Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ten Best Things to Pack for a Road Trip

As promised here's a post on the packing and planning of our trip.

 First up is the 10 best things we're glad we packed.

Now the first to items are the 2 most helpful for an organization nut, OCD tendancies, semi-type A person like me. 

1. Plastic Storage Boxes in Different Sizes: We used these boxes a TON. There were different sizes and each was labeled so we didn't have to lift the box up and out of the trunk to see what was inside. We had about 5 shoe box size ones for 1 for our first aid kit, 2 for small camping gear stuff, 1 snacks, and 1 for everday/in the car use stuff like sunscreen, bug spray, anti-bacterial gel, etc. We had 2 medium size boxes; 1 for our toiletries and 1 for car stuff & tools like a screwdriver, extra oil, funnel, jumper cables, etc. We also had 1 large box that for shoes that was kept in the trunk. While I admit I did over pack with shoes, this box was very helpful for 2 reasons. First it allowed us to have more space in our duffel bags for our clothes. Second because this box held shoes we weren't wearing all the time like our hiking boots, we could leave it in the trunk without having to bring it in each night.

2. Transparent Zipper Pouches: I did start out the trip with only 2 of these and came home with a total of about 10. You may wonder how did that happen? It's a little thing called Marshall's. Rachel and I were in the Marshall's at Mall of America and found a multi-pack of these zipper pouches for $13. They had all different sizes that we ended up using for EVERYTHING. We used it for all of our electronic cords, in the day pack for our sunscreen and other little stuff so it wouldn't get lost, I put my jewelry in a small one, our plastic silverware went in one. There were so many times we used them that I'm glad we found them early on in the trip. It was so handy to just be able to grab one of them for something rather than dig around in the black hole of the car or my tote bag.  

3. Wool Socks: Now I'm sure you're thinking "wool socks, but wasn't there extremely hot weather?" or " Are you crazy?" And my answers to those questions are: yes it was really hot but not everywhere we went especially at night and yes I'm crazy and even Rachel thought I was a little too for packing them but hey we all over pack from time to time. So I randomly threw in my pair of wool socks and I'm really glad I did. When we were in Yellowstone it was comfortable during the day but then got really cold once the sun went down so they kept my feet warm while I slept.

4. Bandanas: I can't take credit for packing this one because my mom gave Rachel and I two bandanas each before we left and told us to get them wet, then wrap them around our heads or neck when we were outside. Like any smart daughter I listened to my mother. Her tip did come in handy when we were hiking around the Badlands in the sun. They also were handy for things like a make shift rope for our mini flashlight in the tent and as face towels at the campsites because they only had air dryers.

5. A & D Cream: This was Rachel's idea and I'm glad I listened. When we were packing the first aid kit I asked if we needed it and Rachel said just throw it in since we had room. Well I'm I glad I did because I ended up getting a cold that left my nose raw and sore. This cream literally saved my nose from me wanting to chop it off from the pain.

6. Pouch Water Bottles: Another contribution of Rachel's. She got us two of these pouch water bottles from Whole Foods before the trip. They are my new favorite thing. They're BPA free, they roll up, they freeze, they're lightweight, they clip onto things, and they prevented us from using one of my least favorite things- bottled water. While I do have the metal water bottles these were much more convenient and light-weight when we were out for the day. We would clip them to our bags rolled up and then use them when we wanted. 

7. Graphic USA: While we did mention this many times in previous posts I love it so much I have to talk about it. On my Christmas list I asked for a road trip book and Andy really came through. Even though we were only in 6 of the 25 cities listed it was still helpful in giving us different places to go then the typical travel book. Each city in the book has a list of places to eat, stay, see, shop, and experience written by designers who are living/have lived in the city. I can't wait to use it on my next adventure and hope that I visit all of the cities in the book.

8. Let's Go Roadtripping, USA!: This was our most useful "typical" travel book. Nearly every place we visited was listed in here with the exception of Dallas. It's a student travel guide so it was helpful in finding things that were on the less expensive side. It also came in handy when we were in the planning stages of our trip and mapping out our route. In the front of the book is a section of tips for road tripping as well as different road trip movies, playlists, games, and books. 

9. Binder: This binder was another organization tool for the trip. Inside we had a binder pouch that held any loose papers, articles, or map that we needed for the trip. What else did we keep in there? Here's a list below:
  • A list of addresses of people we wanted to send postcards to.
  • A list Rachel made of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives for the cities we would/could be visiting.
  • A list of important phone numbers in case of any emergency. (Thankfully we never had to look at this list).
  • A list of our medical and healthcare information. (Again thankfully we never had to use this list).
  • All of our hotel/campsite conformation emails.
  • A list of our shared expenses
10. Binder Pouches: Are you sensing we liked pouches? Maybe a little too much. A week or so into the trip we soon were collecting a lot of S.W.A.G.(stuff. we. all. get.) from the places we had seen. It was getting everywhere and damaged. So we each picked up another binder pouch to keep our maps, tickets, postcards, etc. in one spot.

Two things that are not pictured but still very handy on a roadtrip: A book-light and a small notebook. The book-light we used inside our tent so that we could read at night. It gave off enough light but it wasn't so bright that it attracted a lot of bugs. The small notebook we used to keep track of license plates we saw, how many miles we drove, who payed for gas and how much.

So there ya have it, a list of the best things we're glad we packed for the road trip.