested out this product when I brought back a bottle of wine from Napa Valley without breaking it!
Eye mask and ear plugs – Travel essentials for any destination. Always good to have a few items that help you sleep.