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What to pack/ or not to pack?

19 Oct 2009 mel_mel_ asked

I am looking at doing a Contiki tour late next year, and I am someone that stresses about what to pack WHEREEVER I go.<BR>I found a thread in the general Contiki forum about what people wish they had brought on tour, and things they didn’t n need ect. But most of the posts where in regards to the European tours. So I thought it might be nice to start a discussion but for the USA tours.<BR><BR>SO if you have been on a USA Contiki what:<BR>Do you wish you had of packed?<BR>Couldn’t have lived without?<BR>Brought with you but didn’t need? <BR>And so on...<BR>Post Away???<BR> <img src="" alt="Smiler" width="15" height="15"><!--graemlin::)-->
  • Read the responses 17 responses so far
  • 19 Oct 2009 JimBrayFan said


    US tours are bus heavy so I wish I had packed a travel pillow and a bottle opener for all those room parties that spring up.

    The rest you can buy as you go.

  • 20 Oct 2009 Katie said


    I agree with the bottle opener, we seemed mainly to do room parties and we were always chasing down the one person who had a bottle opener!

    I dont go anywhere without my travel pillow so i was fine there.

    I was happy that my mum convinced me to take an extensive first aid kit coz alota ppl were coming to me for stuff, and also my brother got food poisoning at the Grand Canyon, so all our pills came in handy then.

    I couldnt have lived without my thermals (I went in winter)

    And i really didnt need my dress that i packed, everyone says you need it for Las Vegas, but most girls on my tour just wore jeans and a nice top.

  • 2 Nov 2009 Suzanne said


    i did the eastern discovery in the summer. im glad i took:
    - a posh dress for miami
    - first aid kit. i did need to buy some bite cream cos i got bitten quite badly
    - lots of shorts/vest tops
    - clothes that can mix and match for going out. i took 2 skirts and just wore different vest tops
    -plenty of memory cards for my camera.
    -a few cheaper tops/shorts/underwear, so i could throw them away before i came home to save space for my huge shopping trip in new york that i did!

    things i took and didnt need:
    -clothes that i thought i’d wear but never did!
    -hair straightners, my hair was straight for about 5mmins but went curly in the humidity!

    things i should have taken:
    -a beach towel. i ended up buying one from a shop on the beach. on a few stops the bus stopped at the beach for a few hours before going to the hotel so we couldnt use hotel towels. i would take one you dont mind leaving behind.
    -more money, you can never have enough money, you will be surprised at how much you will spend on food, snacks and drinks for the bus etc.

    im glad i did all the optionals, even if i wouldnt do them again. the only one i wouldnt recommend was the cooking school in new orleans. it was so boring and lasted forever, but im glad i did it otherwise i would have regreted it.

    cant think of any more for now!

  • 2 Nov 2009 NaHdz said


    A travel Pillow is a great idea Im so glad I took mine! and a light jumper/sweater for the bus because the air con can get quite cool..

    I really didn’t need my straightner my roomie had one anyway and I didn’e even use it, it takes up much needed space same goes for hairdryers, most of the hotels will have one..

    my packing tip is, pack the clothes you want then once your done HALF IT trust me, I didn’t wear alot of the clothes I took cause I shopped and then I wanted to wear my new things lol I lived in my jeans but it was fairly cool when I went so pack according to the season..

  • 3 Nov 2009 Nickee said


    Thanks for the tips guys.

    I am shocking when it comes to packing, always over pack and consider things that are likely to not ever happen.

    I love my hair straightener, but I really don’t know if I should take it or not.

    Also, where do most of you get your travel pillows from???

  • 3 Nov 2009 cdm115 said


    For the hairdryer and straightener I think if you use it everyday (or so) at home, then take it, maybe invest in a travel one. If it’s something you use once in a while, leave it home.

    Most hotels have irons, hairdryers, shampoos, shower caps, soap or have them available. If it’s something you might use but not at that hotel, then take in case the next one doesn’t have it. also, there are drug stores everywhere – they will have meds, makeup, food, and lots of other stuff you might need. There are also Target, WalMart, KMart all over the place so if you don’t have or run out of stuff you can find it at one of these places. The grocery store also has a long list of non-food items too.

    Debit cards and credit cards are accepted pretty much everywhere.

    If you have an iphone or other like device maybe a tip calculator to make tipping easy.
    Along the same line maybe a converter for temps and metric.

  • 6 Jan 2010 Kaz said


    Did you take suitcases or those big travelling backpacks with them when you went? Im going La to the Bay in August.

  • 10 Jan 2010 Cali Kay said


    Pack or purchase bug spray and suntan lotion. It’s pretty cheap here in the states but you will need it if you’re traveling in a warmer month.

  • 21 Feb 2010 Amy said


    I’m going on the Best of U.S.A tour in January, and I know it will be cold – but i’m a girl who likes to dress up to party. Anyone know how dressed up people get on these trips for the clubs etc. in New York? Will I freeze if I don’t want to wear jeans out?

  • 21 Feb 2010 NaHdz said


    You can get the travel pillows at the airport for about $15 :-) or I think Myer has them..

  • 4 Mar 2010 Amber said


    I’m going on the Best of the USA and Canada in November/December. I think that’s autumn over there? I’m not sure what to pack for the cold? I don’t wnat to go overboard with warm clothes as they’re big and take up room that I need for all the stuff I’m going to buy! Haha
    Oh and shoes – what kind of shoes??


  • 5 Mar 2010 socalgal said


    Think layers. It will save space on having to pack the big bulky items.

    Amber- you will be here at the start of winter. You may want to bring a waterproof jacket for the snow.

  • 6 Mar 2010 katharinexoxo said


    hey amber! I think we’re going on the same best of the USA tour! So glad to see someone else who is going during winter, everyone thinks i’m crazy.

    I’ve been worrying about the amount of space the warm clothes wil take up as well, and there’s really no solution, we’re gonna have to use alot of our space for the warm clothes. I guess that’s just a consequence of going at that time of year.

    I’m going to be underage, so I won;t be able to get into bars/clubs etc, but thats not really a problem for me. But I still wanted to dress up to go out or something. What should I bring guys? I know New York is basically out of the question, because I know it’ll be freezing, but LA, maybe?

  • 14 Mar 2010 Hayley said


    I did the Grand Southern two years ago, here’s some advice I think might help!

    Brought but didn’t need

    1. TOO many clothes!
    As someone mentioned above, these tours are very bus heavy and most of the time you really want to dress comfortable. That being said, I found I wore the same pair of yoga pants quite often and only touched my jeans on nights we went out. That being said, pretty much every hotel we stayed at had laundry facilities, which was fantastic! I really only wore about 20% of what I brought and trust me, you will want the extra space for souvenirs!

    2. Hairdryer
    Most, if not all, hotels have these now. If you have finer hair, it will dry quickly but remember a straightner for touch ups. I found that people on my tour (myself included) really only made an effort on nights out, during the day we all could really care less about the fact someone may have had frizzy hair or no make up!

    3. A book
    I brought it to read at the airport waiting for my flights and that was about it. It just ended up getting in the way after about the 5th day. Again, space that can be saved for souvenirs!

    Wish I had’ve brought

    1. A PURSE!
    I brought a day bag and of course, my suitcase but failed to bring a small purse/clutch for nights out! It will save you spending unnecessary $$$ buying one and you won’t have to spend the first few nights trying to cram everything into your camera case and making it pass as a purse! Roll Eyes<!--graemlin::rolleyes:-->

    2. Warmer clothes
    Figuring that we were going to be spending a majority of our time in hot places, I only brought one hoodie and froze in the evenings in places like the Grand Canyon, Colorado and even Texas.

    3. Aloe gel
    No matter how much sunscreen I put on, I seem to be prone to sunburns. Aloe cream/gel would have made the process much faster in healing and would save for uncomfortable bus rides and showers! Ouch!

    …I find that there really is no right or wrong way to pack, you know yourself better than anyone and what you find essential or not needed is going to be totally up to you. And while it can be stressful, use it as a learning experience. You’ll be a pro for next time! And if you’re on the fence about something and decide not to bring it but need it later on, chances are someone will have it on your tour and be more than happy to share!

    Happy travels!

  • 4 Dec 2011 TyReese85 said


    Just stumbled onto this blog via a Google search and LOVE it!

  • 5 Dec 2011 Explorer1329361 said


    This blogger has some good advice about what to do food/restaurant wise:

  • 18 Mar 2012 lozen89 said


    im going on two back to back contiki’s. Both in the US. This thread has been helpful! Thanks. Any other hints and tips would be much appreciated!

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