12 items to pack for your next trip to New York City - according to someone who recently moved here

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NYC Packing list 4x3Alyssa Powell/Business Insider

  • New York City welcomes over 65 million visitors every year, making it one of the world's most popular travel destinations.
  • Though the city is full of beautiful sights and fun things to do, there are plenty of unexpected situations that can get in the way of a seamless vacation.
  • To help you prepare to make the most of your trip and circumvent the avoidable hiccups, we created a packing list of 12 helpful items to bring with you on your next visit to NYC.

In most movies, New York City is portrayed as a place full of glamorous people, beautiful park scenes, and picturesque skyscrapers. The movies don't lie, but what they fail to point out is that The Big Apple can come with some ... difficulties.

Prior to making the move from Colorado to NYC, I had the same romanticized expectations as the 65 million travelers that ventured here in 2018. After getting lost with a dead phone battery, going through a box of band aids thanks to painful blisters, and barely avoiding the stampede of busy subway goers, I realized that not everything was as effortless as the movies made it out to be.

Avoiding these struggles entirely might not be totally realistic, but there are surefire ways to ensure that these small issues don't grow into larger problems that will ruin your trip. Come prepared with things like a change purse so you can easily act on your jumbo pretzel craving, or a nifty pocket hand sanitizer for sticky subway situations. There's no saying whether or not you'll run into too many unexpected annoyances, but you'll feel much better knowing that you've come to the city prepared.

We compiled a list of 12 items to add to your packing list if you're planning a trip to New York City. Our recommendations are based on all the possible hiccups you may face, offering preventative measures to keep your trip running smoothly.

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An easily accessible fanny pack

An easily accessible fanny pack
Dagne Dover Ace Fanny Pack, $85, available at Dagne Dover

Lugging around a bulky bag is the last thing you want to deal with when traveling through NYC. A fanny pack like this one from Dagne Dover provides easy access to essential items like lip balm, hand sanitizer, cash, and subway cards without anything unnecessary getting in the way.

A packable rain coat

A packable rain coat
Joules Packable Waterproof Rain Coat, from $36.10, available at Amazon

Checking the weather app on your phone is a good way to get a general idea of what the forecast looks like for your trip. Unfortunately, NYC weather is extremely temperamental (especially during the spring) which is why a lightweight, packable jacket should be on your list of wardrobe essentials. This one is super affordable on Amazon, plus it comes in 40 colors and patterns to fit any style. It also made our list of the best women's raincoats of 2019.

A water "bottle" that can roll to fit in your pocket

A water "bottle" that can roll to fit in your pocket
Vapur Flexible Water Bottle, from $9.95, available at Amazon

If you're visiting NYC, walking is a given. With walking comes dehydration, and buying a water bottle at one of those little bodegas can get pretty expensive (not to mention very wasteful). The Vapur "bottle" is perfect for traveling or running around town because it's collapsible, fits easily in a bag, and can save you money for more important things like ice cream in Central Park. As a New York resident, I've learned the true value of having this convenient pouch on me regularly.

This multi-device portable charger

This multi-device portable charger
Jackery Portable Charger, $29.99, available at Amazon

Between snapping photos and bringing up the Maps app on your phone, you're going to lose battery life pretty quickly. This charger will ensure that the battery in your favorite gadget lasts all day. Malarie Gokey, Insider Picks Senior Editor, ranked this charger as the best battery pack overall, noting that it can provide two full charges to your phone before the pack needs to be recharged.

A petite change purse

A petite change purse
Bellroy Pocket Mini, $99, available at Bellroy

New York is known for its inexpensive produce booths and street food, but a lot of these stands only accept cash. Carry around a small change purse to avoid missing out on street snacks and food trucks. The Insider Picks team has tested multiple Bellroy products, and has consistently raved about the brand's quality and environmental focus.

These ready-to-use deodorant wipes

These ready-to-use deodorant wipes
Degree for Men Deodorant Wipes, $4.99, available at Target Degree for Women Deodorant Wipes, $4.99, available at Target

If you aren't sweating from running to catch the next train, then you are probably sweating fom the high levels of humidity during the warmer months in the city. These wipes will be your saving grace when you need to freshen up in the middle of the day.

A multi-pack of hand sanitizer

 A multi-pack of hand sanitizer
Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy Hand Sanitizer, $10.99, available at Amazon

NYC is full of bright lights, culture, and amazing food, but under the glitz and glam you'll find that the city is also pretty dirty. A pocket hand sanitizer is a convenient item to keep on you at all times — you'll thank me later.

An adhesive card holder for the back of your phone

An adhesive card holder for the back of your phone
PopSockets PopWallet, $20, available at PopSockets

I'm a firm believer that NYC locals aren't as rude as people make them out to be — but I will say that they will get flustered when you get in their way. To avoid holding up the turnstiles when you're going to take the subway, place this adhesive card holder on the back of your phone for speedy access to your MetroCard, ID, or credit card.

Pro tip: figure out what train you need to take before you go down into the subway system. There's not great cell service in the stations.

These flexible and breathable sneakers

These flexible and breathable sneakers
Suavs Zilker Sneaker, $95 Allbirds Sneakers, $95

Almost everything in the city is conveniently located as long as you are willing to walk. Though it may be tempting to bring your chic and fashion-forward pair of shoes, it's probably best to opt for sneakers like the Zilker sneakers from Suavs. Insider Picks Reporter, Mara Leighton was impressed by these shoes and thought that they were versatile, comfortable, and lightweight.

Alternatively, if you need a little extra arch support, try a pair of Allbirds. They're the same price, but offer slightly more cushioning. Read our review of the Tree runners here.

Bandages for blisters

Bandages for blisters
Band-Aid Hydro Seal Bandages for Heel Blisters, $3.97, available at Amazon

If you do end up wearing the wrong shoes and getting blisters, don't let them ruin your trip. These bandages are equipped with Hydrocolloid gel to heal your blisters and provide cushioning so that they don't get worse with further rubbing. Plus, it has a waterproof seal so it will stay on even with the high humidity levels.

A multi-purpose travel wallet

A multi-purpose travel wallet
Zoppen Multi-Purpose Travel Wallet, $13.99, available at Amazon

Instead of carrying around multiple bags or separating cards and cash among pockets, you might find it easier to pack everything into a travel wallet. This one will easily hold all your gift cards for shopping, your tickets to see the newest Broadway show, and a handy city guide. I love my Zoppen travel wallet and have purchased two — just in case my outfit calls for a color change.

This backpack filled with neatly organized packing cubes

This backpack filled with neatly organized packing cubes
Peak Design Travel Backpack, $299.95, available at Peak Design

The first step to experiencing NYC is actually getting there in the first place, which is where this travel backpack, full of resourceful travel cubes, comes in handy. David Slotnick, Senior Reporter at Insider Picks, was extremely impressed with the structure and incredibly efficient packing system of the backpack.

It'll make navigating to your hotel a lot easier than dragging a rolling bag, and will keep locals from hating you on the subway. Just make sure to take it off when you get onto the train so as not to take up two people's worth of space (trains get crowded quickly, especially at rush hour).

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