Socotra Packing List: Everything You Need for the Ultimate Adventure

Excited for your trip to Socotra but wondering what to bring? Well, we’ve got you covered!

Socotra is a special island, and packing for a trip there can look a bit different than some of the trips that you may be used to. You see, the island is rugged, and therefore the only way to really explore it is to go camping. There are only a couple of restaurants, which is precisely why it’s pretty necessary to go on a tour in Socotra rather than going on your own.

The tour companies are so well-prepared, and have all of the essentials for a comfortable stay. However, we made sure to follow a Socotra packing list given to us by our tour company, which really helped! Not only that, but we also brought a few extra things that we know will help you have an even more comfortable trip.

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Socotra Packing List Essentials Toiletries

Detiwah Lagoon drone shot Socotra

Your toiletries are your everyday essentials, and surely things you don’t want to forget before your trip to Socotra. There is so much to see and do, that the last thing you’ll want to do is have your guide searching for a shop for you. We’re going to break down all of the things you’ll need by category.

Hygene

As you’ll be camping, there won’t be any hotels providing you with soap, shampoo, or conditioner. In fact, you may need to be prepared in case you encounter a dire bathroom situation out in nature.

As you’ll be camping, there won’t be any hotels providing you with soap, shampoo, or conditioner. In fact, you may need to be prepared in case you encounter a dire bathroom situation out in nature.

As you’ll be camping, there won’t be any hotels providing you with soap, shampoo, or conditioner. In fact, you may need to be prepared in case you encounter a dire bathroom situation out in nature.

Soap

While many bathrooms have soap, we definitely suggest bringing your own small bars of soap. Have a little one to wash your face, one for showering, and one to bring with you to the bathroom.

Our guide actually had these incredible soap sheets, which are light, compact, and just need a small drop of water to activate the suds. We’d highly recommend these, as they’re perfect for traveling!

Wipes

Wipes are lifesaving in Socotra- for a few reasons. We always carry a small pack with us, and we found them to be super handy while traveling around Socotra.

Keep them with you for when you go to the bathroom, or for a quick way to freshen up between adventures. Showers are only available at the end of the day, so you’ll want to make sure you can clean yourself up after any sweaty activities throughout the day.

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Tissues

Tissues are another must to keep on you. You never know when a bathroom may not have toilet paper, and it can be a really shitty situation.

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Hand Sanitizer

Hand Sanitizer is one of those things that’s always good to have while you travel, but we particularly think it’s good to have for your Socotra packing list in case you find yourself dirty out in nature, or if there isn’t soap in one of the bathrooms you come across.

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Dental Hygene

Dental Hygene is always one of the most important things to remember while packing for any trip. A mini toothpaste will suffice for your trip to Socotra, as well as a traditional toothbrush and floss.

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Skincare

Taking care of your skin while traveling is super important! Here are a few of the things you should remember to take with you.

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Sunscreen

The sun is STRONG in Socotra, so this should be at the top of your Socotra packing list! We suggest a high SPF. Don’t worry about getting a tiny travel one, as your van will be with you at all times.

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Bug Spray

Around the time that the sun is setting the mosquitoes start to come out. So we suggest bringing a small bottle of bug spray to keep them away.

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Aloe

Even with loads of sunscreen we can find ourselves easily getting burnt while in Socotra. Bring some aloe with you just in case, so that you don’t find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.

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Hair Care

Socotra is hot, and you’ll be spending a lot of time cooling off in the water. Your hair is something you really won’t have a lot of time or resources to take care of, so we suggest sticking to the basics.

 

Bring a brush, hair ties, and a travel-sized shampoo and conditioner. We also suggest bringing a product for frizz, and keeping your hair in braids.

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Socotra Packing List Essentials Electronics

Clear waters in Socotra

Most of the island of Socotra actually doesn’t have a lot of electricity! So you’ll want to bring only the essentials, and charge all of your electronics before arriving in Socotra.

Here are a few things that we found helpful to bring with us on our trip.

Power Bank

A power bank will be your lifesaver. In this case, the bigger the better. We use Anker power banks, as they are some of the longest lasting power banks out there.

Car Charger

We’re not talking about the traditional car chargers for your phone, but an actual outlet that you can plug into your car.

As you won’t have a lot of opportunities to plug your electronics in throughout the island, the car is where you’ll be able to recharge your electronics the most. We suggest getting one with at least a couple of outlets, so that you can charge multiple things at a time.

Photography Equipment

Socotra is a simply stunning island, so you’ll want to capture it the very best you can! While not everyone may be interested in photography like us, we think it’s important to add these to the Socotra packing list, so you’re well prepared.

Camera

Nowadays phones can take some great photos and videos. However, nothing captures the beauty of Socotra like a DSLR or Mirrorless camera! If you’re on the edge of purchasing one, then let Socotra be the reason you decide to go for it.

Extra Camera Battery

As you won’t have a ton of opportunities to recharge your electronics, we do suggest having a second battery with you. This really helped us during our trip, as it saved us from stressing out from taking so many pictures.

An Extra Memory Card

One thing we learned from our trip to Socotra was that we took so many more pictures and videos than we had anticipated! We took around 300 pictures and 20 videos a day, and went through almost two 256 GB memory cards.

Low Aperture Lens

There is no night sky more gorgeous than the one in Socotra. With practically no light pollution, it is a true playground for astrophotography lovers! Bring a lens with a low aperture so that you can get the best shots possible.

Drone

Our favorite photos and videos that we took in Socotra were hands-down on our drone, and it really is a game changer!

As flights come from Abu Dhabi, where drones are banned, we’ve had a lot of concern from other travelers about bringing a drone. The good news is though, that drones are only banned for use, and bringing them to Socotra is completely legal.

We brought the Mavic Mini Pro 3, and found it to be perfect for getting a variety of shots, without adding a ton of weight to our luggage.

Extra Drone Batteries

Just like the camera battery, having extra drone batteries is a must. We used our drone several times a day, and had three batteries in total, which is what we would recommend bringing with you as well.

Action Camera

Socotra has some of the most stunning waters in the world! That’s why we think an action camera is a must for your Socotra packing list. This way you’ll be able to capture great footage while snorkeling and swimming.

Bonus: Waterproof Phone Pouch

If you don’t have an action camera, then make sure to bring a waterproof phone pouch, so that you can bring your phone underwater to take photos and videos.

Socotra Packing List: What Should I Wear to Socotra?

Socotra - Day 7

Being an island in the Middle East, many tourists are concerned with what they should wear while in Socotra. The tourist attractions around the island are actually only really visited by travelers, and the local guides are all very used to how westerners dress.

When you do go into one of the towns though (such as the capital), it’s better to dress modestly out of respect for the locals. Women should cover their shoulders, as well as their knees.

Clothing

Here are some recommendations for specific clothing items to add to your Socotra packing list.

Long Dress with Sleeves

The easiest way to dress while in Hadibou is by wearing a long dress with sleeves. We suggest wearing a very light material though, so that you can stay fresh.

Bathing Suits

Every day you’ll need a bathing suit at some point. Whether it’s swimming in the canyons or at the beaches, there are plenty of opportunities to cool off in the water. We suggest bringing a few with you, and then you can always hang them to dry overnight.

Sporty Clothing

There is a hike or two along the trip, so you’ll want to make sure you have comfortable sport clothing with you for tackling them such as sports bras, shorts, and light, airy t-shirts.

Hat

The sun is super strong, so a hat will definitely help keep your head cool, and protect your face from the harmful rays.

Towels

You’ll want to bring two towels with you - one for after you shower, and one for the beach. We suggest getting the small pocket towels, so that they don’t take up a lot of room, and dry quickly.

Footwear

Now that you know what to wear in Socotra, let’s go over some of the footwear you’ll want to bring with you.

Flip Flops

As there are a lot of braces in Socotra, flip flops are definitely what you’ll want to be wearing a lot of the time! We always use Havaianas, as they are comfy, and long-lasting.

Water Shoes

There are a couple of canyons you’ll be visiting that have a lot of rocks. In order to most comfortably get around them, you’ll want to have water shoes with you. We used our flip flops, but definitely would have preferred to have the water shoes to protect our feet though.

Sneakers

As there are a few popular hikes around the island, you’ll definitely want to add sneakers to your Socotra packing list. The hikes aren’t crazy demanding, so you won’t need hiking boots or any specific athletic shoe. Regular sneakers will suffice.

Socotra Packing List: Other Things to Bring

Now you are almost ready for your trip to Socotra! Here are a few final things to keep in mind for your Socotra packing list.

Flashlight

When trying to navigate at night, you won’t have a ton of light. That’s why having a flashlight is great - especially so you don’t have to drain the battery on your phone. It’s also necessary for when you visit the caves, as you’ll be exploring deeply in the cave with no light whatsoever.

Small Fan

It can get pretty toasty in the tent some nights. While we opened our tents to keep the air flowing, we definitely wished we had brought a small battery-operated fan to put inside for a little extra breeze.

Reusable Water Bottle

There is a massive plastic problem on the island of Socotra, so we have to do our part to prevent tourists from adding to the issue.

One way we can help is by bringing a reusable water bottle.

If you happen to be traveling to Socotra with Off the Beaten Trips though, then you will actually receive a reusable water to keep for the trip, and then take it home with you!

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Can You Bring Alcohol to Yemen?

This is actually one of our most frequently asked questions! Yemen is a Muslim country, so you won’t find alcohol sold anywhere. However, tourists are welcome to bring their own alcohol with them, and it is quite common amongst tourists to bring bottles of wine or spirits to have at dinner each night.

Socotra Packing List: the Things You Can Leave Behind

waters of Socotra Yemen

Now you know all of the things to bring to Socotra, but you may be considering a few items that you can forget about! Here are a few things you can go ahead and leave at home.

Blankets & Pillows

Even though you’ll be camping, we’ve got you covered! Each tent comes with a mattress, pillows, and blankets, so that you can be fully equipped for comfortable camping.

Hair Tools

You can forget about styling your hair in Socotra. Actually, chances are you won’t see a mirror for quite a few days, nor is there really any point of doing your hair with all of the activities you’ll be doing.

We suggest braiding your hair, as this will keep you cool and still looking cute during your adventures across the island.

Make Up

One of the things we loved about visiting Socotra was the feeling of going au-natural for a full week. Put away the makeup, and give your skin a break! Trust us- you truly won’t need it.

Heels

Socotra is full of fun, but there isn’t any nightlife, and there certainly isn’t any reason you would need to bring your heels with you. Enjoy the comfortable footwear, and keep the extra pair of shoes at home.

Laptop

We are constantly working while traveling, but it truly was impossible in Socotra. There is very little service on the island, and sometimes we went days without having any signal at all. We suggest leaving your laptop at home, and leaving any work assignments done before coming on the trip.

Other Tips for Packing for Socotra

cave in Socotra Yemen-4

Now you have your Socotra packing list ready to go! But it’s important that you still pack smart. Travelers to Socotra have a limit on the amount of luggage they can bring, which are as follows:

  • One 20 kg piece of checked luggage
  • One 10 kg carry-on (with dimensions within 55 x 40 x 20 cm)
  • One personal item
  • Excess baggage charges are 15 AED per KG, and can only be paid at the airport

Here are a few tips before coming on your trip:

  • Keep all of your electronics together in your carry-on or personal item.
  • Use travel-sized refillable containers to put your liquids.
  • Do all your work assignments before leaving for the trip.
  • Let loved ones know that you’ll be without service for several days.
  • Charge all electronics fully right before leaving.

Now you have your Socotra Packing list, and all of the basic info for going on your Socotra Island Tour! Want to learn more about what to expect? Check our Socotra Travel Guide, and stay tuned for more upcoming articles by subscribing to the Off the Beaten Trips Newsletter.

Looking for more fun trips? We have a group trip coming up this year to Buenos Aires, and we also custom plan trips all around the world! Simply email us for more details.

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