After three trips to Quebec in three different seasons (I haven’t been brave enough to go in the wintertime—yet!), I’ve learned what’s most important to pack and what’s better to leave at home. Of course, your Quebec packing list will vary based on when you’re going and what activities you’re planning to do. From sightseeing in Montreal to hiking in a national park, the region has plenty to offer. But no matter what you do, the following list of what to pack for Quebec is a good starting point.
What to Pack for Quebec: The Suitcase
- Travelpro Maxlite 4 International Carry-On Spinner Suitcase: This suitcase fits within most airlines’ carry-on size limits (including Air Canada’s) and has sturdy spinner wheels to help you maneuver through airports, train stations, and cobblestoned streets.
What to Pack for Quebec: The Personal Item
- Lander Timp Backpack: Because it’s tough to get everything into just a carry-on, I used this backpack to stow extra items under my seat. Lightweight and water-resistant, this sleek bag is an appropriate day pack for both sightseeing and outdoor adventure.
What to Pack for Quebec: In-Flight Essentials
- Sleep Restoration Natural Silk Sleep Mask: Flights to Montreal aren’t too long for most Americans (just 90 minutes from New York City, two hours from Chicago, and five hours from Los Angeles), but it’s still worth throwing an eye mask into your bag. You can use it to catch a quick doze or simply block out the world while you listen to your favorite tunes.
- Noot In-Ear Earbuds: Speaking of tunes, I prefer small earbuds to big noise-canceling headphones—they weigh almost nothing and are easy to tuck into your personal item between uses.
What to Pack for Quebec: Shoes
- Saucony Women’s Kineta Relay Running Shoe: If you’ll be walking around Montreal, Quebec City, or other towns in Quebec, you’ll need comfortable shoes. This comfy pair from Saucony comes in an appealing gray color that goes with any outfit and doesn’t attract attention.
- Hiking boots: While sneakers are sufficient for Quebec’s easier walking trails, you’ll want boots with ankle support if you’re venturing out on moderate to strenuous hikes, especially in the Laurentian Mountains.
- Ballet flats: A simple pair of black ballet flats is all you need for evenings out on the town, and this type of shoe won’t take up much room in your suitcase.
What to Pack for Quebec: The Jacket
- Columbia Whirlibird Interchange Jacket: This three-in-one jacket is a good option for just about any time of year in Quebec. Over the summer you can get by with just the outer shell to keep you warm on a cool evening; if you’re planning a trip to, say, Quebec City‘s Winter Carnival, layer up and wear both parts of the jacket over a sweater.
What to Pack for Quebec: Clothing
- Jeans: Bring at least one pair for sightseeing during the day and for casual evenings out.
- Hiking pants: If you’re planning hikes or other outdoor excursions, water-resistant pants are a must-pack.
- Base layers: Summers are short in Quebec, especially as you go farther north. For most of the year you’ll appreciate having base-layer garments to help you stay warm.
- Swimsuit: Quebec may not be known as a beach destination, but it does have some stretches of sand suitable for swimming in the summer months. Bring your suit if you want to join in.
What to Pack for Quebec: Toiletries
- Sunscreen: This is a must if you’re enjoying any of Quebec’s abundant natural landscapes. And yes, you even need it in the winter: Sun reflecting off snow or ice can be just as damaging as it is on the beach.
- Insect repellent: During the warmer months, Quebec’s lakes and forests sometimes come with an unwelcome side of bugs. Fend them off with your insect repellent of choice.
What to Pack for Quebec: The Purse
- Crossbody bag: I like Travelon’s line of crossbody purses, which feature antitheft features such as locking compartments and slash-proof body panels and straps.
What to Pack for Quebec: Gadgets
- Backup phone charger: Whether you’re using a mapping app to find your way around the Eastern Townships or posting endless poutine pictures on Instagram, you’re going to want to keep your smartphone powered up throughout your trip.
- Kindle Paperwhite: An e-reader stocked with good books is useful for any flight, but I was particularly glad I had mine after I missed my connection and needed to kill six hours in the Montreal airport.
What to Pack for Quebec: Accessories
- Umbrella: Quebec’s weather can be mercurial, so it’s worth throwing an umbrella in your bag just in case. You might also want to consider packing a rain poncho.
- Sunglasses: These are always essential, whether you’ll be walking through urban neighborhoods or along forest trails.
- Hat or headband: I tossed a wool headband into my bag on a whim, not expecting to need it—but then found myself wearing it just about every night during a late-summer trip to Abitibi-Temiscamingue. During the day I wore a baseball cap to keep the sun off my face.
- Plastic bags: Bring different sizes—like a small zip-top to protect your phone on a rainy hike or larger grocery bags to hold muddy hiking boots or wet bathing suits.
What to Pack for Quebec (That I Didn’t)
- Scarf: A warm, colorful scarf can dress up an evening outfit and keep you warm on those cool Quebec nights.
- Gloves or mittens: A thin pair of gloves is perfect for a spring or fall trip to Quebec, while mittens are a must if you’re visiting in the winter.
- Sandals: It wasn’t warm enough for these during my late-summer visit to Abitibi, but Montreal can get hot and humid at the height of summer, making sandals an appealing option.
What Not to Pack for Quebec
- Valuable jewelry and watches: You won’t need these in Quebec’s rural areas, and in cities they’ll just be magnets for thieves. Leave them at home.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Tipping in Canada: The Canada Tipping Guide
- Canada 150: Quebec Delivers the Ultimate Summer Vacation
- 7 Reasons to Visit Abitibi-Temiscamingue, Quebec’s Best-Kept Secret
Sarah Schlichter traveled to Abitibi-Temiscamingue as a guest of Tourism Quebec. Follow her on Twitter @TravelEditor for more travel tips and inspiration.
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