What You’ll Need to Bring to Drug Rehab

Getting ready for a stay at rehab? Don’t let the thought of packing stress you out. We’ve put together a checklist for you to get everything you’ll need to bring, plus what will need to stay behind.

about to board on plane for drug rehab while carrying luggage

What to bring to rehab


Every drug rehab center will have its guidelines for what you can and can’t wear during your stay, and will send you a list of what you’ll need. In general, though, you’ll want to bring a week’s worth of outfits that you can layer depending on the weather. Bring clothes and shoes that you feel comfortable in. You’ll have access to a washing machine, so just make sure all of the clothing you bring is easy to care for. You may also want to bring a bottle of laundry detergent if it’s not’s provided.

Many rehab centers will also have a gym and pool for you to use. Bring some workout clothing and sneakers for outdoor activities, and a swimsuit if it’ll be warm enough to swim during your stay.

If you’re going to have a roommate, you’ll likely want to bring flip-flops for the shower and a bathrobe. Remember to pack some pajamas as well.

Finally, you’ll want to bring a few nicer outfits for special occasions or when you have visitors. Feel free to bring jewelry that you wear every day, such as a wedding ring or watch, but leave any valuables you might take off and lose at home.


Bring the basics such as your toothbrush and toothpaste, enough shampoo and conditioner to last 30 days, a hairbrush, and a hair dryer if you use one. You can also bring makeup but stick to just the basics. Leave mouthwash, perfume, and anything else that may contain alcohol at home.

Important documents

You’ll need a form of ID such as a driver’s license, as well as your insurance cards, including a prescription card if you have one. You’ll also need something to pay for items, such as your checkbook, debit card, and/or credit card.

Don’t forget a bit of cash (not too much) for vending machines and the like. You’ll want it.

A way to call home

It’ll be very helpful to put together a list of contact information so you can quickly reach your loved ones. You may even want to include your boss on the list if you are taking a leave from work. Include phone numbers and addresses, and ask your rehab facility if you’ll need a calling card for long-distance phone calls.

Do you like writing letters? Bring along stamps and envelopes.


Bring any medications you’ve been prescribed. Make sure they’re in their original bottles. If you have a liquid medication, it should be new and sealed.

You might not have access to this medication after you check in, but it will help the doctors understand your medical needs better. It’s also helpful to bring a list of your prescribed medications and the dosages of each.

Hobby items

While your focus will be on learning about recovery and taking part in activities to help you get better, there will be some downtime. Feel free to bring things along such as knitting, a sketchbook, or your camera. You can also bring a book or two, but reading material will be provided at the center, and some rehab centers have restrictions on the type of books you can bring.

Make sure you have a notebook or journal. Even if you’ve never kept a journal, you might find it’s extremely therapeutic in rehab. It’s also a great idea to bring some pictures of your loved ones to stay centered.

Some facilities provide an alarm clock for you to use in your room. Ask about it. If they don’t, you should be able to bring your own as long as it doesn’t have radio capabilities.

What not to bring

Rehab about getting better and focusing on recovery, so there are some things that are harmless at home but can cause a distraction in rehab.

While each rehab center will vary in what it allows, this is what you can almost always expect to be banned:

  • Games, card decks, and sporting equipment: Don’t worry, the facility will provide games and equipment for designated downtime.
  • Drugs and alcohol: You’re here to recover. If you’re afraid of cutting it off cold turkey, talk to your doctors. They may be able to help you through withdrawal symptoms with medication.
  • Cosmetics or cleaning supplies with alcohol: This includes nail polish and nail polish remover.
  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Weapons or sharp objects
  • Electronics: This means no cell phones, TVs, video games, DVDs, etc.
  • Pornographic material
  • Food and drinks
  • Candles

What you might be able to bring

Some rehabs allow these items, and others don’t. Here’s what you’ll want to ask about.

  • Computers and cell phones: Many rehab centers will ban or restrict personal computers and cell phones. Others will let you bring them, but only use them during certain time periods.
  • Tobacco: If you’re not ready to quit smoking, some facilities will let you continue smoking outdoors, or at designated times and places.
  • Bedding: Want to feel more at home? Many rehab centers will let you bring your bedding or at least a pillow or blanket.
  • CD player of mp3
  • Disposable razors and nail clippers: Usually, rehab clinics will allow these, but only if you check them out for your shower and return them directly after.

Don’t forget to wrap up loose ends at home

Make sure your family knows where you’re going before you leave. Some rehab centers won’t allow any phone calls for the first few days, and you’ll have no way to reach them.

Also, if you have a trusted friend or family member who is willing to keep an eye on your house or apartment, consider leaving a key with them. That way you have someone to check the mail and bring you and items you may have forgotten.

Learn more about rehab

Have more questions about what rehab is like? Learn more on our FAQ page.

What to Bring to Rehab
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