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Packing for a long trip can be a daunting task. Do you need to pack all of that water? Do you need clothes for every day? My friend Ashley and I went on a 35-day cross-country road trip last summer and we made some notes about what to pack. Today we are sharing them with you! This is not an exhaustive list, but contains some information that we found helpful! Your trip may be different than ours and you may have specific needs, but this is a general starting point!
Ashley and I stayed with a lot of friends, family, and yes, even some people we had just met! Whenever we stayed with family, we were able to do a load of laundry. You do not need to pack for your whole trip! If you aren’t staying with people, find a laundromat or use the hotel laundry! Depending on your agenda, you may even need to pack a week’s worth or less of clothes if you have the ability to do laundry more often.
Because you never know, and your grandma is always right.
You won’t want to be using an umbrella in the mountains, trust me.
Some local restaurants we stopped at only used cash, and you will always need loose change for parking meters! Sometimes an ATM isn’t nearby, so it’s best to have some cash on hand. We stored our cash in different spots throughout our car and bags so that if something got stolen we didn’t lose everything!
You will get the munchies on the road and you won’t want to stop! It’s best to bring a whole variety of snacks and not all the same thing. Ashley and I packed a BIG box of snacks that we would refill every so often!
Be sure you have a water bottle! I also brought a carabiner that I used to hook my water bottle to my backpack while hiking. For the car, I planned on bringing 3 cases of water, but then my mom reminded me I didn’t need that much. I only needed to buy one and then we could buy more on the trip when we got low! Don’t weigh your car down with too much water, but be sure you always have some on hand!
You might end up camping, so be prepared! Ashley and I didn’t bring a tent, so we couldn’t camp even if we wanted to!
You’ll need them.
It’s a great idea to bring a separate smaller bag to keep a couple changes of clothes in in case you stop somewhere to stay a night or two and don’t want to lug your entire suitcase inside!
We ran out of music and podcasts pretty quickly on our trip, and since we spent a lot of time without cell service, we weren’t always able to download more! Take the time to download extra podcasts and music on your phone for offline listening, and bring some physical CDs or audiobooks in case your phone ever stops working!
Don’t just rely on your regular charger! You may not always have a place to plug it in, so a car charger is a must! Ashley was resourceful and brought a portable charger too! We were able to use that on the go and recharge it in the car.
This is a must! One day while hiking in Zion National Park, we decided to hike a small portion of The Narrows, which is a canyon where hikers trek through a river! I only had one pair of tennis shoes, so they got wet. The next day we hiked over 7 miles in Bryce Canyon, and I didn’t have my tennis shoes, so I wore Toms. BIG MISTAKE. My feet were hurting for the next few days! If I had brought extra tennis shoes or hiking boots that wouldn’t have been a problem.
As always, let me know if you have any questions!