Packing for a trip at the best of times can be stressful but knowing you’ll be on the road for a few weeks miles from home makes it even trickier.
So after my recent US road trip I thought I would share some of my own tips when it comes to packing for a long haul excursion holiday. Any time away from home can be stressful without your home comforts so packing well makes all the difference. I have personally always been really laid back when it comes to packing but I know that it’s not as carefree an experience for most as it is for me hence this article 😉
I’d like to think I have some valuable experience having spent a few weeks on the road living out of a suitcase but feel free to add to this list in the comments below the post. Here goes!
- Combine his & hers in both suitcases. As much as I love regularyly trusting airport baggage staff to ensure my case makes it to the same country as I do (at the same time), we all know that once in a while a suitcase goes walkies. I have been unfortunate enough to lose my case a few times in transit so I take every precaution to not let that happen again when travelling long haul. If you are travelling with a friend, partner or family member make sure to split your clothes, shoes, bits & pieces into two cases. As tempting as it may be to keep your own items separate it’s not worth the risk if you are hitting the road straight away. It will be even harder for the airlines to get your missing case to you when you have every intention of driving away from the airport upon landing. I personally then switched back upon arrival into the US so that we each had our own stuff in our own cases to live out of 😉
- Label your cases – making sure your address is on your case is really important, following on from my last point, should your case go on a wander and your flight information sticker gets lost it’s always worth having the additional safety of a addressed luggage tag – sorry to state the obvious here but I have travelled with so many people who don’t have a luggage label, including myself on one occasion and I spent the whole flight worrying about it becoming lost!
- Fly out underweight – we’ve all been there, crossing our fingers at the airport when the desk assistant asks you to place your case on the scales. It may make the cut on the way out there (in most cases by the skin of our teeth!) but even if you don’t add a single item to that case it will be slightly heavier on the way back and the fees when travelling out of a foreign country are almost always more expensive than the way out.
- Pack plastic carrier bags – This is my top tip for any trip that involves some level of activity. Whether they end up being used for dirty washing, muddy boots, wet swimsuits or to double wrap that exploded shampoo bottle – they always come in handy!
- Place all valuables in your carry-on suitcase – I personally try and travel sans valuables but sometimes you do need to pack that cute Chanel right? Or your fancy new camera? They need to go in something that will not leave your sight. So pack them in your carry on suitcase and pack a separate bag for all you along haul flight necessities.
- Chose the right set of luggage – Having a matching set of luxury baggage is a real treat when travelling for a long period of time. Obvious aesthetics aside, having a quality set of luggage is so important for an action filled trip. I was lucky enough to have this brand new set of Ted Baker beauties and it made packing and unpacking so often, a really fun experience. These particular cases are my idea of luggage heaven in this stunning burgundy colour with the pretty graphite panels. They have a fabulous patterned inner lining and perfectly designed inner compartments. In each size (cabin,medium,large) they have two large compartments of equal zip that meet in the middle with an eternal zip and coded lock. One side has a mesh fabric zip up to secure looser items and one side has 2 seat belt style luggage straps keep clothes tight and in place. The handles and details are genuine leather and with a nifty four wheel design they glide like a dream! The ease of movement was so important on this particular trip as we were in and out of accommodation daily. In my opinion, paying a little extra for luxury luggage is more than worth the benefits.
- Pack some Dylon Travel Wash – I have used this little yellow squeezy beauty for years now and I swear by it. You just need some warm water in a sink and a small amount of product so it’s fab if you need to wash some undies or you favourite Tee on the go.
- Don’t over pack appliances – Adapters are a must and your phone and camera charger of course but excessive electricals are a waste of space and most importantly weight on a road trip. We stayed in some of the lowest standard of motels and all of them were equipped with an iron and hairdryer.
- Pack beach towels – So, I was personally caught out on this one! Being so used to hotels providing towels for both accommodation and for leisure I forgot to pack beach towels for the trip. Big Mistake. The motels, again, had what we needed and therefore a towel per person was fine in the rooms but it was the off road adventures and spontaneous lake dips that caught us out. So be sure to pack a couple of towels to avoid the hours drip drying post swim 😉
- Pack a road map – Even though we were equipped with a brand new Sat-Nav and both our mobile phone’s google maps our paper map was indeed our best friend! Having the paper map gives you a sense of location on a long trip and it was great for exploring. I would spot somewhere on the paper map, google image it and if it looked interesting we’d simply take that route. A map was also especially handy for Route 66 as most of the roads have switched up from the main interstate and navigation systems will send you on the wrong route far too often. You end up missing all the fun vintage Route 66 stops so my advice is to stick to the good old fashion map read and ignore technology on this occasion 😉 I bought my map from WH Smith’s before heading out to the states.