When the weather gets warm in my neck of the woods I tend to get the travel itch. It gets positively HOT/HUMID by April 15 on the Gulf Coast so I like to head to less humid areas. So far, some of my favorite destinations have been NorCal and the Pacific Northwest. They have such a vibrant culture, great food, beautiful vistas, and mountains!
We are heading west on I-10, north on I-5, and then east on I-90 for the first part of our 2017 #transAmericanroadtrip. Since I really love to get a mix of everything when I travel to a new destination, I spent quite some time planning and wanted to share what my packing list is for such a trip. We will spend our days driving, setting up camp in the R-pod 180, hiking, lounging, touristing, etc. When we stay in one place for more than a day we will spend time there doing a large assortment of activities, from relaxing on the beach with a drink in hand, to lighthouse viewing, to wandering the grounds of a National Forest or National Park. Needless to say it will be a glorious trip! Below you’ll find a list of everything I packed for three months of travelling around the USA.
Ever since my first travel disaster where over-packing put a serious damper on my trip (Atlanta to Milan with two 28″ roller bags, a 22″ roller bag and a duffel), I have become a huge advocate of traveling light and bringing versatile pieces that can pull double duty. This trip was no exception! I was able to fit everything for a three-month trip in my Eagle Creek 120L cargo hauler duffel bag, Timbuk2 Wingman, and Sak cross-body purse. My favorite bags to bring along for daypacks and biking packs are the Eddie Bauer Stowaway Packable Daypacks and the Timbuk2 Catapault Sling.
Even when I think I’m being minimalist with my packing, I always seem to bring too many clothes. That said, I strongly urge you not to bring more than is listed here unless absolutely necessary because chances are you really, really won’t need it.
3 leggings – I brought 2 cotton/spandex and 1 wool. I skipped the jeans, as I find they are bulky and aren’t fun to wear when it’s 90 degrees Fahrenheit out!
1 pair of convertible hiking pants – Again, not jeans.
6 tops – I brought 2 ultra lightweight wool tees, 1 tank, 2 cotton t-shirts, and 1 lightweight blouse.
3 meeting/service dresses – I had 2 knee length dresses and 1 maxi dress.
1 swim cover-up –I brought a sarong which can also double as a towel if need be.
1 swimsuit – If you’re heading to the beach for most of your stay, bring 2.
1 workout outfit
1 nice evening outfit – blouse & capris for an evening out or a nice meal.
Underwear/socks/bras – I brought 1 brown and 1 black, as well as a sports bra (they should cover all of your needs), 7 pairs of underwear and 7 pairs of socks. These can all be washed in the hotel sink if you’re in a pinch!
2 pair pajamas
2 pairs of sunglasses
1 lightweight sweater and/or scarf – I covet the Chrysalis Cardi as a double duty scarf, but for now I just brought a red silk blend cardigan.
The weather out west ranges from arid desert to coastal rainforest so I recommend bringing lightweight layers that will work for all the temperature zones you’ll travel through. Fabrics that are good to have in this kind of weather are wool, linen/cotton and quick drying sports fabrics.
However, evenings out can get downright chilly to this Gulf Coast girl at times, so I would recommend bringing something lightweight but warm to keep you cozy during the evening. I ended up buying a fleece jacket and neck scarf at the Redwoods National Park.
I do a lot of walking on my trips to make up for the calories I consume so I recommend bringing comfortable walking shoes, my preference is Birkenstock, just be sure they won’t give you blisters.
1 pair of trail/cross-trainer hiking – I brought La Sportiva shoes.
1 pair of strappy evening Naot sandals/wedges (or flats if those are more your style).
1 pair of walking sandals – I brought Birkenstocks (which I basically live in).
1 pair shower shoes/ hot tub flip flops.
Toiletries and First Aid
Don’t worry about forgetting something because you’ll definitely be able to purchase it there!
Anything that is in your usual beauty routine. I would also suggest that you make your mascara waterproof and that your lip balm has SPF in it!
Skin – I brought travel sized bottles of: Face Cleanser, Face Moisturizer, SPF 50 Sunscreen, Body Butter (it is SO DRY out there), and Hand Cream.
Denman brush – this bad boy is able to brush out any knots that may be in your hair, which will be useful when your hair is all tangled up from that salty sea water.
Hair ties and bobby pins
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Wipes – These are great for freshening up and wiping off your face/body around lunch time when you may be all sandy and sweaty but aren’t ready to take a shower yet.
Bar of soap – Depending on the hotel, they may offer some complimentary soap as well. I have sensitive skin so I brought my own Dove bar soaps.
Travel sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner – I simply fill GoToob bottles with my shampoo from home.
Insect repellent – love Burt’s Bees repellant.
Emergen-C – This stuff is a dream when you’re feeling dehydrated or under the weather.
Small pack of tissues – I always carry this in my purse. You never know when you’ll be using a sketchy bathroom.
Small bottle of hand sanitizer – See note above.
Tampons – Consider the Lunette Cup instead of tampons.
E-reader/books/magazines – My iPad is the best purchase I have ever made! It allows me to download my Kindle books so I never need to worry about packing a ton of heavy books.
iphone and earphones
GoPro Camera and memory card
Chargers for all of your devices
Waterproof phone case – my iPhone 7 is waterproof.
Selfie stick – I just bought one and it is SO much better than long-arming it.
Reusable water bottle – It’s so important to stay hydrated wherever you go! I love Hydro Flask because it keeps your water cold for 12 hours.
Additional Packing Tips
Use packing bags and cubes (like from Eagle Creek) to save space in your suitcase, compress, and organize your things.
Put all liquids in a ziplock bag to avoid leaks.
Make sure that all clothing pieces work well together – try to stick to neutral colours, with 1-2 accent colours.