Category Archives: Packing Guides

Travel Essentials For Women + Female Packing List

Female Travel Packing List

Looking for a detailed ‘women travel packing list’? I’ve been packing bags and cases since I was 19 years old and this guide was created after a 17-month travel trip around the Americas and Europe. This is now the fourth edition of my travel packing list, I’ve whittled down my original oversized travel wardrobe and I now think I’ve nailed it! I’ve taken short trips and backpacked around extremely hot countries, very rainy climates, freezing snow for skiing and cities with a nip in the air. Hi, I’m Gemma, that’s me in the picture below.

Going away for a while? Check out my guide on how to create a  long-term travel itinerary. Taking a short-term break? Here is how I plan a trip. Now let’s dive into my recommended travel essentials for women.

Female Packing List Items

Vango 80 Litre Rucksack I Female Travel Packing List

I miss this tan

Long-Term Travel Backpack Or Case

Before you start purchasing your sunnies and sandals, it’s probably wise to think about where you are going to put them!

So let’s talk about luggage. Are you a backpack or a suitcase kind of girl?

For a long-term trip, I would advise considering a backpack.

Why? Because there will be times that you are walking through cities and hopping on public transport. Being able to throw a pack on your back makes moving much easier.

We previously used the Vango packs but now that I’ve spent years researching travel gear I would go for the Mercedes of all bags, the Osprey Farpoint 55l US / UK, if you can pack small, or the bigger Osprey Farpoint 70l  US/ UK if you are me.

So what’s so great about Osprey?

Osprey only focuses on bags and bag-related products so they are known as the king or queen of backpacking luggage. They also have a returns policy if the bag stops functioning the way it should.

The Farpoint is ideal because it opens up like a suitcase which makes access to clothes much easier.

Try getting something out of the ‘old style’ top access backpacks while nine other people doze off in a dorm, this is how to not make friends while you travel! Respect the hostel dorm etiquette.

It also has a detachable day pack which you unzip and wear on your front when you have your pack on your back. It actually balances the weight very well.

If you just can’t see yourself with a backpack what about a hybrid?

Hybrid backpacks fuse the best of both worlds – it takes the wheels from a suitcase and the straps from a backpack to create a rolling backpack.

The downside to backpacks with wheels is that they add more weight on to overall backpack as it has to take a structured back and wheel casing into consideration. I’ve written about wheeled backpacks in detail. You can read my comparison guide here.

The main issue with taking a traditional suitcase on a worldwide/long-term trip is that mos cases just aren’t durable enough.

Enter the Eagle Creek range. Eagle Creek luggage is made for off-road which means you can pound the cobbles of Europe and pull the case through the sandy streets of Colombia.

I have been using the Eagle Creek Expanse 78l US / UK for trips over two weeks. It comes with backpack facilities but it’s heavy, I use it like a suitcase. It is the studiest case I’ve had at this size.

Luggage For Short Trips

If you are going away for a shorter trip, say under a month, depending on how you pack you could get away with a much smaller bag or case.

I can’t recommend the Eagle Creek Expanse Carry-On US / UK enough. It’s smooth, good-looking and like its bigger version, strong.

If you prefer an attractive hybrid check out the CabinMax One.

Or for an easy, no fuss 44L backpack, see the CabinZero. Here’s my guide to carry-on luggage.

Eagle Creek Expanse

Other Travel Baggage

While on the move, I usually have a cloth tote bag with my electronics in it for easy access on buses, planes and trains.

I do carry a safe net with me. It is made by Pacsafe US / UK and has protected my belongings well – I was not robbed while travelling!

In accommodation, I put my day bag into the net and secure it around a radiator or bed frame then close it with a padlock. I then cover with a coat etc.

Definitely buy an Osprey bag cover US / UK to protect your day bag and electronics inside. Honestly, my camera stopped working after an Asian downpour in Vietnam back in 2013, so did my heart. Don’t risk it.

PacSafe Net Travel Safety

PacSafe net to deter theft

How to Pack for Long-Term Travel + Short-Term Trips

Packing for long-term travel differs slightly to short-term trips because you have to consider what you can’t get on the road.

It is also likely you are on a budget if going away for a length of time so you don’t want to waste money and have to spend too much on unnecessary travel items for women.

I detail what I replenished and bought at the end of the guide. Other readers have found it useful to see the reality of travel!

For short-term trips, you may be restricted by space and also size. If you are taking carry-on only, you won’t be able to take anything bigger than 100ml liquids so consider this when shopping for travel toiletry items.

My best tip for packing is to roll your clothes, as opposed to folding, as this creates more space and fewer wrinkles.

Pack similar clothes in separate bags.

Packing Cubes and Alternatives

During my big trip, I didn’t use packing cubes opting for large sandwich bags from an army store as they were super cheap.

Now I do use packing cubes. I like that they come in a variety of sizes and zip around the items.

You can pack a lot in and they place neatly in your luggage, stacking on top of each other.

The grab handles on each cube are handy for pulling out from your bag or case. See for yourself US / UK.

I also carry cute makeup bags which I pack my underwear and swimwear into. You can see the contents of my backpack in the image below.

I read that Primark packing cubes now exist so may be worth a dig for future trips. 

Long-Term Female Travel Packing List + Short Term ‘Pic n Mix’

Please factor into your budget that it is highly likely that you will replenish some of your long-term female travel packing list at some point.

Washing machines and launderettes in the likes of Vietnam, Peru, etc are pretty harsh on your clothes ruining those travel essentials for women.

White clothing quickly becomes gross yellow colour! Suntan lotion, curry, alcohol stains can’t always be avoided (if it was a good night!)

Things get stolen, yes, annoying but opportunists carry a backpack too. Seriously think about investing in the PacSafe net if you carry expensive electronics with you.

We managed to avoid any theft using it.

Travel Clothes for Women

Travel Tops

Tops – this is where packing starts to get difficult for me because although I am practical, I still like to look nice.

  • 3 x day vest tops – mixed colours
  • 1 x night vest top – lacey, black
  • 1 x hoody – ditched when reached warmer climates
  • 1 x thin top
  • 2 x cardigans – 1 x black / 1 x yellow
  • 1 x fold-away raincoat, the Marmot waterproof jacket US / UK – love – definitely one to add to your packing sheet, perfect for the backpacking Europe packing list females, and menfolk! It goes everywhere with me from dog walking up Munros (Scottish mountains) to hiking through rainforests. 

Machu Picchu Packing List

International travel packing list: vesties are besties – easy to pack for trips to Machu Picchu, Peru

Don’t Skirt Around – Dresses

I love dresses! If you choose the right type of material (avoid denim and wool), they roll down very small.

Perfect for hot days, party nights, and Instagram photos!

Also ideal for a road trip packing list since they are so versatile.

  • 1 x fancy summer dress – black
  • 1 x black wrap-around – LBD for travel, top tip for female packing list South America, samba in style
  • 1 x yellow – my fave colour
  • 1x playsuit

Tip: I tend to avoid patterns – easier to dress up, dress down, to keep looking new.

Travel Trousers / Bottoms

I’m not the biggest fan of trousers or shorts. My dumpy 5’2 1/2 body does not look good in denim shorts, praise be to the chicas who can rock that look.

For those who do look cool in hot pants, you could replace some items in the bottoms list.

  • 1 x black culottes – 4 years old, love them
  • 1 x khaki shorts – hiking
  • 1 x plain skirt
  • 1 x denim skirt – probably don’t need this as heavy but I like it
  • 1 x black long gym trousers – doubles up as disco pants
  • 1 x waterproofs – thin/light, pull on top of gym trousers for hikes and skiing

My friend Laura has a great review on travel pants (trousers to us Brits!), they actually look nice!

Volcano Boarding in Nicaragua

Hiked up an active volcano in Nicaragua & boarded down it, in culottes!

Mosquitos. The little horrors love me!

All guides tell you to wear light, floaty clothes but that look is just not me so I compromise with wearing the disco pants after dusk in areas which are very prone to them.

Take malaria tablets in malaria zones and be wary of Zika, especially if trying to get pregnant.

We did carry mosquito nets by Lifesystems for the first year but did not use them, definitely times where we should have.

Check if the countries you are visiting have a malaria warning.

For the first year we used mosquito repellent with DEET called OFF but then decided that since it was making no difference we’d use a DEET free alternative called Avon Skin So Soft US / UK.

DEET melts plastic, I’ll just leave you thinking about that.

Underwear

This aspect of the long-term travel packing list for women is really a personal choice. I would always go for the higher number of underwear as I’m a clean freak.

Yes, you can hand-wash (and you will) but it is often not warm enough from hand-washing to dry, especially when moving on every couple of days. Tired of moving? It happens, consider the benefits of slow travel!

  • 5-7 pairs of pants/knickers
  • 4 pairs of trainers socks
  • 1 – 2 pairs of longer socks – traditional / ‘normal’ – better for hiking
  • 2 x bras
  • 1 x sports bra
  • PJs – 1 x vest / 1 x shorts

Underwear storage: Cute makeup bag with zip.

Swimwear

  • 1 x black bikini top
  • 1 x blue bikini top – one halter / one straps is ideal
  • 3 x bikini bottoms

Storage: a stripy makeup bag, hello sailor!

Travel Shoes

Walk your way to packing success by learning from my mistakes…

I used to carry way too many shoes! This was pointed out to me when I posted a photo of packing list version three on Two Scots Abroad Facebook page! Here are my long-term footwear essentials.

  • 1 x flip-flops – Havaianas US / UK – 5 years old
  • 1x day trainers – black
  • 1x walking boots/shoes – Salomon Ellipse trek shoes US / UK which I trekked with to Machu Picchu, lighter than boots but still waterproof, quite attractive as boots go
  • 1 x fancy sandals -black
  • 1 x sports trainers – if your day trainers can double up, great, but remember they will smell pretty quickly, especially if in warm and then rainy climates. My gym Nikes squashed down really neatly so I didn’t mind carrying them.

Long Term Packing Guide I Female Travel Packing List

Female Packing List #3 – get rid of some shoes!

Exercising While Travelling

I packed a sports bra so when we moved to Canada for six months I began exercising again. I bought cheap gym trousers from a charity shop and used a downgraded vest top.

  • Sports bra
  • Gym trousers
  • Downgraded vest top
  • Nike trainers (mentioned in travel shoe section)

Bling, Rings, and Other Accessories

  • 2 x sunglasses – lose / break / replace
  • 1 x large scarf – multi-use: cover-up, beach towel, create a den around your dorm bed for privacy
  • 2 x headscarf – hides day 2 hair
  • Jewellery – leave the expensive bling at home, this means engagement/wedding rings – most insurance policies will not pay back the full amount and obviously the sentimental heartbreak of losing them is not worth it
  • Watch – phone battery won’t always be charged!
  • Documents wallet
  • Small money purse
  • Handbag? I bought a cheap one in Vancouver as we moved there for 4 months
  • Cloth bag – beachwear / picnics / electronics
  • Drawstring bag – great for putting wet clothes in / or lunch on travel days as it attaches to clips on day bag

SXSW free parties

Partying at SXSW festival in Austin

Travel Toiletries List & Makeup

In all honesty, I rarely wear make when in super-hot climates like Nicaragua but I wore a full face on nights out in Austin, Texas so this will change with your own personal routine.

Face – Avoid Ageing Skin

  • Factor 50/60 moisturiser, always! La Roche-Posay US / UK. if feeling flush
  • Cream lotion wash – with re-usable makeup cloths
  • Exfoliating wash – I am prone to acne

Travel Hair

  • Solid shampoo – this stuff is genius, no liquid so no spill!
  • Lush solid conditioner too avocado – lovely
  • Bobbles
  • Kirby grips/bobby pins
  • Hairspray
  • Dry shampoo – I dropped this from list

My normal routine is washed hair worn down but watch for sunburn in your parting.

Day two hair is worn up.

I like quiffs and buns to pull my hair back.

I found head scarfs a nice way to hide greasy hair too.

Sandboarding sandskiing Peru

Throwing my hair up for sandboarding and skiing in Peru

Body Talk

  • Toothpaste – I love the Lush tablet version, Craig hates it
  • Soap
  • Body wash – I’ve cut this out
  • Deodorant – I tried the chemical-free stuff, not suitable for sweaty climates like Cuba!
  • Razor
  • Factor 50 suntan lotion – always
  • Avon Skin So Soft US / UK – midges, mosquitos and smooth skin

We did not bother taking a towel.

I hate those quick-dry microfibre travel towels!

They just move the water around your skin. Personal choice to hire instead.

If travelling as a couple and booking private rooms you’ll find that towels are often included. Oh, the privilege!

Solid Toothpaste Travel Gifts

Tooth tabs – no spill

Makeup – The Slap 

  • Light foundation
  • Urban Decay palette
  • Liquid eyeliner
  • Lipstick for party nights
  • Real Techniques brushes – comes with a case
  • No nail varnish – exploded twice, luckily packed in sealed Tupperware!
  • Nail file
  • Nail clippers
  • Tweezers
  • Luminous face paint for a festival!

I know some of you will not bother with make-up at all and high five to you  but I’ve been plagued with acne since I was 19 so like to have something to cover up the scars (the sun helps!)

Travel Makeup Fail

Imagine they weren’t in a tub?! Summer vacation packing list for females – essential or bin?

Delhi Belly – Long-Term Travel Medical Kit

This covers every day normal pills to deathbed essentials.

  • Contraceptive pill (photocopy proof of prescriptions)
  • Paracetamol
  • Aspirin
  • Tablets for constipation
  • Tablets for diarrhoea
  • Malaria tablets
  • Anti-histamine tablets
  • Anti-bacterial cream for bites
  • Plasters
  • Blister pads
  • Leukotape hiking tape US / UK – does not budge so prevents blisters
  • Tubigrip support
  • First aid kit – including needles
  • Filter and purifying bottle – like DrinkSafe Travel Tap (read review) or Water to Go (quote TSA15 for 15% off at checkout)
  • Tampons! A reader pointed out in the comments that you may struggle to get them on the road, so true! I had to get my mum and mother in law to bring packs over for me on two occasions. Stock up!
  • I now pack a menstrual cup or period pants. I’ve tried both and prefer the latter.

Leukotape Tape

Travel Insurance

Don’t travel without it, it’s not worth the risk. Us Brits have the luxury of socialised medical health care through the National Health Service so don’t quite understand that the cost of using health care systems in countries which charge.

My friend, Kaci, went over her ankle at the Grand Canyon and was charged $500 for a visit to the doctor and an X-ray. Luckily she had travel insurance and good friends (me!) to hold her hand all morning (while others were out hiking…)

I’ve shopped around, extensively (that’s how I roll, you can probably tell from the length of this article) and settled on True Traveller because they could insure hiking at high altitude (Lares Trek to Machu Picchu) as well as skiing at Whistler.

I claimed in Vancouver; I had to visit the GP and physiotherapist (I had ear crystals which were making me feel dizzy!) and they paid out speedily.

They also answered my stupid amount of questions before I bought, I really do wish I could be as cool and laid back as Craig sometimes! Get a travel quote for your trip from their site here.

World Nomads is one of the other popular travel insurances.

Emerald Lake Canada I Two Scots Abroad

Canadian Rockies

Travel Electronics

Blogging, watching Netflix, taking snaps – here are the essential travel electronics which I travel with:

  • MacBook Air – maybe not essential for non-bloggers
  • I used to use a WD My Passport 1TB external hard drive
  • I now use Transcend US / UK and Craig uses a tiny Sandisk SSD US / UK
  • Camera – then Nikon Coolpix, moved to Sony A6000, now Canon M50
  • SD cards – I never delete images, another form of backup. Do not buy from eBay, I did and they were fake and lost my images, when compared to the real deal it was obvious they were fake. Learn from my mistake
  • Phone
  • I won’t travel without a second battery just in case. We use Anker battery charger US / UK
  • Earphones
  • Skross universal travel adaptor with USB slots US / UK
  • New addition – JBL clip music speaker US / UK – it’s light, splash-proof, clips on to your bag, and is cheap. Craig has bought a few for gifts this year, it’s love

Anker Portable Charger Phone

Skross Universal Plug USB Port

Before I knew how to take photos

Female Backpacking List – Replenishing Clothes

How do you guys look so suave all the time on the road?! I’d love a blog post about that! Seriously!! – Facebook follower.

Quick answer – we are vain! Craig and I have purchased additional items to meet needs and replenished our clothes when required for the likes of moving to a different climate.

I usually shop in charity shops but with the exception of Canada this wasn’t really an option so had to settle for H&M.

Peru (April)

  • 1 x scarf from a market in Cusco
  • 1 x fake North Face puffy jacket – below
  • 1 x Peruvian handbag – fell apart by June!

Osprey Bag Cover

Canada (September)

  • New brogue shoes
  • Sunglasses
  • Denim skirt
  • Dress
  • Handbag
  • Tights
  • Socks
  • My friend brought over Marks and Spencer knickers and a Topshop dress
  • Splurged on 4 items for $12 CAD / £6 at the Salvation Army
  • New vintage raincoat – sent home (yellow)
  • Ski gloves – should have bought liners too at the hardware store. I’ve now upgraded to Hestra gloves US / UK which are really flipping expensive but I did not feel the cold once during our ski week in Austria this year
  • Grey winter hat for snowshoeing – Toronto Kensington Market
  • Winter hat – Vancouver souvenir…

… and a vintage wedding dress, but I don’t expect everyone has ‘eloping to Austin‘ on their long-term travel plan

Rings Austin Wedding Special

Portland, Oregon (January)

  • New vest tops as moving to Nicaragua – 35 degrees heat!

Austin, Texas (March)

  • Wedding shoes / bag / jewellery / underwear

Budapest, Hungary (May)

Gearing up for warmer weather.

  • Three new dresses
  • 1 x vest tops
  • 1 x cardigan
  • 1 x bikini bottoms
  • Socks
  • Sandals

Lisbon, Portugal (July)

  • 1 x new dress for a festival, I was feeling pretty gross about clothes at this time
  • 1 x sunglasses

Our family kindly gave us money throughout the trip for birthdays, the Vancouver engagement, the wedding, and out of feeling sorry for us! This helped fund Project Replenish.

Packing List for Women Overview

When we returned home after travelling for 17 months it felt so good piling up the contents of the rucksack and burning them. Jokes! I’m pretty certain the culottes, Salomon shoes, and Marmot raincoat will be going on our next trip to Iceland too. Want more? Check out this crazily extensive packing lists directory!

I hope this packing guide for females has been of use. I have created a pin to accompany this long-term planning list for women – please feel free to save and share (pin to Pinterest packing board!)

Pack for success with this female travel packing list.

So what do you think?
Have I nailed the ultimate packing list?
What can’t you travel without?


» Read next: our hiking packing list – what to pack and what to leave


35 Road Trip Essentials For Your Packing List

Car wing mirror, Iceland landscape

The following road trip packing list essentials will ensure that your next road adventure is safe, manageable and fun. You just can’t beat hitting the open road with friends and family to explore the outdoors and towns and cities along the way. Although the most popular time to do so, planning a road trip doesn’t have to be confined to the summer months if you are correctly equipped!

Whether you are heading abroad, crossing States or taking a staycation this ultimate road trip packing guide will have your cruising covered in comfort. Continue reading for tips on clothing items to handy electronics, games to keep entertained and easy road trip hacks. Don’t miss our free road trip checking list below and tips on the popular topic of what to bring on a winter road trip too.

Why Trust Us To Plan Your Road Trip Essentials?

We (Gemma and Craig) love to road trip. We adore the independence that it brings.

The ability to pack the car or camper without worrying about cabin sized baggage or pre-booking activities and accommodation months in advance, although some popular destinations do require this.

We like that you can travel slower during a road trip and get off the beaten track too.

We love road tripping so much we’ve just converted a work van into a boutique camper van! This was before it was ‘the’ thing to do too.

Camper Fortrose North Coast 500 in Scotland_

Our previous adventures include a five-day road trip to Iceland. We spent most of the week in the south of the island, avoiding the tour buses on the Golden Circle.

We took on the mighty West Texas road trip from Austin out to the wonder that is Big Bend.

We have road tripped the length of Scotland in our camper to the Highlands via North Coast 500 route, down below to South West Scotland, to Perthsire to see the fall leaves and we’ve even island hopped!

Learn how to plan the best road trip in Scotland here.

Enough about us. Here’s the road trip packing guide you’ve been waiting for.

Car Iceland landscape water

Car road-tripping in Iceland 


Road Trip Packing List

  1. Car documents.
  2. Car audit (wheels, brakes, oil, water, gas).
  3. Car phone holder.
  4. Electronic battery pack.
  5. First aid kit.
  6. Windscreen covers (privacy and heat protection).
  7. Neck sleep scarf.
  8. Hand sanitizer.
  9. Poncho/cape/blanket.
  10. Day bag.
  11. Waterproof bag cover.
  12. Eco water bottle and cutlery.
  13. Food bags and clips.
  14. Waterproof jacket and over trousers.
  15. Hiking boots/shoes.
  16. Swimwear.
  17. Bug spray.
  18. High factor cream.
  19. Torch.
  20. Flip-flops, sliders or Crocs.
  21. Toiletry bag with a hook.
  22. Safe bag.
  23. Music speaker.
  24. Hydration tablets.
  25. Stove (if cooking), gas can + lighter.
  26. Cookset pack.
  27. Collapsible box if you need to take dirty dishes to campsite cleaning station.
  28. Fridge or a cool bag with ice.
  29. Water containers.
  30. Food (see list below).
  31. Camping table, chairs and groundsheet.
  32. Wheel wedges to balance RVs and campers.
  33. Washing line and pegs.
  34. Awning or tent and pegs/hammer.
  35. Hooks, rails, carabiner, bungee cord with hooks, heavy duty tape.

You may also like out guide on road trip hacks to make your adventure run as smoothly as possible! Learn space savers, comfort tips and safety advice here.

Camper van, Texas map

Our wee campervan in Texas


Road Trip Packing List – Details

For The Car/RV

Car Documents

Remember to carry your driving licence and store the car documents like the manual, break down details and insurance coverage in the car. Do you need any special cross border cards? Ensure your research and apply for it before you leave.

Road Trip Tips – Car Audit

Road trip necessities definitely include being proactive and not reactive. Before taking a road trip, remember to do an overall audit of the car. Check the oil and water levels, the tire/tyre pressure, functioning spare wheels and brake action.

If you are hiring a car, take photos of the previous damage to avoid being stung when you return the car (trust me, I used to be a car check-in chick!)

Don’t drive past a petrol/gas station without filling up in remote areas. If you see the empty button flash, hit zero on the mileage and do not go above 63 km/40 miles.

Be sure to have breakdown cover and know how to access it (note down the number in case your phone battery dies and/or you have no phone coverage). Hot destinations will require you to book accommodation or camp/RV spots ahead. If booking hotels, ensure that they have parking.

We road tripped to Big Bend National Park in March and there was zero space at the official campsites. We managed to grab a spot an unofficial overspill campsite just outside of the park lines.

Phone Holder

Over the past decade, laws on phone use while driving have increased and penalties have become harsher (and rightfully so).

This has pushed the importance of hands-free phone kits. I like this phone holder US / UK as all you need to do is clip the base to your air vent, pop a magnet in between your phone and case and ta-da, the phone sticks to the base! Ideal for car hire as you can remove the clip without damaging the car.

Handy for using maps (quick tip – hit ‘go’ in WiFi/4G and the directions should work when out of signal) and playing tunes, two essential road trip items.

Electronic Battery Pack

I love these small Anker battery charger US / UK.

Charge before you leave your accommodation and use it to recharge your phone once it’s drained by maps and music.

You can even use it to charge your portable music speaker and action camera.

If you are using a newer iPhone model you will be need a batter pack that is compatible with the lightning chord or MagSafe.

I personally don’t like the MagSafe for this kind of battery charge on the go as the phone has to be in one place.

Anker Portable Charger Phone

Anker lipstick, we now use the bigger, flatter pack

First Aid Kit

Boring but essential. If road-tripping around somewhere with mediocre health care records be sure to choose a first aid kit with needles and 100% buy travel insurance before you leave.

I had to use ours with True Traveller in Vancouver. They paid back my GP fees plus my two trips to the physio speedily so come recommended by us.

Windscreen Covers

This is a new addition after road tripping in Texas but we really could have done with window screen covers to keep the car cool.

It also offers another layer of privacy to keep the nosey RV people away from your business!

Your items will bake through the glass, so make sure that you keep your electronics away from the window and stored in dark, cool areas of the car/van.

Neck Sleep Scarf

Not for the driver! If you are lucky enough to be the passenger and are prone to the nodding dog, wrap this scarf around your neck for better sleep.

This is a great travel gift as well.

Hand Sanitizer

Because you never know where you have to go to the loo. Baby wipes too, great for cleaning hands and spills. I also suggest packing a few plastic bags for dirty shoes and food rubbish

Versatile Road Trip Clothing: Poncho/Cape

This is the first year that I’ve road tripped with a poncho or a cape and it won’t be my last. This garment is bigger than a scarf so great for covering up during the air-con tug of war (I like it down, Craig wants it up).

It also doubles up as a picnic blanket for romantic lunches. Avoid looking like a backpacker in Peru, check out this attractive wool poncho/cape US / UK.

Bullers of Buchan Abderbeenshire

Aberdeenshire, Scotland – throws are very versatile

Swimwear

You just never know when you might see a spot for a hike and a drip!

I recommend packing a bag to keep wet swimwear separate from other items.

Secret Lagoon Iceland Hot Spring

Not so Secret Lagoon, Iceland road trip

Stove, Gas, Lighter and Cookset Pack

I was a little terrified of the camping stove and gas the first time we used it but there was nothing to worry about.

Just ensure that you disconnect the gas before packing away. See the range here US / UK.

We’ve had experiences where the ignitor didn’t work, pack a lighter just in case.

You will need a cook set packing kit which includes all your portable kitchen essentials. See below for tips on what food to take on your road trip.

Pack a collapsible box which stores neatly away if you plan to use campsite communal cleaning facilities.

Cool Bag and Ice in Bags

If you plan to travel with perishable foods and/or want to keep drinks cold you will need to invest in a cool box or bag US / UK.

We found that we replenished our ice bags every day to the second day. The ice eventually turns to water which needs to be disposed of.

I would much prefer to use our re-ice packs but there is rarely anywhere on the road that you have access to a freezer for a period of time.

Ice is easily bought at gas stations for a buck or two in the USA. In Europe, some petrol stations may sell ice in bags but your best option is to use a shopping market like Aldi or Lidl (cheap).

Water Container

A large water container is recommended so you can refill water bottles, use of boiling and also for cleaning after meals.

We never really consider this but you need somewhere to fill up the container! Hence the need to stay at a campsite/RV park some nights, I’d recommend every second, to restock and reload.

If you have a camper van, you will need one for waste grey water.

Camper Van Big Bend Texas

Big Bend National Park, Texas road trip 

Fun Things to Bring on a Road Trip

Driving for hours on end requires some kind of entertainment. Here’s a list of road trip games to keep you amused and the driver awake

  • Name a celebrity, next person names a celeb whose name starts with your celeb’s second name.
  • I’m going on a road trip and I have packed (must name all items mentioned previously).
  • Singing game – player one sings a lyric, player two takes last lyrics and starts new song etc.
  • Would you rather… be a cyclops or human spider? The weirder the better.
  • 21 questions – yes or no answers only, guess the object/person.
  • Never have I ever (drink water, stay hydrated).
  • A-Z of pop songs/artists/90s movies etc.
  • Currently loving the card game Dobble/Spot it for stationary game ideas.

For The Trip

Day Bag

I bit the bullet and bought myself a Kanken day bag and I adore it.

Not only is it super stylish but it is also really sturdy.

There are grab handles at the top as well as shoulder straps.

The bag unzips at the very front of the bag and extends so you can pack a lot in.

There’s a secret section the size of the bag at the back as well as a small pocket at the front.

I played it safe and went for black but there are a variety of colours if you are feeling bolder than me!

You can fit a laptop, camera, purse, water bottle and cardigan in the larger Kanken. Perfect for a day bag during your road trip.

Craig wears a hiking day bag by Osprey US / UK. It has an airy back structure which suits his sweaty body!

Outlander Falkland Two Scots Abroad

Me doing the Jamie Fraser post at an Outlander location

Waterproof Bag Cover

Keep your camera dry in potential downpours by covering up your day bag with this Osprey bag cover US / UK.

It unfolds out of the bag, pulls over the daypack, a drawstring then pulls the bag around the day pack and clips around the middle for additional security.

There’s a neat pouch which attaches to your day bag for when it is not in use.

Osprey Bag Cover

Osprey waterproof day bag cover saves electrics from water death

Eco Water Bottle + Picnic Gear

This year I am pledging to go single-use plastic-free where possible.

For Craig’s birthday, I researched extensively plastic-free bottles and two stood out.

I had a choice between the stylish Chilly’s Bottle (UK only), practical Tree Tribe US / UK.

I went for the Tree Tribe which came with no plastic packaging.

A water bottle really is one of the things to take on a road trip to help do your bit for the environment – leave nothing but footsteps!

Tree Tribe Bottle Gift

Consider a picnic bag or cool box. You will have to pick up ice on the way since you can’t re-freeze cooler ice packs.

If you don’t want to go full picnic basket, pack collapsible cups.

Handy for some fizz at the end of the day and lets you contribute to sustainable travel by avoiding plastic throw-away cups. So no to plastic cutlery, pick up the wooden kit instead and consider my trusty bamboo cutlery set US / UK.

You will also need dishwashing soap.

Bamboo Cutlery Straw

Waterproof Jacket – Road Trip Essentials

This road trip essential item I can’t travel without because in Europe you can enjoy four seasons in one day!

I have certainly won the cost per wear games. This Marmot waterproof jacket US / UK comes with me everywhere.

Benarty Hill hike, Fife Scotland. Gemma wearing blue Marmot Precip jacket, bag, hat. Bowie the dog in background. Trees, loch._

My trusty Marmot Precip and dog, Bowie

I love the slimline fit, the colour and the fact that it folds away into its own pocket! It also helps that it keeps me dry.

Choosing a soft shell like the Marmot is great because you can squash it down small and pack it away in your day bag.

I can’t stress how important a high-quality rain jacket is for Europe – you can expect four seasons in one day if road tripping in the UK and you can’t always guarantee that your accommodation (or tent!) will have drying facilities.

For Iceland, I invested in the Mountain Equipment Rupal jacket US / UK which is thicker than the Marmot but more durable.

I bought Craig one for his birthday after a very wet road trip in Iceland! His coat, below, did not withstand the elements.

Rain Iceland hike. Mountain Equipment jacket, hat. Gemma and Craig._

So wet at one of Iceland’s waterfalls

Hiking Boots/Shoes

There comes a time where even the most sloth-like amongst us have to stretch our legs and with the potential scenery a road trip takes you through you’d be mad not to hike the hills.

When shopping for hiking boots and shoes you want to test their water resistance, support, breathability, comfort, weight and of course, the look.

For the past two years, I’ve been hiking in Salomon Quest boots and I can’t speak highly enough about them.

I like travel gear to look as good as it performs and this is a stylish boot.

I’m comfortable wearing them on the hills and then in the pub for the post-hike pint! Check out the rage here: Salomon Quest boots US / UK.

Salomon Quest Women Lightweight Waterproof Boot

Short hike during our Outer Hebrides road trip

I also like the lighter Salomon Ellipse trek shoes US / UK which I trekked with to Machu Picchu.

They are shoe-like so great if you don’t want anything touching your ankle like me back in 2015.

I injured my Achilles tendon during the West Highland Way – 96 miles from Mallaig to Fort William in Scotland.

I love how light they are for carrying in day bags and also how attractive they are. Their Contagrip® soles offer support as they do not bend when attempted to fold in half.

I use Leukotape US / UK on my ankles, this prevents blisters as this tape does not budge.

This technique was recommended to me by a serial trekking Canadian while hiking Maderas Volcano in Nicaragua.

Craig pretty much wore his Salomon every day for three years but now wears leather Scarpa boots.

Both come highly recommended depending on your need.

I’ll let you know how I get on. You might also like our lightweight trek boot review.

Hiking shoes | road trip packing essentials

Mosquito/Midges Repellent

Those blasted wee menaces are out to ruin every trip. In warmer climates, mosquitos come out to play at dusk which is a PITA when you want to watch the sunset.

We have used DEET repellents like Off in the past but moved to repellents without DEET after a year of constant bites.

DEET melts plastic so keep it away from your laptops. In Scotland, we don’t suffer from mossies but we do have our own equivalent, midges. They don’t carry malaria but can leave nasty marks. Repellent is one of those road trip must-haves in our books.

If you don’t like the sound of DEET, try the alternatives Avon Skin So Soft US / UK.

High Factor Face Creams

I love the sun but I love my life more. Take skin cancer seriously, even in overcast weather the sun can have an impact. We go to factor 30 or above.

I’m also vain, invest in a factor 50/60 face cream to avoid wrinkles. If splashing out I go for La Roche-Posay US / UK.

Santa, you there?!

Head Torch

I know what you’re thinking, I have a phone but those choosing a tent as their home will know the importance of a separate light for midnight toilet stops (remember the tissues and flip-flops).

Road Trip Packing List Items_

Flip-flops or Sliders

If you are staying in accommodation/camping grounds with communal showers, take some flip-flops to avoid having to share the germy floors.

My Havaianas are still going strong, six years later.

These flops were made for walking.

If you prefer to wear socks with your waterproof footwear, consider sliders or Crocs.

Toiletry Bag (Hook)

Don’t just pack any toiletry bag, buy with a hook.

Why? Because many of the showers we’ve used while road tripping have very small storage spaces in them and a hook allows you to access your toiletries while it hangs from the shower pole. Neat eh?

Shop for toiletry bags with hooks US /UK.

Safe Bag

Keep your belongings safe in communal dorms or busy hotels while you are out sightseeing with this Pacsafe safety net US / UK.

We survived 17 months of travel with our belongings intact.

How to use the Pacsafe safety net

  1. Place your electronics, passports, and money in a bag
  2. Pull the Pacsafe net over the bag and close the net around it
  3. Secure the wire string around a non-moveable object like a bedpost or radiator
  4. Pop in the clip and close with a padlock
  5. Throw a coat or scarf over the bag and you are locked and loaded

After 2.5 years of ‘the net,’ we upgraded to the more expensive Pacsafe backpack which has the net hidden beneath the fabric and the lock is subtle.

I still think the PacSafe net is the better option though and it keeps costs down.

PacSafe Net Travel Safety

Music Speaker

We love music. We actually chase gigs around the world, so no road trip is complete without a soundtrack.

This JBL Clip US / UK is economical, durable, loud and actually waterproof!

The clip allows you to hook it onto bars and bed posts.

Hydration Tablets

A new and welcomed addition to our road trip packing list, hydration tablets or sachets helps the head the next day.

A British doctor recommended this hangover remedy while we were travelling around Cuba (yes rum I am looking at you).

This is one of our most popular items bought by you via our Amazon recommendations. Shop for hydration tablets US / UK.

Hooks, Clips and Ropes

Sounds dramatic but these handy wee fellas will become your best pal!

Use hooks, rails and carabiner clips for hanging bags, towels, coats and hats.

Tie bungee cord around plastic boxed and bags to keep them secure in campers and trunks. Read more helpful road trip hacks here.


How To Pack For a Road Trip

We adopt the three bag policy – 1 large, 1 weekend and 1-day bag.

  • A larger rucksack or a cabin-sized case like our Cabin X One (I love this hybrid case!) which stays in the car packed full of your daily threads and toiletries.
  • A smaller weekend bag to move overnight and next day clothes into for one night stays which you don’t want to lug your big bag to. A canvas tote would even do. Easy to pack and hang for trips to the showers if camping/RVing.
  • A day bag for the camera, waterproofs and snacks.

This is a great technique for a cross-country road trip packing list since some stays will be one night only and rooms can be too small for big cases which is the case in the Highlands of Scotland.

Bealach na Bar Road North Coast 500 Scotland

What to Pack For a Road Trip Checklist

Download your free road trip checklist here. You can print it and check off the items during packing, never forget a packing list item. So when friends ask you what to take on a road trip you can point them to this checklist too!

Road trip checklist to help you plan your road trip packing list

What Food to Bring on a Road Trip?

One of the most obvious things you need for a road trip is food and drink which travels well.

This is a tough question to answer because it depends on how long you are on the road for and at what temperatures.

For perishable foods, you will need a cool bag with ice. You will need to replenish the ice every day or two.

In the States, ice can be bought at gas stations. In Europe, you are best shopping at supermarkets for it.

Breakfast Road Trip Food

  • Hot oats/porridge, milk, fruit.
  • Overnight oats/porridge, milk, fruit.
  • Cereal, milk.
  • Eggs.
  • Sausage.
  • Beans.
  • Tortillas (Craig’s fave – Tex Mex breakfast!)

» Top tip: oats are a ‘mare to clean. Soak in hot water as soon as finished.

Lunch and Dinner Ideas

  • Homemade ‘Lunchables’ – cheese, meat and crackers.
  • Sandwiches/wraps.
  • Soup (tinned or pre-made).
  • Salads (avocados are great, own skin protection).
  • Spaghetti bolognese.
  • Tuna, pasta sweetcorn.
  • Chilli.
  • Omelette.

Road Trip Snacks

  • Cereal bars.
  • Rice cakes.
  • Crackers.
  • Nuts and dried fruit (trail mix).
  • Hard-boiled eggs (Craig bans this, I love ’em).
  • Potato chips.
  • Humous and carrot/celery.
  • Jelly sweets/candy.
  • Fruit with skin such as nectarines.
  • Caffeine drinks for the driver.

» Water is essential, remember to bring a durable bottle with you to reduce your plastic footprint.

Road Trip Apps

  • Google Maps.
  • Maps.me.
  • Weather.
  • Spotify with music downloaded.
  • Kindl.
  • Netflix (guilty) with shows downloaded.
  • Destination campsite app.
  • Preferred hotels apps.
  • OpenTable for restaurant bookings.
  • Photo edit apps like Lightroom.
  • Whatsapp to say in touch with family/friends.
  • Electronic car charge app if driving an electronic car.

Things to Pack For A Road Trip in Winter

Two very important things to consider here – firstly, is your (rental) car suitable for Winter road conditions and secondly, does it have Winter tires? Legally, you can’t drive in BC, Canada without switching to snow tires come October and this lasts through to April.

Check out Winter driving laws for the country you plan to drive in and abide them. We were checked frequently in BC when we drove from Vancouver to Whistler.

You should pack a shovel, de-icer, scraper, screenwash, torch with batteries, clean water for drinking and snacks for eating. A warm sleeping bag is also recommended. Just last Winter, drivers were stuck on Scottish roads overnight. This was all over the country, not just in the Highlands where you would expect snow.

It goes without saying you should be wearing (or have packed) boots with a solid grip and a warm coat. It is also recommended to pack a high visibility coat and a warning triangle.

Don’t leave for the day of driving without a fully charged phone, battery pack or in-car plug and a manual map (old school but necessary).

Tell someone your route too. The RAC asks you to check your FORCES – fuel, oil, rubber tires, coolant, electrics and screenwash.

Road Trips Around the World

Looking for some road tripspiration?

What to Bring on a Road Trip Conclusion

There’s no better feeling than independence and that’s what a road trip holiday brings! This packing guide has been curated by a seasoned road tripper and details truly useful items to make your tour comfortable.


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Hiking packing list
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» » Read next: our travel essentials list


What have we missed out on this
things to pack for a road trip list?

What to Pack for Ski Trip: 25+ Sno’-Joke Essentials

What to Bring on a Ski Trip

Undeniably, one of the best travel experiences for every adventure lover is waking up each day to fresh snow and that crisp Winter air. But what to pack for a ski trip? This guide will detail what to pack and how to save space while keeping costs down.

Craig and I (Gemma) have had the pleasure skiing at Whistler in Canada, the Cairngorms in Scotland, and Mayrhofen in Austria so feel equipped (boom boom) to offer advice during this ski trip packing list.

Plus, all recommended products are available on Amazon Prime. Check out their free 30-day trial for next day delivery free of charge. You can even return items for free within two-days (the only downside of shopping online!) and you can cancel once you’ve done your shopping (or continue to gain access to Prime Video and Music). Click here to read more. UK readers can sign up here.

 » » Check out our European Christmas getaway guide « «

Ski Trip Packing List – Gear Travel

Option 1: Hire on Holiday

Whether you take your own ski equipment with you or not is a personal preference. We opt to hire onsite to keep airfare costs down and for a smooth transit between countries (like us catching a train between Germany and Austria).

Airlines charge between £30/$38-£60/$76 depending on the size of the sports equipment and if you book online or at the airport. Naturally, if you can keep within the baggage measurements and weight you don’t have to pay an additional fee.

Option 2: Carry Your Own Kit

Our friends travel with their kit, not wanting to waste the investment or rely on the potentially lower quality equipment at the resort. They state that it can work out cheaper regardless of additional ski gear charges.

Option 3: Pack the Essentials, Hire the Rest

An ex-colleague and committed skiing friend recommends investing in boots, packing them and then hiring skis (or boards) on holiday. He says this puts the onus on the hire company to ensure that the skis and boards are safe but lets you skip the boot queue which can take the longest.

Wheeled Ski Bags

If you do decide to travel with your own ski or board equipment you will need a durable wheeled ski bag. Wheels are ideal for pulling through the airport, train stations and streets. The awkward length of skies makes carrying on your shoulder a no-no.

The 5th Element ski bag (U.S only) is padded and has a grab handle at the side.

There’s a larger handle at the top which can be thrown over your shoulder. A smaller pocket for items like wax and gloves etc is located at the bottom of the bag.

The padding is ideal for air travel – airlines really aren’t known for delicately handling our luggage!

A helmet is one of the skiing essentials for beginners.

Go for one that is adjustable.

Craig doesn’t ski with poles but I do. It’s entirely up to your skiing style but I like using them to help me turn (or get up during the occasional fall when I’m exhausted!)

They are another thing to pack but should fit in your ski/board bag. You can’t go wrong with lightweight Salomon ski poles (or gear) but they can get pricey.  


What to Pack for Ski Trip

1. Footwear

As mentioned in the evening wear section of our guide, footwear is required to give the feet a rest!

Pack a pair of trainers for the bar, snow boots or just do what Craig does and wear your hiking boots with a good grip if there is snowfall in the town and leave the heels at home.

If staying in shared accommodation with communal showers, pack a pair of flip-flops to avoid verrucas.

Pack enough ski socks for every ski day or one less if your feet aren’t prone to smelly sweat.

Merino wool-based socks are the best bet (see base layer section for more information). Be careful, some socks are not 100% merino. 

Stock up on fresh cotton socks too for the post-shower evening outfit.

Don’t forget your swimming gear if there’s a hot tub or the potential of an invite to a hot tub!


2. What to Wear Skiing

Base Layers

Choosing the best tech apparel will keep you warm and dry.

Although we are inclined to go all out on our snow outerwear, the base layer is actually one of the most important because it controls your temperature and sweat.

You are likely to find that it’s not actually the snow that makes you feel cold but a sweaty layer on your skin. You want your base layers to allow air to circulate throughout (breathable) so the need to avoid sweat drying cold and sticky is essential.

That’s where the materials come into play.

They work because they wick water away from your body to the surface of the layer so it can then evaporate. 

General polyester is cheaper than merino but not as comfortable and if you sweat it will smell quicker!

Personally, for skiing (and hiking) I go for merino options such as I wear Icebreaker Merino wool base layer USA / UK.

A good base layer will keep you warm in cold conditions but cool in hot climates so you don’t have to pack it away come summer outdoors trip time. A great investment.

Sports bras

If you are top-heavy adventure lover like me, don’t forget a comfortable but shockproof sports bra.


Ski-Themed Clothing

Magically, Craig was the only punter in this Piste Again.

It’s a really lovely fit, 80s style jersey. I went for grey with the white writing for his Christmas present.

The print also comes in Ts and other text variations like ‘Snow Board’

3. Outerwear

A quality outwear coat is one of the ski trip essentials you should invest in.

There are two options for outerwear coats. You can either go full ski jacket with a hard shell which is great for all temperatures and conditions or an insulated down puffy jacket with a waterproof softshell.

The latter is ideal for skiers who get hot easily and/or travellers who are packing for a multi-season trip.

I love my Marmot Precip US / UK as it is bright (blue) and folds away into its own pocket.

If you fall into the last category, consider packing thin trousers/leggings and a quality pair of over the overtrousers USA / UK. Saves space and money.

I did this in Whistler, Canada as I didn’t have my full kit with me.

For Austria, I wore slim-fitting O’Niell’s ski pants, the brighter the better.

If you have space go for the first option for a ski coat and enjoy the flexibility of hood adjustments, wrist gaiters and vents. I also like a snow pass clip so I don’t have to remove my gloves when leaving the chairlift (I get cold hands).

Alternatively, go 80s and splurge on a crazy one-piece number.

4. Toiletries and Medical

First up – travel insurance. Make sure your insurer covers adventure winter trips. We use True Traveller, I had to claim in Vancouver and they paid out fast. Check to see if they are right for your trip here.

Regardless of the snow, you still burn!

Buy a high factor face moisturiser like the lovely La Roche-Posay US / UK.

Go eco-friendly and pack soap instead of gels – if you travel with only a cabin bag this saves more space in the 100ml restrictions bag too. Consider solid shampoo and conditioner too.

Ladies, a good tangle teezer is recommended. Why does our hair get so tuggy on the slopes?

Lip salve/chapstick for dry lips. Avoiding licking them if you can.

Blister pads for rubbing, pack just in case.

Hydration tablets US / UK for the next day. Believe us, they work. It was actually a British doctor that recommended them in Cuba after too many rums.

Deep heat or Biofreeze US / UK for achy muscles.

If, like me, you really feel the cold, buy heat pads for your hands.

I’m never one to promote single use but if you are staying in a hotel it is unlikely you will have access to hot water for reheating. Little Hotties state that they are biodegradable. 

5. Ski Accessories

Insulated Gloves

The best investment I made was splurging on these three-finger leather US / UK.

The internal mitten separates from the external leather outer so you can dry the fleece mittens without melting the outside.

The three-finger glove retains the heat because the heat stays circulating around your three-fingered section I made my own mitten straps to ensure I didn’t lose them but they also come with wrist clips.

I only had cheap gloves in Whistler and was left feeling sick with the pain from the cold whenever we stopped skiing (chair lifts, waiting on friends, fixing gear).

If you don’t want to invest, buy cheaper waterproof gloves and also mitten liners.

Shades aren’t just about looking suave, they also block out the glare from the sun but glasses are useless when caught in heavy snow (every day, 3pm in Austria).

You need goggles to help with visibility at this stage.

The best goggles have adjustable head straps and correctly coloured tint (dark colours for bright sunny use, yellows for low light weather).

When wearing a helmet, a headband works best to keep the nip from your ears. Keep a hat in your day bag for lunch stops. Avoid a woollen hat, they get heavy when wet (and ruin).

A headband with pony hole is perfect for long-haired skiers.

Neck warmers are great when they are dry but can get moist when active on the mountain.

The wet just turns cold and is pretty unpleasant! The more expensive versions like the Airhole range have mouth holes to let you breathe, this would resolve the wet issue. 

Snot! Steal some toilet roll from your accommodation or buy a hanky for a more environmentally friendly answer.

Waterproof phone covers, don’t lose the incriminating photos from the bar the night before.

Record the ride, don’t forget your GoPro, body harness and selfie stick.

6. Baggage

Laugh all you want but I like a bumbag (fanny pack) for ski trips so I can easily access my phone/camera, lip salve and some cash.

There are no loose straps to get tangled with either. Handy for the pub at night too.

Craig tends to ski with a day bag so he can clip our JBL speaker US / UK to it. He’s all about the tunes. It’s waterproof  

He’s also the chief controller of the water bottle and sun cream.

You may also like our guide to backpacks with wheel

Mayrhofen Austria

What to Wear at Night on a Ski Holiday

The apres-ski outfit is something that I thought a lot about before packing for Austria in March.

From my experience, skiers and boarders don’t get dressed up for dinner and drinks after a day on the slopes.

There definitely is a lot of socialising going on but this is done in jeans or leggings, casual tops, flats like trainers and hats.

Pro tip: go for black trainers as they look dressier. I wear black trainers with dresses and jeggings during travel trips.

Surprisingly, there was no snow on the ground in the village at Mayrhofen but there was ankle deep at Whistler so winter boots are recommended for grip. Heading to Whistler? Here’s our affordable accommodation guide

If you are attending a ski festival – pack the glitter, stock up on the superhero capes and look out for the themed night shoutouts!

Snowbombing Mayrhofen Austria


Ski Packing List

  1. Own kit or hire?
  2. Wheeled ski bag with own kit
  3. Helmet
  4. Ski goggles
  5. Gloves
  6. Hat
  7. Buff
  8. Day bag/bum bag
  9. Shades
  10. Outerwear jacket
  11. Ski trousers
  12. Trainers/waterproof snow boots
  13. Flip flops for communal shower rooms
  14. Merino based socks
  15. Merino base layer
  16. Sports bra
  17. Casual night gear
  18. Swimming gear
  19. Toiletries and medicine
  20. Suntan lotion
  21. Heat pads

Final Thoughts

Creating a packing list for ski trip doesn’t have to be daunting. This guide has detailed the essentials and some extras depending on your Winter travel needs.

I’ve also provided some do’s and don’ts of looking cool without feeling cool while skiing and boarding. Ski trips are honestly one of my favourites and nothing tastes better than that first cider after a day’s ski (or maybe just the one on top of the mountain)!

If you are driving to the slopes, scroll to the winter packing list section of our road trip guide.

Ski Holiday Checklist

Feel free to save the following skiing checklist to your Pinterest board

How to pack for a ski trip - Ski packing list

Any questions or comments?
Tell us below

New Cabin X One: Stylish Hybrid Carry-On

Cabin One hybrid carry-on luggage

Another pending trip, another cabin bag. My carry-on hand luggage obsession is taking over my tartan dresses. The newest addition is the navy blue Cabin X One, a stylish hybrid carry-on case. For the most efficient airport experience: check-in online, purchase a fast-track security pass (included in some lounge passes) and pack a light convertible travel backpack carry-on like this Cabin X. This summer, Craig and I (Gemma) try out the hybrid and report back in this travel gear guide. Keep reading to see if Cabin X One is for you.

Cabin X One

The first impression of Cabin X One is that the team behind this case clearly know and love to travel. The detail that has gone into the creation of the carry-on is impressive. The Cabin X One is a hybrid travel bag which means it converts into a suitcase and a backpack depending on your trip needs.

To get through customs speedily, you can wheel the Cabin X One then once you step out of the airport doors, swing it on your back to get through crowds and avoid that horrid ‘wheels on cobbled’ streets sound. Remember when Venice wanted to ban suitcases with wheels?! 


» ‘Probably the only female packing list you’ll ever need’ says a reader – click here for the guide


Cabin X One

Picking the Right Hybrid Carry-On

Before you decide if Cabin X One is the right type of hybrid bag for you consider the following:

  • How long do you generally travel for?
  • What type of items do you travel with?
  • How many bulky/heavy items like shoes do you carry?
  • Genuinely, how likely are you to convert the bag from a wheeled case to a backpack

The perfect hybrid carry-on has to meet the majority of airline measurements or it will end up in the hold which defeats the purpose of a carry-on and adds to your travel journey time. The ergonomics of the suitcase handles and convertible day bag straps need to fit well or will make travelling uncomfortable.

The back should be supportive and made from breathable material (don’t underestimate the sweat from getting lost in cities!). The wheels should not touch the users back when worn as a backpack. Zips must be sturdy to avoid breaking with use and big enough to add padlocks too.

Personally, I avoid top-loading bags because they are a pain to get into. Most hybrid cases unzip along the width of the bag. Ideally, the overall material will be showerproof in case you are caught in the rain.

Compartments inside the case are ideal for packing and the structure of the bag (including the wheels) should allow for as much storage space as possible. Once packed, the weight needs to be manageable on your shoulders. When used as a suitcase, the bag should not fall over when standing.


Carry-on Case Explained

Cabin X One case

The case itself is 38l capacity which is sectioned for different items of clothing. Sections include the flat back shirt flatter which is useful for business travellers who need crinkle-free shirts (I also recommend these Bluffworks fast-drying, wrinkle-defying travel shirt). The Internal Compression Section closes over clothes and straps down to create more space. 

There’s nifty space for shoes and a detachable compartment with a coat-hanger header for unpacking at the hotel. The transparent toiletries pocket is useful, not digging around dark bags for items. It is leak-free too. 

Tech Section

There is a separate fleece-lined and zipped ‘tech’ section at the front of the trolley/backpack case which fits large laptops such as the MacBook Pro 15.5″. The tech section has an RFID blocking section for cards. Bear in mind, at UK airports you have to remove laptops from all bags and cases when going through customs.  

Bag Handles

I’ve saved the best part of the bag for last. Along with two material handles, the Cabin X has a retractable handle and (patent pending) bag straps which zip away when not in use. No bits of material drag on the ground! There’s a cover for the wheels too.

There are two handles, one on the top of bag for lifting up and one to the side for picking up when putting down horizontally. Handy (boom boom) for pulling off conveyor belts, from under seats and overhead storage.

The case also has a compartment for your eco water bottles, which my current favourite weekend bag, the Cabin Zero, currently lacks.


» You may also like our wheeled backpacks review


Cabin X Material

The material is aesthetically pleasing and practical. The majority of the trolley/bag is showerproof 850D nylon (Nettuno Blue or Onyx Black) with a stylish grey suede which is exposed when the day bag is removed. The zips are also waterproof so the bag is Scottish weather approved! The zip pulls feel sturdy, unlike our Vango rucksacks which we had to replace with ties.

2-Wheel Suitcase

Naturally, the bag is as heavy as you pack it – there’s a cross-chest clip for support. The case has two wheels and a pull out stand to stop it falling over when full (a pet hate of previous carry-on trolleys). Those who are used to four wheels notice the difference unless pushing the case on wheels.

When converted into a backpack, the wheels are completely covered by material pullover which is found in a discreet pocket.

The best part? During a recent flight with EasyJet everyone with a trolly case was being asked to put the case in the hold (at the departure gate, this is their new policy). I converted the case into a backpack and was let through with it. Hello overhead and no waiting to get to out of the airport at the other end. 


» Hey lads! Read our travel trousers review


Cabin X Day Bag

Another favourite part of the day bag is how it unfastens from the main case. Once unclipped, you can’t tell that Cabin X is a hybrid bag.

There are no messy zip fasteners left, instead of neat robins that complement the vintage-looking case front. The straps are tucked away in the back of the bag and clip to the bottom once pulled out. It measures in at 33x20x9cm (13x8x4 inches), weighs 450 grams and should carry 6 litres. 

Day Bag Material

The back material is breathable which is ideal for hot cities and sweaty hikes. The bag straps have edged padding to prevent rubbing which is especially great for when you are wandering in a vest top or dress. I like that there is a bottle compartment too.


The Downside of the Cabin X One

The main downside to the companion bag is the size of the zipped compartment as I can’t fit my MacBook Pro in it (I know, first world problems). My flight routine consists of placing the Mac and hard drive in a tote bag which I remove from my carry-on once past the gate attendees.

The main bag then goes in the overhead and the tote stays with me so I can work after takeoff. 

Cabin X never intended for the bag to be big enough to fit a larger laptop, advertising space for an iPad, but it really is the perfect case for those who travel for work and if it was literally an inch bigger it would have room for the Mac too. 

Essential Details

  • Price: £139
  • Dimensions: 55 x 35 x 20 cm/22 x 14 x 8 inches --> had to remove the day bag for EasyJet just in case (boom boom, true story/funny pun) 
  • Type: hybrid bag/trolley
  • Wheels: two wheels carry on luggage 
  • Shipping to USA, Canada, Europe (including the UK) is via tracked courier and is free

Minimalist Packing List

The minimalist traveller is a savvy one. They know how to save safe but doesn’t scrimp on style. Stop packing so much with this handy packing list:

  • Foldaway Marmot PreCip waterproof coat US / UK 
  • Solid shampoo/conditioner – doubles up as body wash plus no spills/plastic-free
  • One large scarf/poncho – throw, cardigan, picnic blanket and even a bag
  • One colour palette for clothes, avoid patterns
  • Universal plug WITH USB sections US / UK

Here’s what not to pack

  • Hair straighteners/dryer – embrace the wave/wear a hat
  • Too many outfits, especially heavy denim [check out our travel trousers review]
  • Heels/heavy boots replace with sandals and smart plimsolls
  • Your makeup bag – invest in a travel kit or pack testers
  • Paper books, download an app

Like Cabin X One?
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Cabin X One Hybrid Carry-on bag


Final Thoughts

We are a generation of convenience which can result in our packing habits getting out of control. The Cabin X One restricts the amount we can pack which makes us asses our wants and needs. This makes for a quicker, stress-free transition through customs and on to the real adventure! Go, team minimalist!


Not quite your style? Here’s our full cabin bags review


 
Disclaimer: This bag was gifted to us by CabinMax. An honest review as always. 

The North Coast 500 Packing List: 23 Essential Items + 1 Not

North Coast 500 Packing List

So you’ve picked your route and it’s time to pack but what does one take on Scotland’s answer to Route 66, the North Coast 500? Granted you will be aware that the Scottish Highlands can face four seasons in one day and the summer months are blighted with those wee terrors, the midges, but never fear, this Scot is here and I have your back covered (literally) with our North Coast 500 packing list. If you are just starting your 500 miles road trip with this article, don’t miss our NC500 free guide full of itineraries and tips to get you on the road.

North Coast 500 Packing List

My top tip for what to pack for the NC500 is to have a suitcase/rucksack with the majority of your clothes and toiletries stored in, a smaller bag to which you can add your nightwear and ‘the next day’ clothes to, along with a day bag for the car, full of snacks and other road trip essentials.

The reason I suggest this three bag strategy is because when you only stay in accommodation on the North Coast 500 for one night, you don’t want to have to lug your full week’s bag in and out of the car each time.

On one occasion our room was pretty small and our suitcase would have caused injuries, as we stumbled in at 1am, full of the ‘water of life’ (when in Rome and all that)!

We both travel with a larger suitcase/backpack and a day bag for trips and hikes.


» Looking at where to stay on the NC500? Here’s our guide

Clothes

You may be sitting in the car for long periods of time while soaking up the Scottish Highland‘s 500 miles, so be comfortable.

If, like us, there is a constant battle for the aircon to be on (Craig) and off (me, Gemma) a throw or large poncho/cape US / UK is a recommended purchase for your road trip.

They are also great for hiding bags under if leaving the car unattended or throwing over your shoulders on the NC500 stops when the sun nips behind the clouds and leaves a chill in the crisp air. They also make for epic pictures too.

Achmelvich Beach Scotland NC500

Outerwear

You won’t be surprised that at some point during your trip you are going to be faced with the Scottish summer: rain. 

I never travel without my Marmot Precip rain jacket US / UK comes with me everywhere. because it is thin, light and folds away neatly into its own pocket.

Pack a sturdy umbrella for evenings too but never underestimate how hard our gales blow.

We always carry a waterproof bag cover like this one by Osprey US / UK for our day bags.

We’ve visited too many countries where downpours can happen at any moment (yes, Thailand I am looking at you) and since we carry our camera and battery packs in our day bag, we need to ensure that they will still switch on after a rain attack.

I wore this fashionable yellow raincoat but didn’t do any hikes in it.

For hikes, you definitely need a bonafide waterproof jacket.

John o Groats signpost Gemma North Coast 500 Scotland_

Footwear

On the whole, you will be jumping in and out of your car so footwear does not matter too much.

There are paths to most beaches (some made of wooden slats), castles, and caves (Smoo).

You might get caught out at Duncansby Head walking to the Stacks though as you navigate through a field with sheep poop. 

If you intend to hike, and I strongly recommend you do set aside two hours in Ullapool to do the short up and down the Stac Pollaidh, pack your hiking boots or shoes.

Craig recently purchased a pair of Scarpa boots and I’ve been hiking in Salomon for years now.

Both come recommended.

For hikes, I always tape up my feet using Leukotape US / UK to avoid blisters, works a treat.

→ Here’s our review of lightweight walking boots.

Leukotape Tape

In the past, my preference has always been Salomon Ellipse (US / UK) trek trainers/shoes because they are lighter for packing.

Plus, they do not touch your ankles which suited an issue created with my Achilles during the West Highland Way hike in Scotland.

Now I hike in Salomon Quest boots US / UK.

They are neat, comfortable and good-looking. I think nothing of rocking up to the pub in them at the end of the day. 

Craig prefers a boot. He has worn leather Scarpas for the past three years. 

You need to wear shoes (not sandals) for Smoo Cave.

If you are staying in hostels or camping, it’s advisable to take flip flops, sliders or Crocs with you for the shower rooms. I swear by Havaianas US / UK for durability.

Salomon Lightweight Shoes Ladies

Headgear

If you are camping you definitely want to carry a head torch with you.

Don’t rely on your mobile phone for light since you cannot trust the battery not to run out.

Non-campers, a hat comes in handy for hiding windswept hair, keeping your ears cosy up hills or even get a fancy one for those Instagram shots!

Electronic Essentials

It’s incredible how much we rely on technology.

Even on a digital detoxing three weeks in Cuba we still used our mobile phones every day for reading, listening to music and taking notes.

It’s always wise to carry a charged mobile phone battery pack in your bag so you’re not left without any tunes!

We recommend Anker’s chargers US / UK. They are slim, reliable and economical.

Anker Portable Charger Phone

Be aware that you will be driving without a signal for some of the journey.

We describe how to use the free Google maps app to your advantage here.

Take note of your accommodation addresses and also telephone numbers.

Carry some coins with you in case you need to use our iconic red telephone boxes!

Telephone Box and bikes at Glasgow Rivercylde Museum_

We have a new addition to our family – the JBL clip US / UK

This wee babe is waterproof and clips onto your bags so you never have to go without tunes again.

Make sure you download your Scottish playlist to your phone from Spotify before you set off as you won’t have 4G in the hills (or the villages at times).

Applecross North Coast 500 Packing List

Here’s a list of our favourite Scottish bands (or alternatively search for @Craigarmit on Spotify and download his Scotland album)

  • Camera Obscura
  • Belle and Sebastian
  • Paolo Nutini
  • The View
  • Orange Juice
  • Siobhan Wilson
  • Franz Ferdinand
  • Talking Heads
  • The Twilight Sad
  • Primal Scream
  • Placebo
  • Big Country
  • The Jesus and Mary Chain
  • Calvin Harris
  • CHVRCHES
  • Deacon Blue
  • Annie Lennox
  • and of course – The Proclaimers (500 miles…)

— The North Coast 500 is one the UK’s most scenic road trips so you don’t want to forget your camera and an extra battery.

If you are staying in hostels and carrying expensive electronics, you may want to consider investing in a PacSafe net US / UK.

We backpacked around 16 countries using this device and luckily had our belongings untapped.

PacSafe Net Travel Safety

To use you put your beloved things in your day bag, wrap the safe net around the bag, pull it closed, attached it to a non-moving structure like a bed frame or radiator and padlock shut. You’ll also need a padlock.

Pop a throw (that useful item again) over your bag and away you go to enjoy the sunset and/or craft beer.

If you are taking part in any of the water sports around the North Coast, pack a waterproof bag for your phone and camera.

Don’t be like Craig at Somoto Canyon in Nicaragua, stuck between a rock and a hard place, literally, with his phone in his hand and very deep water in the way.

Dunrobin Castle North Coast 500 Scotland_

Medical and Toiletries

Kid you not, I was a little red in the face after hiking up Ullapool’s Stac Pollaidh.

Silly me for not using my reliable factor 50 La Roche-Posay US / UK.

Pack some sunscreen you just never know.

Don’t forget your sunshades too.

Chanonry Point Lighthouse and Craig Scottish Highland NC500

Store a first aid kit, it takes up little room in the car but could be a lifesaver, there will be times when you don’t see anyone else for miles.

Let’s get to the main issue in Scotland; midges.

Midges are winged insects that nip the skin (all over) and leave angry red, itchy marks.

They like the summertime but hate the wind.

There’s no way to 100% prevent midges from attacking, and they come with friends (swarms of them) but you can use products such as Avon Skin So Soft US / UK to repel them.

Even if you are not camping it is advised to spray some around dusk time.

They attempted to eat us alive just hopping from restaurant to bar.

After spending a week on the West Coast in Scotland during summer, I am updating this guide to say you have to pack a midge net for your NC500 road trip if you plan to visit the West Coast from mid-May to late September.

You have two choices. 

Either a simple head and face covering like this one or a hat with a net fixed to it like this.

Let me know how you get on in the comments below.

Shieldaig What to Pack NC500

In Scotland, we have a zero tolerance for drink driving.

This also impacts on the next morning so be sure that the designated driver is not on the whisky too late into the wee hours the night before or even better, stay a couple of nights in one location and give them time off.

If you are heading to the NC500 distilleries on the east coast you might want to purchase a cheeky wee hip flask before you go.

They make for great gifts too. Prone to a heavy head? Try these hydration tablets US / UK, works a treat (recommended by a medic we met travelling).


» Our North Coast itinerary is free and jam-packed full of tips and images


Craft Beer NC500 Packing List

Road Trip Gear

Along with your throw, hat, shades and first aid pack you’ll also want to buy snacks.

There are small shops in many of the villages.

Inverness, Ullapool, Thurso, Wick, Tain and Dingwall have large supermarkets. Lidl is your cheapest option which can found on the east coast (there is only a Tesco on the west coast in Ullapool).

Food is 1/3 more expensive in restaurants and cafes than in the central belt of Scotland.

Businesses have to pay more and logistics make food transportation more difficult naturally.

Take a bottle and ask your accommodation to fill it up for you, saves you money and the environment!

If you are thinking of proposing, I know a few nice spots, send us a message! Oh, I adore a good love story.

Dunrobin Castle Gemma Craig Kiss Fountain gardens North Coast 500 Scotland_

North Coast 500 Packing Guide Checklist

  • A waterproof coat like this Marmot Precip US / UK
  • Or sturdier Mountain Equipment Rupal US / UK
  • Rab Alpine down coat USA / UK 
  • Merino Icebreaker tops USA / UK
  • Comfortable walking shoes and hiking boots – I swear by Salomon Ellipse trek shoes US / UK
  • Hiking socks like Bridgedale US / UK
  • Camera and battery
  • Battery pack for your phone – I vouch for Anker’s range US / UK
  • Osprey bag cover US / UK
  • Eco water bottle like  Tree Tribe US / UK, also keeps hot liquids warm
  • Bamboo cutlery set US / UK, plates, pots and gas if camping/campervanning 
  • Skross universal travel adaptor with USB slots US / UK
  • Pacsafe safety net US / UK
  • Large poncho/cape US / UK is a recommended purchase for your road trip.
  • Havaianas US / UK
  • Leukotape tape US / UK
  • JBL clip music speaker US / UK
  • Torch
  • First aid kit, anti-bac wipes and hand sanitiser 
  • Avon Skin So Soft US / UK
  • Hydration tablets US / UK
  • Hip flask
  • Cups
  • Shades, hat, mask

Free NC500 Guides 

We’ve created a lot of content to help you make the best of the NC500:


What to Pack for the NC500

Come rain, shine, hanger and hangovers you are now equipped for the best 500-mile drive of your life! Naturally, this road trip-packing guide can be adapted for other driving holidays too.

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Scotland North Coast 500 Packing List | What to pack for NC500

Have we forgotten anything? Tell us in the comments below.