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Packing List/Travel Tips- USA!

28 Feb 2011 Sami-Rose asked


Hey Guys, there was an old Forum thread that seems to have disappeared with the website change, it was super handy and had heaps of pages of posts with packing and travel tips. Would be great to get a new list together, for myself and other travellers! I've got a Best of USA trip booked for 6th of May, so in particular any North America specific tips would be appreciated :)

Things you decided not to (or forgot to) pack, and needed
Things you brought and didn't end up needing
Things you wish you knew before travelling
Anything you missed out on due to lack of time that you wish you'd seen/done


  • Read the responses 15 responses so far
  • 28 Feb 2011 katie said


    I would love to no this as well im going to do the Grand Southern in June.

  • 28 Feb 2011 Ashlie said


    This would be great to know im doing the Best of USA in November.

  • 28 Feb 2011 Jess said


    I’d love to hear from anyone who did USA in the winter (Western Highlights).. what sort of things did you pack?

  • 1 Mar 2011 KirrynA said


    I would love to know things too! I’m going on the Best of USA next month and I was thinking it would be warm-ish in LA but apparently not!

  • 1 Mar 2011 Sami-Rose said


    I just remembered from the last thread that a few people mentioned about power adapters, as well as voltage converters because apparently in the US not only do they have different plugs but also their appliances have a different voltage so stuff from Australia doesn’t normally work without both!

    And probably should remember to bring vitamins (apparently Airborne is a good one for preventing catching anything while travelling!)

  • 2 Mar 2011 Ashlie said


    Does anyone know where we can buy a voltage converter from??

  • 2 Mar 2011 Ashlie said


    Thanks Kate!!

  • 6 Mar 2011 Stacey said


    Here a a few tips I have after my Europe trip. I’m sure some things will be a bit different when travelling in the USA so it would be really good if people who have done a US tour could post their ideas as well.

    Things I’m glad I brought with me:

    - Spare camera battery and memory card

    - Power board (that way you only need one plug adaptor and charge your phone/camera/etc. all at the same time)

    - Travel iron – I don’t think any of the hotels we stayed at had an iron there so we had a few fellow tourmates borrowing our one. We didn’t use it that often but it was good to have for when we needed it and it was pretty small so it didn’t take up much room in the bag. Not sure if this would be necessary in the US?

    - Washing powder – Only one hotel we stayed at had a self service laundry nearby so if we were staying
    somewhere for a couple of nights we’d sometimes wash some of our clothes in the bath. Again, not sure if this would be relevant to the USA as I think a lot of the hotels have cheap laundry services.

    - Travel pillow – good for sleeping on flights and on the bus

    - Cold/flu tablets – we got sick right after the tour ended lol, and this was another thing that one or two tour mates borrowed from us

    - After sun lotion/spray (aloe vera)

    Things I didn’t bring but wish I had:

    - Waterproof/warm jacket – I travelled in late spring/early summer so I didn’t think this would be necessary. Turns out it snowed when we visited Switzerland and we got a little bit of rain in some places

    - Nicer clothes for going out in the evenings – I think I only took one skirt and one niceish top, should have bought something a bit dressier (this was mainly for when I went to the Moulin Rouge)

    - Baggage scales – we bought sooooo much stuff and its hard to know whether your bag is still under the airline limit

    - Noise cancelling headphones – for the 24 flight from Sydney to London and back again

    Things I didn’t need to bring

    - Hairdryer – I didn’t bring one and never regretted that decision – they had them in every hotel

    - Travelers Checks – again, I didn’t bring these and never needed them. We used cash or credit cards everywhere. Only came across one brand of ATM that didn’t like our Australian Visa cards, other than that we had no problems withdrawing cash.

    - I think I brought a few too many toiletries, some of them I never used

  • 10 Mar 2011 Alex said


    I did the 14-day Wild Western tour last summer and had a BLAST!!! Adding to Stacey’s comments above….

    - If you’re going during the summer time (July-August in North America), bring sunscreen… and USE IT!! I had a bad sunburn because I didn’t put any on before venturing out on the Las Vegas strip. Big mistake. Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses.

    - For the guys going out on in the evening to the clubs/bars with strict dress codes (Las Vegas for sure, but I don’t know about New York or other places), don’t forget about dress shoes. If you didn’t pack any, don’t freak out — you can always buy a nice pair at a local shoe store.

    - I brought along a bunch of travel guides (Frommer’s, Eyewitness Travel, etc.) but didn’t really use them very much. They just took up space and weight in my luggage.

    - For things like toothpaste, dental floss and contact lens solution, there are pharmacies where you can pick them up. Many of the places we stayed on the Wild Western (i.e. major cities) were close to supermarkets or drug stores, so it was easy to restock.

    - Speaking of contact lenses… if you wear them, make sure you bring along spares. Might be a good idea to order more before you leave for your trip. Also bring along your glasses, in case you lose your contacts — or sleep in and don’t have time to put them on because you had to make a run for the coach from the hotel (happened to me a few times too many).

    - Drink plenty of water, and eat fruits and vegetables. Seriously. It gets really hot in many parts of the U.S. during the summer, and you’ll dry out like a prune. As for the fruits and veg, you need your nutrients and fiber. Nothing could be more unpleasant than struggling with constipation during the tour.

    - I missed out on taking photos of some amazing or funny moments of the trip because the battery died on my camera. Keep an eye on the battery indicator on your digital camera, and when it shows that it’s running low, recharge it right away! There are power points on the coach for recharging electronic devices, so make use of it.

    - And keep an eye on your camera, especially if you got those small point-and-shoots that fit in your pocket. A tour mate lost her camera while in Vegas, and half her vacation memories disappeared with it.

    - And finally…….. depending on the tour you’re doing, you may not be able to see everything you wanted to see because time is so limited. That’s just the way it is with sightseeing tours like Contiki. I spent three days in San Francisco, and still didn’t cover everything on my bucket list. Remember that if you like a certain place so much, you can always come back in the future — it’ll still be there, waiting for you. I did just that… a few months later, I went on Contiki’s 4-day San Francisco New Year’s tour! =D

  • 13 Mar 2011 Sami-Rose said


    Hey guys, the old thread just got restored, you can find it here:

  • 6 Apr 2011 happy go said


    hey just wondering what would it be like in new york in may will i need warm clothes at all

  • 6 Apr 2011 Sami-Rose said


    I looked up the average temperatures, you are looking at mainly between 10 and 20 degreec (celcius) so definitely needing some thicker clothes, jeans/jumpers probably a jacket, I will probably bring a leather jacket and a scarf for the extra cold days but I don’t think it will be freezing just a little chilly!

  • 6 Apr 2011 happy go said


    thank you for that info much appreciated

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