Packing essentials for our USA roadtrip

Travel Packing List for the USA

I woke up this morning in a bit of a panic. This was brought on by the realisation that we have just five days left in the UK before we fly to New York. I started this summer with lists of plans and projects to tackle, I had articles and e-books to write, research to undertake for our move to Europe after Christmas and of course, things to organise for our fast-approaching trip to the US. Have I managed to tick even half those projects off my task list? Not even close, but we have had some amazing catch-up time with family and friends, so it’s definitely been a summer well spent.

Hiking in Batad, the Philippines

Hiking with my beloved Osprey backpack in the Philippines

*Update: you can read our complete 2016 New England Fall Foliage Guide here. This includes tips on where on when to see the best foliage, what to eat, which festivals to visit, how much our fall trip to New England cost and our favourite destinations in New England.*

Our US Travel Packing List

Despite my panic, our plans are already in good shape for the US. To avoid expensive autumn prices in New England we booked our accommodation months ago through AirB&B, so we already have an itinerary planned. Today we went through our clothes and gear, which really helped us get everything organised. We haven’t published a packing post for a long time, so if you’re interested to read about our travel gear essentials or are just a bit nosy like me, here’s a look at what we’re taking on our three-month US adventure.

Bags and Packing Aids

We are still using the original Osprey packs we set off from the UK with in 2013. They’re a bit grubby but they’re extremely durable and comfy to carry.  We use compression packs and packing cubes to organise and condense our gear so that most of our things fit into our main packs. We have added a cute 20L bag which we’ll use as a daypack and to keep our valuables with us when we travel on buses. We’re also taking a fold-up holdall with us which we picked up in Vietnam in case we buy anything while we’re there.

Osprey travel backpacks

Osprey Aura 35L
Osprey Atmos 38L

Karrimor U-Bahn 20L day pack and packaway holdall

Karrimor U-Bahn 20L Backpack
Fold-up holdall from Vietnam

Compression bags for travel packing

2 Eurohike compression sacks for our dirty clothes
2 Vango small compression sacks for our underwear
2 Vango large compression sacks for the rest of our clothes
Eagle Creek packing cube to store our toiletries and medicines


Most of our electronics have been with us since the beginning too; our GF3 camera and Kindles, external hard drive and iPhone. We also use our old silver Acer, which is still going strong, unlike the extra one we picked up in Indonesia which only lasted a few months before the hard drive got fried. We’re hoping travelling with one laptop will work this time because we’ll only be using it to update the blog, browse and Skype; we’re not planning on working online. A few things we’ve added include Andrew’s new Lumia phone which has a great camera on it, a Tentacle gadget adapter which Andrew won online and a Three sim card which we’ll use to contact AirB&B hosts in America.

Our Electronics for travelling in the USA

Panasonic Lumix GF3 Camera (which we used to take this picture), case and charger
16gb and 8gb Sandisk camera cards
Acer Aspire 11.1 inch laptop, case and charger
Kindle PaperWhites, cases and chargers
Memory stick
2 sets of headphones (only one pictured)
1 iPhone 4 and charger
Nokia Lumia 730 and charger
Skross PRO PLUS World Adapter
Three Sim Card
External hard drive and wire

Amy’s Clothing

Packing for travel in the US has been very different from packing for Asia. This time we’ve included bulkier cold-weather items like fleeces, scarves, cardigans and coats. We’re planning to layer tops on to keep warm and we’ve stuck to jeans, which is what we’d wear during the autumn back in the UK.

Amy's tops for our USA roadtrip

USA cold weather gear for Amy

Amy's jeans and shorts for the USA

2 pairs of jeans
1 pair of shorts
8 tops
1 zip-up fleece
1 fleece
1 cardigan
1 thin jumper
1 scarf
1 coat
2 bras
8 pairs of socks
10 sets of underwear

Andrew’s Clothing

Andrew's tops for the USA

Andrew's trousers and shorts for our USA roadtrip

1 pair of jeans
1 pair of trousers
2 pairs of shorts
8 tops
1 zip-up fleece
1 fleece
2 hoodies
1 coat
1 hat
10 sets of underwear
8 pairs of socks


No flip-flops on this trip! We’re taking walking shoes and trainers, as well as a pair of easily foldable slippers to keep my cold feet warm in the evenings.

Our Footwear for an American roadtrip

2 pairs of walking shoes
2 pairs of trainers

Toiletries and Medicines

As hard as I try, I can never condense our toiletry bag and it always ends up in a mess after a few days on the road. One of the problems is my eye gear: a supply of contact lenses (which I picked up cheap in Thailand), solution, case and glasses. I also can’t sleep without earplugs and an eye mask and I have a complicated skin-care routine. After travelling through Asia we have a tried and tested medical kit which covers the bare essentials: painkillers, decongestants, plasters, migraine tablets and cystitis medicine; we also carry antibacterial gel everywhere with us. One thing I definitely couldn’t live without is my Mooncup, it’s amazing how much money and hassle it’s saved me over the years.

Travel toiletries and medicines for our USA roadtrip

Amy’s contact lenses
Contact lens case and travel-size bottles of solution
Amy’s eye glasses
Ear plugs
Eye mask
Moon cup
Toothbrushes and guards
Comb, hairbrush and hair bands
Face wash
Soap and dish
Nail clippers
Cold and flu medicine
Cystitis medicine
Amy’s migraine medicine
Vitamin C tablets
Antibacterial hand wash
Insect repellent
Sun cream
Cotton buds
Cotton wool pads
Shower cap

Travel Accessories and Documents

Our locks and microfibre towel have all been really useful so far and I don’t travel anywhere without a journal. We keep scans of our important documents online and use a special app to keep our bank details secret but accessible should we need them. One important item I have added is a travel hairdryer, which may sound extravagant but I’ve deemed it essential since we’ll be in a colder climate and my hair almost reaches my waist.

Important documents for our USA roadtrip

Travel hairdryer
1 Trespass microfibre towel
3 combination locks
2 pairs of sunglasses
Notebook and pens
Wallet with bank cards in
Driving licences
International drivers permit

*There are a few Amazon affiliate links in this post, so if you click through and buy any of these products we will earn a very tiny commission to go into our travel fund. 

So, what do you think of our packing list, are we missing anything?

  • Gilda Baxter
    Posted at 21:08h, 29 August Reply

    Amy, you did extremely well with your clothing choices. A travel hair dryer is a must, I took mine when we travelled to Thailand, much to Brian’s disaproval, but my hair goes all frizzy if I don’t dry it properly. The compression sacks are a great idea. Can I aks you why the Vitamin C tablets? So exciting, not long now and you are off again, I can’t wait to follow you along this journey.

    • Amy
      Posted at 11:11h, 30 August Reply

      Thanks Gilda, I don’t think I’ll regret the hair dryer. The vitamin C tablets are leftovers from Vietnam when we constantly got sick; not sure if they really help much but we’ll take them if we’re feeling run down. Thanks so much for continuing to follow our journey, we really appreciate it 🙂

  • Victoria@ The British Berliner
    Posted at 11:50h, 01 September Reply

    A very comprehensive list and very usable for the United States. You’re going to have a great time!

    • Amy
      Posted at 20:17h, 01 September Reply

      Thanks Victoria, I think we are too 🙂

  • Matt
    Posted at 16:23h, 01 September Reply

    Love packing lists. Also big fans of the packing cubes. We’ll be doing up our massive packing list soon and trying to cull it down to compete with you pros fitting in to a 35L bag (we’ll maybe end up with the 60L osprey bag over the 80L though!). Ever think of packing a multi power plug? (we haven’t before but are shopping around now for a good one with USB ports as well as we always have issues with finding enough places to plug things in)

    • Amy
      Posted at 20:20h, 01 September Reply

      Hi Matt, 60L sounds alright, 80 might be more annoying to carry, but with the cold-weather gear you may need the extra space. We hadn’t thought about a multi power plug but it does sound like a great idea actually. Good luck with selling all your stuff and your travel preparations 🙂

  • stefan
    Posted at 01:45h, 04 September Reply

    Really excited for you guys. “Sebastien’s clothing…” is several 70 litres backpacks, which is why we will never succeed in writing such an excellent and thorough post like this ha ha ha

    Can’t wait to follow this next leg of your journey.

    Lots of love from us here in Sabah (Malaysia Borneo).

    • Amy
      Posted at 04:16h, 04 September Reply

      Ha! Lots of love to you guys too, enjoy Sabah, we had a great time there. Seen any orangutans yet?

  • Rhonda
    Posted at 01:09h, 05 September Reply

    You guys are so darn organized with your whole packing list all neatly laid out! Lucky for us we have a couple of months to figure out the final list (and gotta say traveling in a camper and truck gives us a lot more room to overpack!). If you make it out to Oregon before Christmas make sure to get in touch so we can meet in person!

    • Amy
      Posted at 17:06h, 05 September Reply

      It must be great to have the extra space and flexibility of the camper van Rhonda. Sadly we won’t make it out to Oregon on this trip as we’re concentrating mainly on New England – hopefully we’ll get there one day though 🙂

  • Farber @ Sleep Masks
    Posted at 12:28h, 22 August Reply

    Great round up list.. I am so glad I found this article before I left on my trip. I am going to be taking a 12 hour flight, and I will definitely need to rest my neck. Luckily, you have added all, which adds needed support so I can rest easy and arrive refreshed. Thanks for sharing.

    • Amy
      Posted at 14:49h, 22 August Reply

      No worries, thanks for reading 🙂

  • Arfan
    Posted at 09:21h, 05 January Reply

    Thanks a ton for sharing these awesome safety tips! Your post is like a travel buddy, guiding us through the must-knows for a safe adventure. I love how you make things simple, highlighting the prep and being aware of our surroundings – things we might forget in the excitement!… keep updating us

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