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The Ultimate Road Trip Packing List & Tips

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Updated November 5, 2016.

Here’s the ultimate road trip packing list you’ve been waiting for, plus travel tips . . .

. . . Everything you need for your next road trip adventure!

I’ve done the legwork for you and have put together a comprehensive packing list and a companion article stuffed with tried and true tips.

Bookmark this page to return to when you need to print off a packing list, and to get the latest tips from seasoned travel professionals and road trippers just like you.

Share this page with your family and friends.  It will help make preparing for road trips easier.



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Road Trip Packing List & Tips


Click on the links below to skip to the Road Trip Packing List or the tips you are looking for.



Tips to Prevent Altitude Sickness

Some bodies have trouble adjusting to the atmospheric changes accompanying high altitudes. Aridity and reduced oxygen at heights where the Earth’s atmosphere is thin results in more exposure to the sun’s strong cosmic rays and can leave even the healthiest of travelers very sick.

Ascend slowly to give your body the chance to acclimate.  It can take two to five days for some travelers to become comfortable at high altitudes.  If altitude sickness symptoms do not abate within a couple of hours of onset, descend in altitude until health returns.  If symptoms take a turn for the worse, seek professional medical help immediately to avoid pulmonary or brain trauma!

Stay hydrated.  Drink water, up to twice as much as normal, because the oxygen in water helps to compensate for the oxygen deprivation experienced due to thin air.

Increase your intake of potassium rich foods such as bananas, melons, dried fruits, and vegetables; they help the body to acclimate to high altitude.

Ease into physical activity at high altitudes to prevent oxygen deprivation, mental confusion and fatigue.

Wear sun protection; stay covered up by wearing hats, long sleeves and long pants to prevent sunburn and sun stroke.

Help prevent altitude sickness by taking homeopathic Arnica Montana before ascending heights and during the ascent.

===>Click here to download the Road Trip Packing List PDF so you can make notes and add new items to take with you on your next road trip.



Travel Clothing Tips

SCOTTeVEST RFID Travel Vest

Invest in a versatile travel wardrobe made up of timeless, cross-season, classic styling.  Each piece should be constructed of lightweight moisture-wicking, high-tech fabrics that are breathable, wrinkle-free, and that drip-dry overnight when hand washed. 

A classic blazer is a must-have travel essential.  Pair with jeans and a simple shirt as a light layer of warmth for a day excursion. For a night on the town, a blazer adds a polished touch to slacks, skirts or dresses. 

Mix-and-match and reversible apparel in basic colors (black, navy, tan, brown or gray) are the key to packing light and getting the most “looks” out of the fewest pieces.

Plan to wear each item you pack several times.  If laundry facilities are available, pack less and wash clothes along the way.

Pack no more than two pairs of comfortable shoes, one casual, one dressy.

Pack a pair of flip-flops; they are the lightest, most versatile foot gear.  Wear them in warm weather instead of sandals, or as slippers at your motel or in your RV.  They are also the perfect beach or poolside footwear.

The cramped conditions of long car rides and airline flights can sometimes cause blood to pool in your lower limbs and feet, and can result in Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).  Take care of your body and prevent DVT by wearing compression socks when enroute.  Today’s compression socks are very stylish!

Always pack a silk scarf to add wonderful color and styling to your basic travel wardrobe, and to serve as a lightweight layer of warmth in cooler conditions.  This versatile accessory is also indispensable for protecting your well-coifed up-do from disheveling breezes, preventing your sun hat from taking flight in a stiff wind and preventing sunburn on blistering days.  I’ve used my silk scarf to tag my black tote when flying, to flag down a cab in New York City, as a decorative belt to dress up my favorite travel skirt, and to tie my bags to a chair in a bustling restaurant to prevent them from being easily snatched.

To lighten your luggage weight, wear heavier/bulky items, such as your heaviest pair of shoes and a pair of blue jeans while en route. 

Coats count as a heavy item.  Wear your coat, or throw it over your arm, and stow it in the trunk, on the back seat or in an overhead bin.  Coats can be folded to use as pillows or as a blanket to help ward off chilly conditions while en route.  They are nice to keep at hand in case of unexpected weather conditions.

Umbrellas keep the rain off and make a lovely parasol, protecting sensitive skin from the sun’s damaging rays.  

Silk long underwear can double as pajamas.  Weather resistant jackets with zip-off arms can double as travel vests, and pants with zip-off legs can double as shorts. 

Choose apparel that seamlessly goes from day-tripping to night-life entertainment by simply adding a blazer, tie, scarf or dressy top.  

Women’s tank swimsuit tops double as tops for shorts, skirts or pants, or as camisoles when covered by a pretty blouse serving as a jacket.  Likewise, a well-chosen tunic blouse can serve as swimsuit cover-up.  

Men’s Supplex™ nylon shorts can double as swim trunks.

Blue jeans tend to blend in with the crowd and don’t shout “tourist”.  

Wearing military colors, such as khaki and camouflage, is unacceptable in many foreign countries.

Pack light layers to put on when cool and to peel off when warm.  Light layer suggestions include, silk long underwear, tee shirts, shirts/blouses, shirt jacs or sweaters, blazers, scarves/shawls, waterproof raincoats with hoods and hats.

When shopping for travel apparel, choose thin, lightweight items over heavier, bulky items. Choose dark colors over light; dark colors don’t show dirt or wear as readily as light colors do.

When flying, consider wearing comfortable slip-on shoes to make passing through airport security easier.

===>Click here to download the Road Trip Packing List PDF so you can make notes and add new items to take with you on your next road trip.


Insect Repellent Solutions

No matter where you go in the world, and in the most unexpected places, you will find biting insects. Be prepared with insect repellent solutions, such as specially designed clothing, accessories, wipes or sprays.  The most effective repellent we’ve found is Deepwoods Off™ (we use it so frugally, and infrequently, we are not concerned about the deet ingredient.  Also, we spray it on our clothes, not on our skin).

Insect bites are inevitable no matter where you travel to.  Include an insect bite remedy in your first aid kit.  Our favorites include, Sting Kill, AfterBite, and Ssssting Stop.

Many stewards and stewardess’s suggest placing an unwrapped bar of soap between the hotel mattress and box spring to prevent bed bugs.  While there is no scientific evidence this prevents bed bug infestation, neither is there evidence to the contrary.  Yet, respectable flight attendants swear by this simple insect prevention old wives tale.

===>Click here to download the Road Trip Packing List PDF so you can make notes and add new items to take with you on your next road trip.



Luggage and Packing Tips

Whether traveling by car, boat, train or airplane, think “light”.  Small, light bags with convenient access are easier to carry and to maneuver.  They also fit better in tight places, like small trunks, under seats and in overhead bins.

Use suitcase space wisely by packing socks inside of shoes.

Tuck belts and straps in around the edges, lining the sides and back of the suitcase before adding clothes.

Travel-size everything!  The items available are as creative and clever, as they are numerous.  This includes acquiring samples of your favorite cosmetics.

Use packing cubes and folders to organize, protect and keep clothes as wrinkle-free as possible. Travel gear like this helps to make the most of shrinking luggage space.

Rolling clothes into a compression bag to shrink the volume can mean the difference between fitting everything into a carry-on rather than a larger upright suitcase.  Still it’s best not to stuff your luggage . . . after all, you want to have room to pack all those souvenirs you bought at your bucket-list destination.

===>Click here to download the Road Trip Packing List PDF so you can make notes and add new items to take with you on your next road trip.



Tips to Prevent Motion Sickness


Acupressure Anti-nausea Motion Sickness Relief Wristbands

Choose a seat in the conveyance of your choice with the least motion, for example, a seat over a wing in an airplane, ship cabins located at low levels in the center of the ship and the front seat of an automobile.

Always face your direction of travel and near a window or vent that allows plenty of fresh air to flow over you.

Avoid reading while traveling.

Keep your eyes on a fixed point far in the horizon.

Avoid heavy meals, alcohol, and foods or odors that don’t agree with you.

Wear a pair of motion sickness relief wristbands.  These bands stimulate an acupressure pressure point to prevent nausea.

Ginger root is an amazing remedy for nausea.  Enjoy candied ginger, ginger tea or homemade ginger ale.

Peppermint is another natural herb for upset tummies.  Pack some peppermint tea; chew on fresh peppermint leaves, natural peppermint gum or candies.

A wonderfully effective homeopathic anti-nausea remedy that travels well is Ipecacuana.

Some travelers don’t mind the sleepy side effects of antihistamines, which help reduce nausea; Benadryl™ works especially well.

Other travelers prefer the traditional motion sickness reliever, Dramamine. 

===>Click here to download the Road Trip Packing List PDF so you can make notes and add new items to take with you on your next road trip.



Road Trip Travel Tips

AAA Warrior Road Kit

Always keep a well-stocked emergency kit in the trunk of your car.  Include a first aid kit, jumper cables, flares, a blanket and pillow, snacks, sanitizing hand wipes, small trash bags, large garbage bags, tire chains, a basic tool kit for small car repairs, tire gauge, a flashlight with extra batteries, duct tape, electrical tape, a jug of water, a quart or two of motor oil, window wash and some rags.

When on a road trip add a cooler filled with snacks and drinks.  

If traveling during the winter season or to a wilderness outback, add survival gear.

===>Click here to download the Road Trip Packing List PDF so you can make notes and add new items to take with you on your next road trip.



Security

RFID Blocking Sleeves for Credit Cards & Passports

Identification (ID) theft has gone high tech.  Protect your ID by using Radio Frequency Identification blocking technology (RFID). Slip your passport and credit cards into specially designed RFID sleeves or RFID wallets, purses, backpacks, totes and clothing to protect your valuable information.

Prevent pick pockets from stealing your valuables.  The safest place to carry a wallet is in your front pants pocket.  Better still is to keep your wallet in a front, zipper pocket or in a hidden (zipped) pocket.  

The best protection is to keep your valuables and the bulk of your cash in an undercover security wallet; keep only the smallest amount you need for your daily excursions in a small wallet in your front pants pocket.

For maximum security, invest in slash-proof travel gear with locks and gadgets to prevent theft and to keep your valuables secure.

Choose travel clothing with built in RFID blocking protection and hidden security pockets.

Bring two credit cards and carry them in separate places in case one is lost or stolen.  Leave all other cards at home in a secure place, including your debit card.  

Notify your credit card companies of your travel dates and plans before leaving home.  To protect your identification, credit card companies and banks have tightened their vigilance and will put a “stop” on your cards if they notice a sudden change in spending habits or out-of-town charges.

Don’t carry a wallet if you don’t have to.  Split up your cash and stash it several places on your body, in RFID safe undercover wallets, under the footbeds of your shoes, and in hidden security pockets built into your travel clothing.  Do the same with your credit cards and any other valuable identification items.  

Never leave extra cash in a hotel/motel room, an RV, a tent or an automobile.  

If traveling as a couple, split the cash between two persons.

===>Click here to download the Road Trip Packing List PDF so you can make notes and add new items to take with you on your next road trip.


More Packing Tips You Might Enjoy

Clean Travel Laundry in Minutes to Keep Clothes Clean & Fresh Smelling

How to Pack a Suitcase for a Road Trip

How to Pack a Tote for a Road Trip

How to Use a Travel Clothesline to Dry Clothes in Record Time, Wrinkle-free

Packing for a Road Trip--What you need to Go!


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