Going on a yoga retreat is a new adventure and also a great opportunity to immerse yourself in spiritual activities. You know you’ll spend time practicing yoga, meditation and explore new places with like-minded people – but, what should you pack for a yoga retreat?
There are some essential items you need to bring along, other than the obvious yoga pants and passport. With a little planning, packing for a yoga retreat can be light and easy.
Before you sit on your suitcase in a hopeful attempt to close the zip, read on to find out everything you’ll need to pack to make the most of your yoga retreat.
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What to pack for a yoga retreat: the ultimate packing list
Once you’ve signed up for your retreat, you might receive a recommended packing list from the organizer. But, if you don’t receive any, check the weather of your destination country so you can pack accordingly.
Also, consider your flight’s baggage allowance. Not all airlines have the same regulations. In fact, we recommend going to your retreat with a carry on only. Traveling light will make your journey easier.
Always start packing with your traveling essentials, or the items you should definitely not forget.
Passport: If you’re going on a retreat abroad, your passport is the item you need to make sure you’ve got before leaving your house. Make sure it is valid for at least another 6 months.
Visa: If you’re traveling to a country where you need a visa, it’s important to keep multiple copies with you. Print it, save it on your phone and keep it in your emails.
Flight ticket: We always keep our plane tickets on our phones, but you can also pick it up directly at the airport when you do your check-in.
Money: Always carry some cash in the local currency with you. You might need it to buy drinks, extra activities or to tip. If you want to change money before your departure you can go to the bank. Otherwise, you can always change money at the airport but the fees are usually higher.
Travel insurance: We never go anywhere without travel insurance. if you’re going on a retreat abroad, you definitely need to get travel insurance to cover lost luggage, travel risks, or unexpected medical costs you could have. We always use and recommend World Nomads.
We all have a tendency to overpack. But you won’t need as much as you think on a yoga retreat. Here is what you’ll really need.
Underwear: Bring a pair of underwear for each day plus an extra pair just in case.
Socks: Pack a pair of socks for each day. And an extra pair in case you go hiking, or for evening meditation sessions.
Sports bras: Depending on how long you’re staying, you’ll want to pack one sports bra for every two days. Most people hang around in their yoga clothing at yoga retreats, so you don’t really need to bring more than one regular bra.
Sweatpants: Comfortable clothes for meditation sessions are essential. Pack at least one pair of sweatpants.
Yoga pants: Take your most comfortable pairs. You can easily wear your yoga pants a couple of times before washing them. So, you don’t need to take every single pair of legging you own.
Lightweight tops: Small and easy to carry, lightweight tops are the best. You can pack one for each day of the retreat.
Cardigan or hoodie: An extra layer for early morning practice or cooler nights is definitely important. Your body temperature will go up and down during your yoga retreat. Even if you’re going to a tropical destination, you should bring at least one cardigan.
Pareo: A pareo can be used as a shawl, scarf, or blanket for meditation. This versatile accessory is definitely an item you should pack for a yoga retreat.
Swimsuit: If your yoga retreat is near a beach, has a pool or spa facilities you can enjoy, you’ll need a bathing suit. Plus, there’s nothing better than a dip in a pool to cool off after a day of stretching.
Sun hat: Everybody loves sunshine, but no one wants to spend their holiday looking like a lobster. So, bring a sun hat to protect your skin and eyes from ultraviolet rays.
Sunglasses: In case you’re practicing yoga outside, it’s good to have sunglasses with you. This way you can pay attention to your yoga class without getting blinded by the sun. We suggest getting athletic sunglasses so that they don’t slip off your face while practicing yoga.
Rain layer: Depending on where you go, you might want to pack a lightweight rain jacket. You wouldn’t want to be caught in a rainstorm without any waterproof clothes.
Flip flops: Easy to put on and to remove, flip flops are a must-have. Especially if you’re sharing bathrooms, or heading to a tropical destination.
Walking shoes: In case you want to go hiking or running. Bring comfortable and sturdy active shoes with you.
Casual clothes: Evening dinners are opportunities to dress nicely at yoga retreats. Bring a few casual clothes such as dresses, shorts, and tops. Don’t bring your entire wardrobe though.
Some yoga retreats provide basic toiletries, but some don’t. To make sure you don’t forget anything, you can ask the organizer of the retreat what’s included.
Shampoo, conditioner, and body wash: If they are not provided, take travel-size shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.
Toothbrush and toothpaste: We put our toothpaste in a small reusable bottle to avoid buying mini toothpaste tubes (and use less plastic).
First aid kit: If you don’t want to carry an entire first aid kit, take at least some pain relief tablets, antiseptic, and band-aids with you.
Deodorant: Try a natural deodorant. Native is one of the best out there.
Hairbrush: Pack a folding hairbrush to gain space. And take hair ties too.
Sanitary items: There is nothing worse than being stuck in a foreign country without any sanitary items. Keep in mind tampons are hard to find in some countries, so make sure to pack some before you go.
Below, you’ll find a list of miscellaneous items we always take with us to yoga retreats. Depending on where you go, you might not need everything that’s on the list, so pack accordingly.
Camera: Most yoga retreats are located in wonderful places. So, bring your camera with you to take beautiful pictures, and create amazing memories.
Phone charger: Hopefully you won’t be using your phone too much during your retreat, but we all know it’s hard to live without it. So, don’t forget your phone charger, especially if you’re using your phone to take pictures.
International adapter: If you’re going on a yoga retreat abroad, don’t forget to bring an adapter. You can easily get one on Amazon before you go, or directly at the airport when you arrive in your destination country.
Book or Kindle: Reading a book is a great way to relax at a yoga retreat. If you have enough space in your luggage, you can take a paper book. But if you want to travel light, get a kindle. It allows you to travel with many books without having to carry the weight.
Journal and pen: A yoga retreat is usually a life-changing experience. You might want to write down your experience or your thoughts in a journal while you are there.
Waterproof pouch: If your retreat has water activities planned, we suggest you get a phone dry bag. If you drop your phone in the swimming pool or in the water while you are discovering the area, the dry bag will protect it.
Sunscreen: Protecting your skin from the sun is essential. You wouldn’t want to get a sunburn on day one. We always recommend using Sun Bum, an eco-friendly and reef-safe sunscreen.
Reusable bottle: Traveling with a reusable water bottle is the best way to minimize your plastic waste. We suggest you invest in a high-quality bottle that won’t leak in your day pack.
Bug repellent: Use a DEET-free bug repellent, it’s better for the planet and for you. If you don’t want to spray your body with bug repellent, you can get insect repellent wipes.
Day pack: Many yoga retreats offer extra activities outside of the property. You’ll need a day pack to carry your phone, water, and snacks. Plus, it’s a travel essential that can be easily compressed into your luggage.
Healthy snacks: Bring trail mix, snack bars, some seeds, and nuts for your snacks.
Earplugs and eye mask: Ensure yourself a high-quality sleep with an eye mask and earplugs. You’ll be more than happy to wear earplugs if you share your room with a snorer.
Yoga retreats usually provide yoga mats, pillows for meditation, and some yoga props. But, most of the time, the material provided is overused and can carry bacteria. If you prefer carrying your own yoga essentials, check out the list below.
Yoga mat: Having your own yoga mat with you is a must when you go on a yoga retreat. Most yoga mats provided at retreats are old and overused. Bring your own lightweight mat to avoid contact with germs and odors that can be found on other mats.
Small towel: Putting a small towel over your yoga mat is a good way to avoid slipping while practicing yoga. Especially if you tend to sweat a lot.
Yoga mat spray cleaner: Keep your yoga mat fresh and clean with a yoga mat spray cleaner. You can find cleaners made of natural and organic ingredients so that you won’t have to worry about chemicals sinking into your skin.
Self-massage balls: If you are not used to practicing a lot of yoga, you might need to bring self-massage balls. Your muscles could get tight from over-practicing, and you could end up in pain. Self-massage balls allow you to work on tight muscle tissues. With the right amount of pressure, they can be as effective as a therapist’s elbow.
Non-slip yoga gloves and socks: We suggest getting a pair of yoga gloves and socks to maximize your yoga practice. Non-slip yoga gloves help you increase balance and stability during your practice.
Yoga straps: If you are a beginner or you have mobility issues, we highly recommend you invest in yoga straps. These are used for stretching, and help you achieve a wider range of motion. Plus, they are light and can be easily packed in your luggage.
What not to pack for a yoga retreat
Yoga retreats offer the chance to destress and unplug from everyday life. Going on retreat is like pressing the pause button and giving yourself the opportunity to reset your body and your mind. So, you should leave at home everything that doesn’t inspire you relaxation.
Makeup: Yoga retreats are the best time to embrace your natural beauty. I personally don’t wear any makeup at yoga retreats, but if you can’t go without, take some mascara and BB cream.
High heels: You definitely won’t need high heels on a retreat. You’ll be wearing flip-flops or walking shoes most of the time.
Perfume: Wearing strong perfume can be disturbing to other participants in your yoga class. So, stick to deodorant and avoid wearing perfume.
Jeans: Unless you plan on going out, you shouldn’t really need jeans. Only pack comfortable clothes.
Hair straightener: Like your makeup, your hair straightener is definitely something you can leave at home.
Laptop: If you use your laptop for work, we definitely recommend leaving it at home. We know, it’s hard! But disconnecting is one of the best ways to truly unwind and make the most of your retreat.
Packing for a yoga retreat doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Whether you’re going on a retreat in Bali or Costa Rica, you can use our list to pack your bags like a pro.
Pack light to make your journey easier, and bring only the essentials. If you can take only a carry-on bag, that’s even better.
We hope our packing list will help you plan a successful yoga retreat. What do you pack for a yoga retreat? Let us know in the comments below!