TOP-16 Items to Take for Tunisia

Page update - Jan 12, 2023

What items to put in your suitcase for vacation in Tunisia? What items will make your vacation easier, save time and nerves? And which items won't be useful? What clothes, medication, protective equipment to take? Read our TOP-16 tips for tourists.

Prices and other information on this page were updated in January 2023.

Important points

Before packing your suitcase for your vacation, it is advisable to check whether all items are permitted to be brought into Tunisia. Some items may be allowed, but the allowed quantities are limited. Read our detailed review "What you can and can't bring into Tunisia".

And remember the commonplace truth, "Problems are solved by people, not items. Items only help people to solve problems". Do not try to bring a stock of things for all occasions. It won't work anyway.

See our list of the 16 useful items for Tunisia and decide by yourself if you need them or not.

1. Pen

You may wonder, how can a pen come in handy when you're on vacation? It comes in extremely handy in Tunisia but only once.

Every tourist coming to Tunisia is obliged to fill in an Arrival card, which is called a "migration card" sometimes. The cards are handed out at the migration control at Tunisian airports, and it is enough of them. But there is usually a strong shortage of pens.

Tourists sometimes line up for a pen, especially if several flights arrive at the airport at the same time. Take your own pen so that you do not have to queue. The pen is small, so it does not take much space in your hand luggage.

Once you have filled the card, go to the migration control. A visa to Tunisia is not needed for most nationalities, and the officer will simply stamp your entry.

2. 10 or 20 US dollars (Euros or UK pounds) without change

There is a common way to get money out of tourists in Tunisia. When you check-in, they give you a low-grade room. If you ask to change the room, you are told the hotel is fully booked. Naturally, they expect a bribe. Sometimes they hint very softly. Sometimes they demand roughly and directly.

The administration and authors of our website are always against corruption in any form. However, we have to admit that giving a small bribe in this case is a quick and effective way to solve the problem.

The bribe should be small - 10 or 20 US dollars (or Euros, or UK pounds). Usually, the banknote(s) is(are) put in your passport and handed to the person at the reception desk. Naturally, no one gives change in this case. Therefore, prepare the banknote(s) in advance.

3. Your own beach towel

Beach hotels provide guests with beach towels, but in exchange for a deposit. In case of damage or loss of the beach towel, the hotel will retain the deposit in its favor.

The deposit may vary from 10 Tunisian dinars to 30 US dollars (or Euros, or UK pounds), it depends on the hotel grade and the towel quality. But in most cases, the deposit is two or three times the value of the towel. Therefore, the loss is beneficial to the hotel. For the current exchange rates of the Tunisian dinar, see our in-depth review "Money in Tunisia".

Cases of lost towels are frequent with tourists. Some even believe that the hotel staff purposely take the towels which seems ownerless. But we are not fans of conspiracy theories.

The cases of lost towels are often accidental. For example, another tourist might accidentally confuse the towels as they are all the same. Or another tourist may have lost his/her towel and taken yours to avoid losing the deposit.

To avoid this unpleasant situation, take your own beach towel. It is better to have a pattern, so it does not look like a hotel towel. That way no one will mistake anything. Unfortunately, beach towels are usually weighty and get a lot of space in the suitcase.

4. Copies of your documents

If you lose your passport while traveling, you will have to personally go to your home country's embassy or consulate to obtain a temporary return document. Some countries replace the passport (right in the embassy or consulate) if it is lost or stolen. But the diplomats will have to check the identity of the applicant.

The more you have, the better. Copies of your documents will help a lot. If you do not have anything, you may wait up to several weeks for the verification. You have to agree that this is not very pleasant.

This advice is particularly relevant in Tunisia. The fact that foreign embassies are located only in the capital, and there are almost no consulates in the resorts. It means that you have to go to the capital. It is better to go only once.

For the case you lose your documents, you should make copies of them and keep them separately from the originals so you will not lose everything together. Follow this tip, and you can get your return certificate (or the new passport) quickly.

5. Sun protection

The southern sun is dangerous. Keep in mind that sunburn treatment is not covered by travel insurance.

To avoid getting burned or sunstroke, take with you:

- A hat, preferably with large brim to protect your neck as well;

- For excursions, clothes that cover your shoulders, as the shoulders are the first to get burnt;

- Sunscreen cream or milk, preferably SPF 20 or 30 for adults and SPF 50 or 60 for children;

- Sunglasses if you have sensitive eyes.

Most importantly, apply the cream thickly and don't skimp. In the first few days, it's best to avoid direct sunlight. Sunbathing under a beach umbrella is best, although it takes longer to get a tan, but there are no risks.

6. Comfortable shoes

Take only comfortable shoes. The advice is actual for tourists in any country. But this advice is doubly important in Tunisia. Almost all excursions in Tunisia include long walks.

You have to walk long distances through the excavations in Carthage, Dugga and Oudna, the town of Sidi Bou Said, the Frigia zoo, the medina of Sousse or the Bardo museum. You often have to walk uphill. The shoes must be already well worn so you will not get callus.

The important question is, "Should you wear open or closed shoes?" Of course, you should prefer open sandals in the hot summer months, but always with a good foot fixing to avoid calluses. Flip-flops are not recommended for excursions, as they won't be comfortable in the Tunisian landscape. Beware of shoes with thin soles, as you'll often be walking on stones.

For the hot months (June, July, August, September) choose the sports sandals. For May and October, trainers shoes are better.

7. Medicines

The first-aid kit for a beach vacation in Tunisia is standard (same as for other hot resort countries):

- Allergy remedies, as allergy may happen with anyone;

- Means for the stomach and intestines, because Tunisian cuisine may be very unfamiliar;

- Antiseptics for wounds and inflammation;

- Simple dressings such as adhesive plaster and PBT bandage;

- And the set of medicines you use at home on a regular basis.

Antiseptic wipes are also a good idea. In another country, you will encounter a different bacterial background, and that encounter may be unfortunate.

Many tourists notice some people are wiping all items around with antiseptic wipes. We recommend following their example in the first days of vacation. This is especially true for items with which children come into contact. Many readers will now say that such behavior is paranoia. But it's more like common sense. It's better to play it safe and not get sick on vacation.

8. Wrapping for gifts and souvenirs

Many popular gifts from Tunisia are fragile. For example, bottles of olive oil, date syrup, wine, Boukha or Thibarine strong alcohol. Naturally, ceramics require special attention during transportation. We've talked about the most interesting gifts in the review "What to bring from Tunisia".

Imagine if a bottle of olive oil broke in your suitcase. In this case, not only would you lose a valuable gift, but the things in your suitcase would be ruined. Even fresh fruit is potentially dangerous. If the fruit is crushed, it will produce juice that may not come out of your clothes later.

So try to bring packaging for fragile gifts. Bubble wrap is ideal, but not always easy to find. Corrugated cardboard is fine and much easier to find. For fruit, stock up on sturdy plastic bags.

Some tourists wrap fragile gifts in clothes. It's not the best option, but it's better than nothing.

9. Light-color and light-weight clothing

If you don't intend to leave the hotel, don't worry much about your clothes set. In this case, you'll spend most of your time indoors or on the beach. In the first case, you'll be under an air conditioner. In the second case, outerwear is not really necessary.

If you are going for a walk in the city or to excursions, you should choose clothing carefully.

First, the clothes should be made of natural materials, preferably linen or cotton. Second, use light-coloured clothes, preferably white. Light clothes reflect the sun's rays, darker ones absorb and warm. Thirdly, clothes should be loose-fitting to allow natural ventilation of your body.

We recommend covering your shoulders as shoulders get burnt first. The other parts of your body are covered or exposed for the sun, depending on your body position. Shoulders are always exposed to the sun, no matter how hard you turn around.

For excursions and walks in the city, we recommend choosing clothes with inside pockets. Pickpocketing is rare in Tunisia, but it's still best to keep your money and documents in your inside pockets.

10. Warm clothing

It may seem strange to take warm clothing to hot Tunisia. However, the nights are quite cold sometimes. You should bring a light jumper or sweatshirt for night walks and animation in the hotel.

Even during the hottest summer months, night temperatures in Sousse or Hammamet can drop to between +15-18°C (60-65°F). In May and October, it can even be +10-12°C (50-54°F).

Naturally, we strongly advise against taking lots of warm clothing. You should only take one set. There is no point in wasting precious luggage space, especially as warm clothing may not be useful. Will it really be useful or not? Depends on the weather.

If you are going on a two-day excursion to the Sahara, you should leave your warm clothes at the hotel. The temperature there during the tourist season doesn't drop below +20C (68°F) at night.

11. For women - lightweight scarf

The lightweight scarf is probably the most useful and flexible woman's clothing for travel.

First, you can use it to comply with the dress-code. If you're going to the Great Mosque in Kairouan, the Great Mosque in Sousse, or the El Ghriba Synagogue, you should cover your shoulders, knees, and head. A lightweight scarf is convenient to cover the shoulders and head at once, if the scarf is large enough.

Second, use it to cover your shoulders to prevent getting burnt. Even if light clothing covers shoulders, they still sometimes get burnt in the sun. It happens that tourists wear clothes with the shoulders open on excursions, which is very reckless. Throw a scarf over your shoulders, and the problem is solved.

Third, use it for dust protection. Strong winds often pick up dust and sand. A scarf is handy to cover your face to keep the dust out of your nose and mouth.

Fourth, you can use it as a protective mask. This page was updated (January 2023) just when the COVID-19 virus pandemic has not ended yet. Face masks are still mandatory by law in Tunisia, but almost all Tunisians ignore the law. A scarf can serve as a protective mask by wrapping it around your face. The main rule in this case is that the more layers the better.

12. Mosquito Fumigator

There are mosquitoes in Tunisia, but they are not a big problem there. We do not recommend taking mosquito sprays and salves with you. But take a small fumigator for your hotel room, we definitely recommend it. If mosquitoes get in the room, then an unpleasant night (or many nights in a row) is guaranteed. The fumigator is small and won't take up much space in your luggage.

Tunisia is home to 44 species of mosquitoes, including species of the genus Anopheles which carry malaria. Fortunately, the most dangerous malaria-carrying species, Anopheles gambiae, does not inhabit and never inhabited Tunisia. Tunisia has been free of malaria since 1979. Since then, the cases of malaria are only imported. There is no need to be afraid of malaria in Tunisia.

From year to year, the mosquito situation in Tunisian resorts varies, depending on humidity and temperature. Some years there are hardly any mosquitoes, others a real mosquito infestation. By the way, the situation with flies is the same.

13. If you smoke, bring your own cigarettes

Good imported cigarettes are expensive in Tunisia. Local Cristal and MARS International cigarettes are cheap, but the taste may be very unfamiliar.

A lot of contraband and counterfeit cigarettes are sold in Tunisia. Even if you buy a pack of Marlboro or Winston, you are not sure of the legal origin of these cigarettes. The quality of counterfeit cigarettes is a big lottery in which you can lose your health.

Statistics show that around 25% of cigarettes in Tunisia are counterfeit or contraband. Some researchers say it is 50%. See our in-depth review "Smoking and cigarettes in Tunisia" for all the details.

For these reasons, we advise you to take a stock of your usual brand of cigarettes with you. Or take cigarettes from the airport DutyFree, as their good quality and origin guaranteed. You may bring with you 1 box (10 packs of 20 cigarettes) per tourist. That's usually enough for a vacation.

14. If you need alcohol, take it with you

If you go for All Inclusive, you won't have any problems with liquor. Tunisian beer, wine, Boukha (fig strong spirit) are of high quality, though the taste is often unfamiliar to European and American tourists.

If you are going without All Inclusive, then the problem of alcohol must be taken seriously.

First of all, only supermarkets of the Magasin General chain have a right to sell alcohol in Tunisia. Not every Magasin General has an alcohol section. Some Carrefour and Monoprix supermarkets sell wine, but this is the exception rather than the rule. Some cafes and restaurants are licensed to serve alcohol, but they are few and far between.

Secondly, the prices are very high. Beer and wine cost about the same as in most countries - 3 dinars for beer, from 10 dinars for a bottle of wine. But hard liquor is very expensive. The Boukha price is around 60 dinars for a bottle 0.5 liter. See our detailed review "Alcohol in Tunisia" for details.

Conclusion! Bring as much as the customs regulations allow. Unfortunately, they don't allow much - up to 1 liter of spirits.

15. Additional smartphone (cellphone)

Communication is a problem on vacation in any country. The services of home operators in roaming are usually expensive. A local SIM-card can often help to solve the problem. In Tunisia, the easiest way is to buy an Ooredoo operator SIM-card.

To use a Tunisian SIM-card comfortably, it's best to take a separate phone or smartphone for it. It does not make sense to buy a smartphone, but you can borrow one from your friends or relatives.

If you only need to make calls with a Tunisian SIM-card, you can use any phone, and you might find the device from the old days somewhere at home. If you need to use mobile internet, then find an additional smartphone.

For the cheapest way to use the internet, see our in-depth review "Cheap Internet in Tunisia".

16. Translator app (supporting French)

The language situation in Tunisia is very interesting. They speak their own dialect called Derja at home, the official language of the country is classical Arabic MSA, and yet two thirds of the population have a decent knowledge of French. Read the details in our review "What language Tunisians speak".

The English language is widespread in Tunisian resort areas, but poorly known in the capital Tunis and other major cities.

To communicate efficiently, we recommend downloading a translator app supporting French. You will be able to write phrases in English on your smartphone and display French translations. Such a translator makes life much easier, especially outside resort areas. We highly recommend the app, which works without an internet connection.

What you should NOT bring with you

- Don't bring umbrellas or raincoats. It rarely rains in Tunisia and even if you get caught in the rain, it's easier to wait it out;

- Do not take uncommon currencies such as Indian rupees, Czech koruna, Egyptian pounds, e.t.c. It is hard to exchange them. And if you'll find the exchanger which do, the rate will be awful. Take US dollars, Euros, or UK pounds. Read our in-depth review "Currency exchange in Tunisia";

- Women are not recommended to wear clothes that are too revealing. Although Tunisian law does not require any dress-code, you are in an Islamic country;

- Do not try to buy Tunisian dinars in your home country and bring them with you. Importing and exporting Tunisian dinars is forbidden by law.

Useful tips

- You can wear any swimming costume you like. There is no dress-code on beaches in Tunisia. The only condition is that you must wear a swimming costume, otherwise you may be guilty of offenses against public morals under the Criminal Code. However, despite the Penal Code, female tourists sunbathe topless on hotel beaches (not public), no one picks on them.

We wish you a good vacation and have everything you need with you. Read our interesting and useful pages about Tunisia and Tunisians (find the pages list below). © 2020-2024