As I write this, I’m sitting in the passenger seat of my fiancé’s Subaru Outback, sneaking glances at Mt. Hood as we drive east towards Idaho. Today is the first day of our road trip to Corpus Christi, TX, where we’ll spend a few days looking for our new home.
Since we’re going to leave the car in Texas and fly back to Oregon before packing up for good, I needed to be both road trip and airplane ready. The following tips have helped me stay organized in style for several prior trips and, hopefully, this one, too!
1. Begin with a packing list. This helps streamline the packing process and gives you better sense of what you really need to pull out of your closet. You’ll need to consider the kind of events you’ll be attending and plan—are you camping, going to a formal wedding, meeting up with old college friends for a tour of Napa Valley? There’s no need to bring a cocktail dress if you aren’t going anywhere fancy! Also, be sure to check the forecast when writing your list. Does the area get a lot of rain, even in summer? This would be a good thing to know!
(I also like to end with a packing list of last minute items: phone charger, toothbrush, etc. This helps making it out the door a breeze!)
2. Figure out your best bet for luggage. With their boxy structure, roller board suitcases are best at keeping clothing stack neat and organized. They’re also more convenient if you’ve got to lug it through an airport. Their more rigid structure, however, may not be the most space efficient. If you’re trying to avoid checking a bag for your flight, a carry-on-sized duffel bag may give your more space for your buck. Since this trip will last over a week, I packed my duffel to capacity.
3. Pack clothes you can layer. I usually pack several camis in different colors (they don’t take up too much space), and pack a cardigans and sheer tops I can mix and match and layer over them. This makes we feel like I’ve got a variety of outfits without having to bring my entire wardrobe. Your layered ensembles will come in handy when you’re dealing with an unpredictable climate—or even if you’re just transitioning from an outdoor picnic to a chilly movie theater.
4. Roll it up. Rolling your clothes can save space and prevent creases. I typically roll, not fold, my bulkier items like jeans and sweatshirts.
5. Pack toiletries like a pro. Here’s how.
6. Be a bag lady. Wrap your shoes in grocery bags so they don’t muss up your clothing. While you’re at it ring a few empty bags for dirty clothes. Finally, whether you’re road tripping or jet setting, double wrap your liquids!
7. Reading material. Bring it. Period.
8. Don’t forget the special things that make you feel at home. I like to pack a favorite T-shirt for sleeping in. After a long day on the road or out with friends, it’s nice to slip into something familiar before crawling into an unfamiliar bed. What make you feel at home? Your favorite oatmeal soap? A small candle for your mediation area? Make room for it. It will make you smile.
9. Organize your important documents—and keep them in one, safe but easy-to-access place. These may include your itinerary, boarding passes, driver’s license, passport, insurance cards, and emergency phone numbers (yes, it’s good to write them down and have them on your phone!).
Also in Travel: 5 Tips for Healthy Eating While Traveling
Photos: Mary Hood