What to pack for the rainy season

What to pack for the rainy season

Are you traveling during the rainy season in Central America? Then you will be wondering what clothes in the rainy season you should pack? If you are thinking of traveling during the rainy season you will need to adapt your packing and add in a few extra things because of the weather.

Although many people may be put off traveling during the rainy season in Central America, it is actually a great time to travel you just need to know what to pack!

Central America has two seasons: Dry season (around November to April) and Wet (The Rainy) season (around May to October). This differs slightly depending on the country. Many people avoid traveling to Central America during the rainy season but if you don’t mind getting a bit wet it is a great time to visit.

I wrote a whole article on why you should travel to Central America in the rainy season that you can read here.

What To Wear in The rainy season

Synthetic Clothes

Cotton may be cooler but synthetic material dries quickly. Leave your jeans at home and pack some quick-drying pants and tops. That way when it does rain you will be dryer much quicker.

Fleece Jacket

This will keep you warm at night and not take up too much room.

Rainy season jacket – Rainproof Shell/ Poncho

I would advise getting a slightly longer one so that it covers almost to your knees, this will save you having to bother with waterproof pants. Make sure it’s lightweight and compact. Keep it on you at all times so you can put it on quickly if it does rain

Rainy Season Travel essentials

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Travel Insurance

First things first, you are going to need some solid insurance. If you don’t believe me then read this. I personally use SafetyWing Digital Nomads Insurance which is an ongoing policy that just renews each month. But before that, I used World Nomads who are the company I would highly recommend if you are backpacking.


Does anyone actually leave home without sunglasses? I personally always travel with 2 pairs. One for day to day use that I normally just throw in my bag. Then a second pair that are a bit nicer which I wear when I want to take some nice pics for the gram. I always get my sunglasses from Glassesshop or Knockaround as they are good quality, have UV protection, and are really reasonably priced.

Reusable Water Bottle

It’s not safe to drink the tap water in most of Central America. However, most places will have big filters so having a good reusable water bottle is essential in Central America so you can just fill up. 

Bug Spray

Trust me, traveling in the rainy season you are going to need a bucket full of bug spray! 

I suggest getting an eco-friendly one for your body and then getting something a little more aggressive like this to spray on your clothing.

An Umbrella

If you have the space pack an umbrella. This is especially relevant if you are going to be at a lower elevation as it will be hot and you might not want to put on a raincoat.

Rain jackets in the jungle guarantee you will sweat, so you get wet anyway.

Mini Microfiber Towel

I keep a small one attached to my day pack to wipe myself dry if I get caught out. Really handy to have and it doesn’t take up too any room in my bag.

Large Microfiber Towel

I love a fluffy towel as much as the next person but they take up space and they take too long to dry so swap your normal towel for a micro towel. I love this one by MinxNY and I take it everywhere with me.

Extra Quick-dry socks

If you are hiking your feet will get wet. Your hiking boots will get wet. Wet feet are no one’s friend. Make sure you pack 2-3 pairs of quick-drying socks, just in case!

Waterproof footwear

In the dry season, you might get away with flip-flops and sneakers. In the wet season, if you want to do anything adventurous, you are going to need waterproof hiking boots, hiking sandals, and some flip-flops (at least).

Top Tip: If your boots get wet make sure you pack a newspaper and stuff your boots with it. It will draw out the water quicker.


Luggage for The Rainy Season

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It’s totally up to you if you prefer a backpack or a suitcase. Personally, when traveling in Central America I would always opt for a backpack, especially during the rainy season. Dragging a suitcase through the flooded streets would not be fun!

Whatever you do though, make sure you are able to waterproof your backpack or case. More often than not they will put your bag on the roof of your transport. So if it rains, it will get wet. Normally they will cover the roof, but I wouldn’t take the chance. Don’t travel without a waterproof cover!

If you plan on covering a lot of ground then I would personally suggest a 65L backpack and a dry bag backpack as your main two bags. Then have a small daypack that can easily be packed when traveling. I’ve added images and links for the luggage I have tried and tested in Central America bellow. 

If security is a concern for you then I highly recommend getting in Pacsafe backpack for added security and peace of mind. I also wrote this blog post on the best digital nomad backpacks and this one about carry on luggage, just in case they are useful to you.

You are also going to need some packing cubes to help keep all of you things organized (and squeeze in a few extra items of clothing). Plus a good laundry bag, toiletry bag, and of course a shopping bag.

Other Useful Things to Pack for The Rainy season

Over the years backpacking the world I’ve got packing down to a fine art and I have some essential items in my backpack that you might not think of. So here are some things you are going to need that you might not think of!

Laundry Soap and a Nail Brush – Unless you want to be doing laundry every few days, it’s best to just wash out your underwater in the shower each night. To do this I always travel with a bar of laundry soap and a nail brush. It also comes in handy to clean off marks and stains from clothes you are washing.

A Travel Washing Line – I love mine, it’s so handy and takes up no room at all.

A Sewing Kit – When you are traveling sometimes you need to make-do-and-mend.

Mini First Aid Kit – Goes without saying really! I also add in some extras like activated charcoal and other useful pharmaceuticals. 

Carabiner clips –  So useful for attaching things to your backpack!

Head torch – Equally as useful for camping as it is for reading in bed, or trying to find your way home in the dark.

Ear Plugs – If you are planning on staying in hostels you are going to need these!

A Whistle – I know many people worry about safety and want to protect themselves. I like to carry a whistle just in case I need to pull attention. It might not be as effective as pepper spray, but as that is illegal to fly with too many countries, this is a good alternative.

A Door Stop – Worried about safety in your room at night? Use the doorstop to block the door from the inside and make it harder for someone to enter the room.

Silk Sleeping Bag Liner – Another thing that doesn’t take up so much room, but will give you a lot of peace of mind if you need it. Sometimes you might either find yourself chilly or just not wanting to sleep in the bedsheets. So hopping inside a sleeping bag liner helps you get a good night’s sleep, wherever you are…

Umbrella – If you are traveling somewhere tropical it’s likely to rain, but still be hot. Having an umbrella in your bag will keep you dry without making you feel like you will collapse from heat exhaustion!

A padlock – I recommend getting one of these locks so you don’t need to worry about keys. They are TSA approved so you can use them to lock your luggage when flying as well as using it to lock your locker at the hostel.

USD – I always keep an emergency $50 USD hidden somewhere, just in case. USD is the most widely accepted currency, but you will need to ensure the notes are clean and crisp. Many places won’t accept them if they are marked at all.

Quick-dry towel – I have 2, a large one and a small hand size one that I keep clipped to my backpack.

A sarong – I never travel anywhere without at lease 2 sarongs. I use them to replace my towel, hang over my bed in a hostel for privacy. Wrap around my hair when it’s wet, sunbathe on… I could go on and on. I even make a dress out of mine when I’m at the beach.

A scarf – Another multi-use item that doesn’t take up much room. Scarfs are great for covering shoulders from the sun, or when entering churches. It will also help keep you warm, and they look cute!

Yoga Mat – I never travel without my yoga mat. I wrote a whole post to help you choose the best travel yoga mat here.

Spice Bag – If you are planning to do some cooking then I recommend making a spice bag so you don’t end up wasting lots of money or herbs and spices, or eating bland food for the whole of your trip. I put my spices into ziplock bags and then keep them in one of these clear bags

Ziplock Bags – I know, I know, more plastic. But they do come in really handy when traveling and you can wash and reuse them so you aren’t throwing them away.

Coffee Flask – Great for keeping hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. It also saves you having to use disposable cups when you buy a takeaway coffee.

Aeropress – I do love my coffee, so traveling without my Aeropress is not an option haha. This is also another great portable coffeemaker/ mug if you aren’t a fan of the Aeropress. 

Power breaker plug

Bing bags to keep things dry – 

A dry bag – 

Waterproof cover for your backpack

Clothing to Pack for The rainy season

The golden rule is to plan for the worst, hope for the best! Central America has a lot of cities at high elevation.

This means that when the sun goes down it’s is going to be cool. For that reason, you are going to need some warmer clothes especially if you are thinking of hiking any volcanos!


Toiletries to Pack for Central America

You can very all of the travel toiletries I recommend here on this Amazon list. Many things you can actually buy in Mexico easily, so I wouldn’t stress too much about buying a lot of toiletries to travel with. But there are some things that are harder to get hold of and expensive in Mexico, so I always try and travel with my own.

Technology to take to Central America

If you are stressing about taking your smartphone to Central America, don’t. Most people do have smartphones, so you aren’t going to stand out having one too. 

Here are some digital things I’d recommend packing for Central America.

Smart Phone – If you don’t want to take your fancy iPhone traveling, then this is a great phone with a very good camera for under $300. It’s what I personally have and shoot a lot of my vlogs on.

Kindle – Save space by investing in a kindle and kindle unlimited. You will find most of the lonely planet travel guides are available to read for free with the plan. 

Lightweight laptop and external hard drive – I have a MacAir which is perfect for traveling. After losing all of my photos a few years ago I also always travel with a heavy-duty external harddrive.

Camera and Tripod – I travel with this DSLR but I also have this mirrorless camera which I often take if I want to use something more discreet. I also love this tripod as I can use it with all of my cameras (even my phone), plus it’s small and light enough to fit in my daypack.

Backup charger – I have these two and always keep one in my bag.

Travel adaptor – Get a worldwide one like this so you can use it wherever you travel to.

Portable WiFi – I never travel without my TEP wireless device. If you can’t live without WiFi I recommend buying or renting one.

Check out My travel books

The Solo Girls Guide to Traveling Without Fear

The solo girls guide to becoming a digital nomad

Book your trip now

Are you ready to book your trip?  To help you get the best deals and service here are the companies that I personally use to book all of my travel online. I always shop around before booking anything, but these are my tried and tested starting places.

  • Skyscanner – I’m a bit fan of Skyscanner, it is who I use to book all of my flights. I often will check other like Google Flights or Momodo, but I always go here first and it is who I book 99% of my flights with. 
  • Booking.com – I LOVE booking.com especially when I can book and cancel free up until a certain point, mostly because my plans are forever changing. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections. 
  • Airbnb – I’m not a huge user of Airbnb, but sometimes I do like to use it, and I ALWAYS check it before I book anything else. You can get some really cool places to stay here, and it is especially good in places like Cuba. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
  • Hostelworld – If you are looking for hostels then this is a great place to check first. They often have additional places that you won’t find on Bookin.com.
  • Agoda – Although I don’t use it as much as booking.com, Agonda is especially good if you are traveling in Asia as they really do dominate there. 
  • Worldpackers – If you want to travel on the cheap and save money on accommodation then you need Worldpackers in your life. You can read more about it here. If you click this link to sign up and use the code CLAIRESITCHYFEET then you can get a 40% discount on your membership! 
  • Book a Way – If you are traveling in Asia and want to pre-book your transportation then bookaway.com is a fantastic site to do so. They have buses, trains, and cars.
  • RentalCars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals. 
  • Welcome Pickups – Very occasionally getting from the airport to my accommodation is a total pain in the butt, or I’m traveling in a group and it makes sense to arrange a pickup. When I do I use Welcome pickups.
  • World Nomads – If you are looking for flexible travel insurance then it’s World Nomads all the way. I wrote all about insurance here if you want a more thorough review. 
  • SafetyWing – AsI’m a Digital Nomad and not moving around quite so much anymore I personally use SafetyWing now for my health insurance. I wrote a full review here
  • Viatour – Sometimes it can be a little expensive, but I like Viatour for somethings, especially if you can get a discount code! It’s also great for inspiration. 
  • Klook – If you are traveling in Asia, then Klook is great! You can book all kinds of tours, activities, and train tickets, plus they even have sim cards and WiFi.

Claire Summers

Dancer, producer, traveller, photographer, cake maker, dog lover and knitter of Christmas scarfs.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Sandy N Vyjay

    We always have a fight when packing. One of us wants to pack in gear for protection against rain and the other feels it is a waste. On a recent trip to Africa we realized the utility of having the right kind of clothes and gear as rained intermittently. Hence your tips are bang on especially of you are traveling in the rainy season.

  2. These are just a great tips. I like how you were able to list down all of the necessary things that everyone needs during the rainy season in Central America. Everything is just so useful. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  3. Patricia

    Excellent tips! My husband swears by the quick-dry fabrics (including the towels, the shirts, socks, etc), and he swears by his hiking sandals. I never really thought about how long other fabrics might take to dry, but walking around in wet jeans is one of my least favorite things! We’ve only visited Central America in December, but much to everyone’s surprise, it did get rain twice, though it didn’t last long. I definitely wish we’d brought along one of those micro towels and an umbrella!

  4. Vibeke

    This is a great list. I haven’t been to Central America but I would need a lot of these items in my home country Norway or my Current Ecuador. I really want that dry bag.

  5. Candy

    I have never seen a mosquito repellent bracelet! I need to get those because I hate wearing bug spray. I don’t like the smell or the way it feels on my skin. I also love the advice on wearing synthetic material. This is probably great for the high humidity as well 🙂

  6. Paige W

    These are great tips! My husband and I will be in SE Asia at the end of their rainy season, so I’m going to have to check out some of those synthetic tanks. Also, mosquito repellent bracelets?! I didn’t even know those existed!

  7. Stephanie Grace Elkins

    Mosquito Repellant bracelet is a STRICT NO people. Sorry to disappoint but as somebody who has studied these, they simply aren’t effective enough for mosquitos.
    Unfortunately, the bug spray is the only thing that will really guarantee no bites. Levels of DEET can differ in these but typically the ones that smell strong and bad are the best. Personally, I prefer the smell to catching a nasty virus or worse. I use a tropical strength bug pump bottle so its not as potent on the nose that is %40 DEET and it does the job.

    As for everything else, spot on! I cant wait for my trip in the next week!

  8. Andrea Lawless

    Is the mosquito net necessary? Are there not nets in the rooms of accommodation?

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