I quit my job, packed up my car and hit the road for 2 months. I had minimal road trip experience but plenty of Google searching later, I had a plan of where I was going and what I was going to bring with me. I ended up bringing so many extra things that I didn’t need and unnecessarily took up precious space in my car. As a result, I have compiled this list to help others pack.

Here are a few items I found that really helped:

Arrange what you think you’ll need, cut it in half. Then bring only a portion of the half.

Except water, bring double. 

Bring reusable bottles. Gallon sized bottles. Refill them everywhere.

Wet wipes and dry shampoo

These are pretty self explanatory but it’s a nice reminder.

Microfiber towels

Cuts down on space and dries 10 times faster than regular towels. A gift from the gods. Or science.


All the podcasts. Music will become repetitive. Audio books will get old. You’ll feel trapped in silence. A menagerie of podcasts will set you free.

Extra charging pack for your phone.

This will come in handy so often. Your phone will likely be trying to find signal or internet or taking photos. it dies much quicker than you’d hope.


I’m bad about moisturizing to begin with so I didn’t think to bring any lotion with me. But with the changes in humidity, temperature and environment, my skin was like death valley within a week!

National Parks Pass.

If you’re going to be camping, it’ll save you a bunch. It’s $80 for a year and it more than pays for itself in waived entrance fees into National Parks.


This one is a given but even with diligent application and slightly-thorough reapplications, the tan/burn lines from my hiking pack and shirts were quite rampant.


This was actually a gift from a wonderful host in Phoenix, AZ because of all its necessary applications. Keep the sun off your head. Dunk it in ice water and wrap around your neck to cool off. Wipe sweat off. Plus, you can easily tie it to your pack and you’re good to go.

Your own TP.

Sometimes there’s none in the bathrooms. Sometimes it’s worse than tissue paper. Sometimes it’s just nice to treat yo’ self.

BONUS: Things I Brought But Didn’t Need

  • Fancy Camera. I used my phone 100% of the time, the camera added a security issue having to leave it in my car.
  • Magazines/books. I wish I would’ve read more. But also if I had, I would’ve missed out on so much.
  • Cookware/dishware. Some is good, but likely you’ll wash it after each use so more than one or two is unnecessary.
  • Rain suit. Umbrella worked well enough. So does hanging in your car.
  • Flashlights. A headlamp and LED lantern saw me through the dark nights just fine.



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