How to pack for a California road trip


Packing for a road trip in California can be a bit tricky. I suppose that goes for any destination or road trip but I know this to be true from much experience on California road trips. The weather can be quite varied, especially if you’re going from inland to a beach city or the mountains, and so on.

I did so many trips up and down California when I was in my formative years that I’ve lost track of how many exactly.

I remember my middle sister and I going on our trip with or parents to see the Sequoia National Forest when I was a surly pre-teen. I went up to Sacramento twice to visit family around the same time period. My family went on several trips to visit my brother in Washington when I was in junior high and high school. Most were by plane, but I once road-tripped it up with my parents in a car.

The year I graduated high school, my oldest sister also graduated college, and my aunt took us on a road trip up California as a gift. We went as far as Santa Cruz, and then back down from there.

The most recent road trip I was on was about two years ago when one of my aunts drove us from Covina, California to Boise, Idaho, by way of the 5 freeway to the 80, if I’m remembering correctly. We went up California with a stop near Berkeley, through Nevada with a stop in Reno, zoomed past Oregon and into Idaho.

Before I go on what may be my 7th California road trip, I thought I would share some of the packing tips with you.

Pack for adventures


The unexpected may happen. I’m not the most active person when I’m at home. But on vacation, I do more. I’ll go on long walks, short runs, impromptu bike rides, or even raft along a river. So, I always, always take running shoes, active wear, and a swim suit with me on every trip.

Plan an outfit for a nice place


My road trips don’t require me to be fancy most of the time, but I like to bring along at least one nice pair of shoes and either a skirt or dress. I might decide to go to church with family or to a wine bar with some young people. I wouldn’t want to only have shorts, jeans, t-shirts and Vans.

Keep the weather in mind


On that road trip to Boise I mentioned, it started raining not long after my aunt and I had arrived at the Donner Memorial State Park. I was wearing a skirt, t-shirt, and flip flops. Thankfully, I had a sweatshirt and umbrella in the car.

I find layers are key for me when traveling. I like to pack leggings and scarves on road trips even though I don’t wear them often at home because they are great for layering. I also like to bring thin long sleeve shirts that can be worn oven tank tops. The weather can be hard to predict, so it’s good to be prepared.

One thought on “How to pack for a California road trip

  1. Usually, only tourists wear clothes that have their state, country, or island name on ’em. But I still wear stuffs that say “California” on ’em. Good buys at thrift stores, that’s for sure. Good tips, Erin!

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