I think one of the biggest questions anyone asks when taking a road trip or traveling in general is what should I pack? And how much? There are obvious things like underwear and your toothbrush (at least I hope those are obvious), but what about things like sweatshirts and shoes? Below is what I am packing for my 2 ½ week trip to Colorado, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and Dallas, Texas. Most of the items I find essential, but I did pack a few nonessential items that I will point out. Let’s begin!
So first is what takes up the most space in a person’s suitcase: clothes. I am a big believer in packing clothing that can be mixed and matched to make multiple outfits. This can save a lot of room in your suitcase. Let’s go through this picture left to right. In the bag at the top I have 7 pairs of underwear, 2 bras, a sports bra, 5 pairs of socks, and a bathing suit. These I believe are all necessary items. I will be hiking a bit so socks and a sports bra will be handy. If you put these items in a plastic bag and squeeze all the air out it saves a lot of room in your bag. Not to mention all your intimacy items won’t go flying when you need to take out a shirt or something. Below the bag is my Columbia fleece jacket and a light weight running jacket. Some of the places we are going will only get up to 65 degrees Fahrenheit so the Columbia jacket is a need for me. However, I could go without the running jacket.
In the next column I have pajamas, a pair of jeans, a pair of leggings, two pairs of regular shorts, a pair of running shorts, and a skirt. The leggings and a pair of the regular shorts are unnecessary. I always travel in running shorts because they are very comfortable. Leggings I will wear, but I could go without them. The skirt I packed matches a tank top and a t-shirt I am bringing. These I plan on wearing when we go out to eat and in Vegas. All of my bottoms match more than one top so I can create different outfits. You can wear your pants several times before washing them, so with these options I should be set for most of the trip.
The third column has two t-shirts, four tank tops, a pair of sandals, and a pair of flip flops. I wear tank tops more than t-shirts which is why I packed so many. Always pack what you know you will wear, but no more than that! My sandals will also serve as “nicer” shoes for when we go out to eat, and flip flops I wear everywhere in the summer.
The final column has my tennis shoes, my hat, sunglasses, watch, necklace, and a beach towel. Since we are hiking some sturdy shoes are a must. I wear my hat whenever my hair starts to look unacceptable and I don’t have access to a shower. Sunglasses are pretty self-explanatory. As for my necklace, watch and towel these are unnecessary. I wear my watch and necklace every day, but I don’t think I will get much use out of my towel because we aren’t going to a beach as far as I know. I should have left this item at home.
Next up is all my toiletries. Keep in mind we are driving the whole way so I do not need to worry about a fluid restriction like I would if we were flying. In the top row of this picture the necessary items are bug spray, my face wash and lotion, one tube of sunscreen, shampoo and conditioner, and toothpaste. Unfortunately, God has given me very dry, sensitive skin so I have to pack extra items to prevent skin breakdown. The Neutrogena sunscreen is one of those items I use on my face to prevent breakouts and allergic reactions. Perfume is just something extra I packed as well as aloe. The Extraordinary Oil I use to help comb out my hair. It’s technically not an essential, but I use it every day so I brought it along.
In the bottom row my essential items are deodorant, hair comb, hair ties and bobby pins, toothbrush, skin cream, floss, razor, q-tips, and Band-Aids. Honestly, I could probably get Band-Aids if I needed them, but I find it handy to have a few just in case. Unnecessary items are headache medicine, headband, make-up, fingernail clippers and file, and tissues. I personally do not use these items all the time and you can easily buy them when necessary which is why I consider all these nonessential items.
Finally, on the left side I have two toiletry pouches, a gallon size plastic bag, and an emergency feminine kit. I actually only ended up bringing one of the toiletry pouches. I put all my toiletries that won’t leak in here. In the gallon size plastic bag I store all the toiletries that could leak. This prevents things from exploding in my suitcase while traveling. For all the ladies reading this I find it nice to have a pouch with a few girl supplies just in case. If I do happen to need extra items I can always go purchase more. I also like to keep some medication in here in case I start feeling sick.
These last two items I had not picked up yet when I originally took my picture. Once again my skin requires specific body wash and lotion so these I find necessary. You can get these small travel size items at Walmart and sometimes even Dollar General. The pink tube can hold 3oz so these are handy for storing liquids when flying. All these items I can fit into my gallon sized bag and one of the toiletry pouches.
Currently I am taking a summer class and as you know I am somewhat of an amateur photographer so this category is my favorite! On the left I have my GoPro stick which I use for various situations. I also have my battery charger, GoPro camera, phone charger, flashlight (unnecessary), laptop and charger, GoPro cord and suction cup, my Kindle, two earbud sets, and my camera bag. (The extra earbud set is unnecessary.) Finally, I have my Nikon Coolpix camera. I was torn between bringing just this camera or both my Nikon and my DSLR. In the end I left my DSLR at home because it only takes pictures. I wanted to take some video shots as well and didn’t want to take two cameras with a bunch of lenses. Sad face 😦 Most of my camera supplies fits into my camera bag. I love to read so my kindle is really nice. I just download all the books I want so I don’t have to carry a heavy bag full. The only other item not in this picture is my phone which I took this photo with.
These are a few last random items. My backpack I use as a day pack, wallet, water bottle, pen, pencil, and a deck of cards. Obviously the cards are unnecessary, but I love playing a game of Gin with friends and family. The other item I didn’t include is my pillow…I know unnecessary…but I love my pillow. Just to clear things up I would not bring my pillow if I were flying.
I am not including my school stuff because that is a whole other beast. I can assure you, though, everything I mentioned here and my school supplies all fits into my duffle bag and backpack.
What do you pack for vacation? Is there anything you recommend bringing or leaving?
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