Suitcases. Some prefer to pack a huge bag because they can, others bring the bare minimum and usually regret it. I used to be both of these people. I have realized the importance in finding a good balance in my packing.
This balance was found in the rolling carry on suitcase. I'm setting off on my 6 day vacation in a carryon. That's not as advantageous as those girls who can stuff three weeks of clothing into a case the same size, but it's a start for me.
I pack camera gear, school books, and snacks in my bag.
When going on a trip, I like to pack a shirt of some kind for each day, and then one extra. I can't rewear a shirt multiple days, without washing it. Not sure why.
So a typical packing list for me looks like this for a 6 day trip:
- 4 shirts (plus the one I travel in)
- 2 tank tops
- a light hoodie for summer evenings
- a pashmina
- two pairs of comfortable shoes. For me, that is one pair of vegan toms - I can't wear the classics long term. Something about the leather on my feet causes blisters. The vegan ones have canvas insoles that are much more comfortable. And, for the other pair, some plush Bobs. We will see how this goes. I bought these shoes for this trip and hopefully they perform as well as the vegan toms.
- 1 pair of flip flops for the pool, beach, and running down to get continental breakfast.
- swim suit and cover up that could work as a dress if we end up going out somewhere for a nicer dinner.
- 2 pairs of shorts and one pair of jeans - you never know!
- pajamas (1 pair is good enough for me for a week. No need to pack a pair for each night.
- aforementioned cosmetic bags from yesterday's post.
-full size Chi straightener and thermal bag. I know they make smaller ones but I can't justify throwing down the same amount of money for a full size as a mini.
The hotel will have a blow dryer. I don't need any fancy brushes.
- Underwear. My rule of thumb - 3 more pairs than the amount of days you will be gone. Underwear doesn't take up a lot of space, and it's much better to always have fresh underwear available if you need it! If you don't, less laundry to do when you get back!
- full chargers for all electronics. Ipad, phone, camera. I like to bring a travel strip as hotels usually don't have more than two or three outlets available in the whole place, bathroom included.
The next part - Your roadtripping car packing.
I have so many fond memories of loading up the family van with my parents, my sister, Great Grandma Velma and the two dogs to trek into the great unknown! I learned a lot of important things from my dad over the years when it comes to necessities you need in your car for a trip (I keep them in the car at all times).
- steering wheel lock. Always use.
- sun shield for your car
- as you always should, don't leave valuables in your car.
Other things you should have:
- first aid kit. Mine is complete with gloves and a CPR mask. I don't want to perform CPR on a stranger on the side of the road without a barrier between me and her/him.
- jumper cables. I took off on my first solo road trip in my 1997 mustang and got to the first gas station, turned off the car to fuel up, and then couldn't get the car to start. Thank goodness I was in west Texas, where everyone in the world will help you out if you ask nicely. I had to get four different jumps on that trip until I could get to the place we bought the battery in Waxahachie (thankfully that was my destination!)
- if you have one, a portable battery charger could save you from the same issue if you are driving somewhere a little more remote.
- spare tire and jack (and the car manual if you don't know how to change the tire!)
- car plugs for your USB cables.
- umbrella, panchos, rain jacket
I keep a bag in my boot that has: a change of clothes, a towel, a blanket, leather work gloves, a spare leash (more on traveling with fur babies coming soon), socks, a pair of tennis shoes, a hat, and a bandana
Also important is your glove compartment: vehicle registration, current insurance, a small memo pad with the vehicles history on it, as well as information for your emergency contacts and any medical info that may be needed in case you are, God forbid, incapacitated. Better to be safe than sorry.
Food and drink:
- cam and I bought a hard sided, canvas bag cooler for road trips. It's great for just the two of us. We freeze some bottles of water, and put everything else in cold.
- we also bring snacks. Chez mix, goldfish crackers, and granola bars are good go-tos. This trip I will be making sandwiches the morning we leave for some more sustaining fuel.
- trash bags!!! I like to loop a plastic grocery bag off the e-brake and drape to the side of the center console. This usually shouldn't disturb the passenger. Another option is to tie a bag behind the driver's seat.
- music!! CDs, mp3, audiobook, whatever your fancy. Don't let the car go quiet - this could create sleepy conditions for the driver.
- if your trip is extremely long, make frequent stops to stretch. Change drivers if possible. Keep the conversation going! Have fun! Laughter is a great way to make the time pass by quickly.
- make sure to have your camera readily available. You never know what you could see!
This concludes my basic suitcase and vehicle packing tips.
What do you do to help keep things organized in the car?
Joy is a photographer, wife and mommy based out of Albuquerque, NM. She is available by appointment for weddings, events and sessions in New Mexico.