The first time I packed for Austin, I (despite all the warnings) refused to take into account the “Keep Austin Weird” slogan.
“I know what I’m doing,” I grumbled. “I don’t want to overpack.”
Ah, Austin. How incredibly humbling you are.
My former Austin packing list, which consisted of lace t-shirts, skinny jeans, and branded running shoes was uninspiring, ho-hum, and completely un-Austin in every sense possible.
Luckily, I’ve scrapped it (and erased all remnants). In fact, I have a new and improved (said in a Billy Mays voice) packing list that has worked on every trip since then.
So if you are worried about your Austin trip, breath. Don’t stress. Austin is wildly weird but wonderful.
Without further ado, here all my tips on what to pack for Austin, Texas.
Side note, this is by no means a “perfect” packing list. Feel free to modify any of the items to adapt to your travel needs.
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Austin Packing List Essentials
- Student Id: As a twenty-something-year-old, I love the college-city vibe of Austin. I love the student discounts even more. Half-off museum admission? Yes, please!
- Dry-bag: Since the Austin area is filled with cozy swimming holes, from Barton Springs to Hamilton Pool, I knew I had to bring a dry bag.
- Sunscreen: It’s Texas, it’s hot. Need I say more? I swear by Beauty by the Earth sunscreen.
- Binoculars: Okay, I know this sounds touristy. I know this is touristy. But from March to October, thousands of bats eerily rise from beneath Congress Bridge. I just had to get a closer look.
- Sandals/Sneakers/Socks: While sneakers and socks are still my go-to, a cute pair of Dr.Martens in Austin is much more commonplace. I also tossed in a pair of gladiator sandals.
- Toiletries: I almost always skip out on packing toiletries (since hotels usually provide them). I did pack a toothbrush, one small tube of toothpaste, an all-too-pink comb, a mini-first aid kit, and several contact lenses into a thrift store pouch.
Outfits To Pack For Austin
- Grunge Concert Shirt: Nothing says Austin like a concert t-shirt. A music mania, Austin is all about the tunes. I packed two concert t-shirts. The first had the words Grateful Dead printed above a skull-shaped rose. The other was a dark gray Pink Floyd shirt with grayscale scenes from the band’s early concerts printed on the front. Urban Outfitters always carries such a cute selection of concert tees.
- Faux Leather Skirt: I paired my t-shirts with a faux leather skirt and fringe purse (which I borrowed from a friend) for a sassy look.
- Bodycon Dress: Even though I didn’t go to a single one, Austin has so many clubs that I decided to bring a club dress. With a mesh print concealing a v-neck, the dress wasn’t something I would normally wear to a park. But I did. Keep Austin weird? Am I right?
- Romper: I packed a frilled and flirty romper for casual day trips. I ended up wearing this in Fredericksburg and Wimberly (I also threw on a white cover-up).
- Fringe Jacket: Since it was colder, I packed a yellow fringe jacket. Yes, I know, this is not the most practical winter coat. But in Austin, cold isn’t really cold so it works.
- Raincoat: I always expect the weatherman, weather.com, and the iPhone weather app to be wrong.
- Tank Tops/Track Pants: Shamefully, I didn’t bring these for running. No, I love the elastic band in track pants because I feel comfortable enough to eat all the Southern barbecue. Also, if you’re planning on gorging on food truck tacos and lip-smacking ribs, don’t bring a white tank top. I buy all my camis from Forever 21. Random side note, is it just me or does this model look like a member of the Olsen family?
- Dress Shirt/Pants: I brought a cute dress shirt (which I totally stole from my mum) and pants for upscale dinner outings, art gallery walks, and vegan brunches.
What To Pack For Austin, Texas (Miscellaneous)
- Earrings: My mum makes and designs all the gorgeous earrings I wear. I store them in a necklace box that I always pack when I travel.
- Glasses: To complete the Austin look, I swapped my contacts for some hipster glasses (during most of my trip).
- Beanie: Nothing says winter (or summer) in Austin like a beanie. So I packed my gray Love Your Melon beanie.
- Chapstick: At this point, I think applying Burt’s Bees Pomegranate Lip Balm is just a part of my general travel makeup routine .
- Electronics: I packed my phone, (no laptop for once), and bundled all the chargers (camera and phone) together. I also packed some headphones.
- Camera Gear: Last but not least, I packed all my camera gear. I brought a Canon EOS Rebel 3ti DSLR camera with an 18-55 mm lens. Canon is no longer manufacturing this model, but if you are interested in professional photography, I highly recommend a DSLR.
And that is everything I packed during my most recent Austin trip. I received so much positive feedback on my previous “Pack With Me” posts that I’ve decided to turn these lists into a little series. Where should the next location be?
Did you enjoy this post on what to pack for Austin, Texas? What would you include in your Austin packing list? Let me know in the comments below!
DanielNovember 5, 2018 at 3:15 AM
You seem to have covered the most important things for an Austin trip. The Keep Austin Weird” slogan is so true. Thanks for sharing all these useful suggestions.
anshula.varmaNovember 7, 2018 at 12:32 PM
Aww…thanks, Daniel! Austin is definitely a weird city! xx – Anshula
amar singhNovember 5, 2018 at 8:39 AM
A great post and even though I did not know much about Austin reading this post has given me a great idea of what to expect and what to pack. You have covered these in detail. Dry-bag a good shout when you know Austin area is filled with swimming holes. Camera gear and the right charging devices are a must asw ell. Thanks for these top tips
anshula.varmaNovember 7, 2018 at 12:33 PM
Thanks for commenting, Amar! I was surprised by how many swimming holes there are in Austin. xx – Anshula
YuktiNovember 5, 2018 at 11:03 AM
Austin seems an interesting place to visit. Thanks for sharing great tips on what to pack, especially raincoat and first aid kit, as they are very useful. It is so nice that your mom designs earrings and you wear them, I would love to see them. The camera is the first thing I pack for my long or short travels.
anshula.varmaNovember 7, 2018 at 12:34 PM
Thanks! I think I have some other posts that do more justice to the earrings my mum designs! xx – Anshula
Kavita FavelleNovember 5, 2018 at 11:03 AM
I loved learning about this Keep Austin Weird thing, how fun and quirky is that? It was fun to read your post about what to pack keeping that in your mind at all times! Great idea on the extras like the dry bag and clubbing outfit!
anshula.varmaNovember 7, 2018 at 12:35 PM
Haha! Thanks! I definitely didn’t go clubbing but you know, one outfit for the Austin vibe doesn’t hurt….xx – Anshula
LisaNovember 5, 2018 at 3:53 PM
This is such a fun packing list for Austin! I’ve never been there when I’ve travelled to the US. I like the sound of a beanie in summer, as well as in winter. I’ll remember this list for when I do travel to Austin the next time.
AnnickNovember 5, 2018 at 7:23 PM
Austin is so laid back that this list is great. There are so many parks and watering holes that it is a good point to bring swim attire with you. I also like your minimalist toiletries – I always bring too much. Time for me to go back!
anshula.varmaNovember 7, 2018 at 12:36 PM
Austin is a very laid back city! I think half of that has to do with the huge student population! xx – Anshula
SinjanaNovember 5, 2018 at 10:17 PM
I must say i miss my twenties, especially when i hear about those discounts to museum entry!! I love your selection of attires , they all look great on you. I also liked the sneak peek into Austin’s vibes through this story. somehow I feel a similarity with the university vibes of Antwerp.
ValNovember 6, 2018 at 2:38 PM
This post is a great reminder of all the important things to carry on a trip, I love it! Sadly no Student Id anymore for me 😛