Packing list for a 10-day road trip in the US: what to bring and what not to bring

In the grand tradition of packing lists, I thought I’d finish my tales of travelling across California, Arizona and Nevada with more detail than you could ever have wanted as to what I brought along for the trip.


I’m especially proud of my packing on this Road trip essentials, as I brought a ridiculous amount of clothes and shoes and yet somehow managed to fit it all into a teeny tiny suitcase and bag. Now this wasn’t just a case of self-induced masochism but rather a necessity: I had specifically pushed for renting a Volkswagen Beetle cabriolet and I had checked online and found that it had a teeny tiny luggage space in the back. My aunt and I therefore agreed to pack the absolute bare minimum and to bring a maximum of one small suitcase plus a small bag. Somehow I managed to achieve this feat – only to arrive at the airport in LA to find, of course, that my cheeky aunt had completely disregarded this agreement and brought her entire wardrobe. Luckily I am The Packing Master and I therefore managed to stow it all into the teeny tiny car boot in true Mary Poppins style. Yay me.

So here goes…

1 x small suitcase (hand luggage size)
1 x bag (I found a good-sized one at Accessorize)
1 x large handbag (with room for everything including laptop and SLR camera)
1 x small handbag for evenings

1 x pair of ballerinas
1 x pair of sandals
1 x pair of Toms
1 x pair of wedges for evenings

2 x pairs of skinny jeans
1 x pair of comfy trousers

3 x short-sleeved tops
4 x vest tops

Dresses and skirts:
2 x long dresses (1 x beachy, 1 x evening – one of these would have been enough but, hey, you can never have too many dresses)
1 x short dress
1 x “nice” evening dress
1 x denim skirt
1 x short skirt (bought at the airport at the start of the trip and I wore it almost every day!)

Underwear and swimwear:
14 x pairs of underwear (YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH UNDERWEAR!)
3 x bras (1 x white, 1 x black, 1 x nude strapless)
1 x pair of socks, for the plane only
1 x swimsuit, never used (but could have been useful in hotel pools or if we had gone kayaking as planned)

Jumpers and cardigans:
3 x cardigans (2 x short colourful ones, 1 x long black)

1 x denim jacket

1 x workout top
1 x sports bra
1 x pair of workout bottoms
1 x pair of trainers
(Actually used. Several times!)

For sleeping:
1 x pyjama top and bottoms
1 x eye mask and ear plugs

1 x pair of sunglasses
1 x scarf (useful mainly for the plane rides as well as crazy air conditioned restaurants)
1 x hat (bought in Santa Monica – very useful for avoiding sunstroke with the top down in the convertible! And would have been useful in the Grand Canyon)
1 x pack of gold tattoos, an absolute necessity
2 x flower hairbands, also an absolute necessity
1 x simple bracelet
5 x pairs of earrings

Small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, face wash, face cream, body lotion
Tangle Teezer brush (this is the only brush I use these days! So useful for long hair like mine)
Cleansing wipes
Deodorant, perfume
Nail travel kit including scissors, nail file and tweezers
Nail polish
Cotton buds
Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
Lip salve with SPF, Vaseline
Sun cream, for face and body
Hand cream
Make-up – mascara, eyeliner, concealer, tinted moisturiser, blusher, lip gloss
Anti-bacterial hand gel
Mosquito repellant and treatment
Hairbrush, hair grips and elastics
Wash bag*
*I like Cath Kidston’s Cosmetic Roll Cases – they come in a larger size (it’s huge!) and a smaller one, which I use for this type of trip. The detachable pockets and the hook for hanging it make it super practical.

Migraine sprays
Anti-histamine tablets
Melatonin tablets – whether it’s a placebo effect or real, I find these help me avoid jet lag completely these days

Macbook Air (11 inch) plus charger (I’ve sold my iPad on eBay now so only travel with my laptop these days)
iPhone 6 plus, plus charger
Nikon D5100 with 18-200mm Lens plus charger
GoPro HERO3+ plus charger and monopod
USB sticks, memory card, memory card reader

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