Attention all Forum Users.
We’re working on a brand new shiny tool to make your experience as simple as possible.
Which means the community forums is now read only whilst we work on a new & improved ‘My Contiki’ space.


Winter Packing List

20 Mar 2011 Ashlie asked


I'm doing the Best of the USA tour in November and not sure what to pack or how much?

What kind of clothes do people where during the day?
How many nice going out clothes should i take??

  • Read the responses 12 responses so far
  • 23 May 2011 katharinexoxo said


    Hi Ashlie! I did exactly the same tour at the exact same time last year! I’ll give you a few pointers:

    - Basically every city you visit on Best Of The USA at that time of year is cold. Vegas was the ‘warmest’, I got down to wearing jeans and cardigan one day! haha, but New York will knock you flat with how cold it is, so I suggest taking one really warm coat and the rest can just be layers of lighter clothing. (I was wearing 7 layers one day in NY :S)
    - Take a good pair of boots that you can throw on with any outfit, that you can wear either casually during the day, but also going out if you don’t want to wear heels. Boots are so valuable at this time of year because they are warm and comfortable. You will live in them haha.
    - For during the day, people dress however they want I guess haha. Most of the time I wore jeans, boots, and then one of the 2 coats I brought (Beware that by bringing 2 you risk not having as much room for purchases!) and a scarf or something. Then other, lazier days I wore jeans and big hoodie or something, especially the flying days. In short, it doesn’t matter what you wear during the day.
    - I was actually under 21 when I went so I didn’t get to do the whole clubbing scene, especially in Vegas, but the others were all pretty dressed up. I suggest taking one pair of heels that can go with almost any outfit, so you don’t waste space bringing multiple pairs. Also, take one versatile going out dress that you can switch up with accessories and other clothing pieces. You will more than likely buy stuff you’ll end up wearing out while you’re there. I can’t express how important it is not to overpack!
    - Other good ideas are: take a good sized handbag in a colour that can go with anything, and one smaller going out bag/clutch. Wasting space on heaps of bags isn’t a good idea. If possible, use the handbag as your carry on handbag to free up even more space. Also have as your carry on luggage a small wheelie bag that fits the size requirements, this will be really good for fitting souvenirs and random crap haha.
    - This is something to be careful of; your international flight that takes you to and from the start and end point may allow larger luggage allowances, for example I travelled Qantas and they allowed 32kgs and 2 bags to be checked in, but I couldn’t really do these things because I had to think about the domestic flights in the US that had smaller baggage allowances and only one bag check in. Unless it’s been changed, we flew Southwest Airlines for all our domestic flights with Contiki, so if you go on their website they should outline all the allowances :)

    Sorry for the huge amount of info haha, but if you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask :)

  • 23 May 2011 Lozzzzzaaaaa said


    thanks i found this really helpful, as i am doing the wild western winter tour at the end of the year and was worried all those bulky winter jackets etc would take up too much space in my suitcase!!

  • 23 May 2011 Ashlie said


    Thanks for this information it was really helpful! Where abouts are the best places to go shopping while on the tour. I have heard shopping in Vegas is really cheap???

  • 24 May 2011 katharinexoxo said


    No problem guys!
    The best places for shopping on tour kinda depend on how much time you’re willing to spend on shopping. LA had a few good places, but you don’t get much time to do any real shopping in LA, as the itinerary is pretty packed. Shopping in Santa Monica would have been amazing, but you only get limited time there as you have to be back at the bus by a certain time, and you wanna make time to see the Santa Monica Pier. I really wish we’d had more time there though, as we walked through the main outside mall area and it looked pretty good! And it’s pretty far away from LA, so it would be hard to go there in your spare time.

    I found San Fran pretty good, go to the Westfield there! There are also some smaller, cheap boutiques at Fisherman’s Wharf, so check them out.

    Vegas is pretty good and cheap. The main shopping places are the outlets. There are 2 different outlets, the premium ones and something else I can’t remember the name of, but apparently the premium ones are better. I went to the premium ones and I actually didn’t find them as good as people raved about them, but hey, maybe I was just unlucky. There’s heaps of designer brands really heavily discounted :) You probably won’t get time to go to both as they are on opposite ends of The Strip and there are so many other things to see in Vegas rather than spending your whole time shopping. Although, you do get a lot of spare time in Vegas so do with it what you like. (P.S. the hotel in Vegas is awesome and in a fantastic spot on The Strip!!)

    I can’t really give you much on New York in terms of cheap shopping, as by that city we had either run out of money to spend on clothes or spent all our time sightseeing. Of course there’s the glitzy Fifth Avenue, but unless you want Tiffany & Co, Abercrombie and Fitch, Cartier, Saks, Juicy Couture etc etc then it’s not really that good. It’s more of a window shopping visit haha. There is however a H&M on Fifth Avenue from memory, which is pretty good.

    Also, Forever 21 in all cities is pretty awesome. The one in Times Square NYC is like 4 or 5 levels, definitely go there!

  • 24 May 2011 katharinexoxo said


    Also, in general you’ll just find everything cheap in America compared to Australia, I had a hard time not buying everything because I thought everything was such a good deal!

  • 24 May 2011 Ashlie said


    It defiently a good thing that I will be having my 21st before i leave for America because I will be making a stop to Tiffany and Co to be some sterling Silver jewellery hahaha and want some abercrombie and fitch hoodies.

    Did you have a chance to see a broadway musical in New York?

    How much spending money would you recommend taking and did you do all of the optional extras??

  • 24 May 2011 Lozzzzzaaaaa said


    is it correct that you book your optional extras while on tour? or before you go…..

  • 25 May 2011 katharinexoxo said


    Yes I did actually see a Broadway musical! I saw West Side Story which was awesome. Your tour guide will probably tell you this, but to get Broadway tickets for really cheap prices theres a booth in Times Square where you can get them for like half price, but you have to line up on the actual day you wanna go, and if they are sold out when you get to the front, you have to like quickly choose something else haha. I think the booth opened at 3, and we lined up from 2 because we couldn’t stand to be out in the cold any longer, but the line was pretty big by then. But it was definitely worth it, they were fairly good seats (pretty sure that was just luck though) and we got them for $60 when they are usually $110 or $120 or something so definitely give that a go if you wanna save money.

    Depends how much you wanna spend i guess, but I took about $1500 and left with about $100 left haha! but yeah, to go comfortably I would recommend that, but if you wanna do absolutely everything and buy everything take more. I was more of a bargain traveller haha, I saved where I could and I don’t really buy designer brands so I guess those things helped. I didn’t do that many of the extras. Disneyland is counted as an extra, so I chose that, because if you sign up for it with Contiki then you get a deal price including entry (you can choose either one or both parks) and a bus ride to and from Anaheim to the park which is way better than trying to get there yourself, coz you’re with your group and whatnot, seeing as almost everyone chooses the Disneyland extra. I seriously cannot remember the other extras I did haha sorry :| But I know there were some good ones, like I know there was an extra in Vegas where you could take a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, but it $320 so I didn’t do it, but the people that did it said it was amazing! So definitely do that if you have the money!

    And yes, you do sign up while on tour for the extras. I think it’s on the first day of the tour in LA, the tour guide hands around a clipboard for each optional extra and you put down your name on the ones you wanna do, then they will specify a time or something where you can pay for them. For example, mine specified that we all had to pay during the group breakfast in LA like the day after or 2 days after we selected them I think? It’ll all be explained by your tour guide so no worries there. :)

  • 29 May 2011 Ashlie said


    Thank you so much for all the info! Is there anything else I should know before my tour??

  • 29 May 2011 Lozzzzzaaaaa said


    awesome info, cant wait!!!! and its still like 7 months away

  • 29 May 2011 katharinexoxo said


    Thats okay :) Happy to help.

    Ummm I can’t think of much else, but the only other tip I have if you’re trying to save money is to do a little grocery shopping in each city, which saves you buying meals all day every day. Like for some of our days out, we used some bread rolls we bought from the supermarket as our packed lunch and took other snacks and stuff because it works out cheaper than spending on food whereever you go, as half the time it’s all overpriced because it’s a tourist area. You can usually take any leftover stuff you have to the next city in your luggage. All the hotels will have a fridge and maybe a microwave etc so yeah, buying non-takeaway food/restaurant food at times can really help your budget, and leaves more room for shopping!! :)

    Hope you guys have heaps of fun on your tours!!

  • 21 Jun 2011 HaylzNzNyc said


    Cheap shopping in new York century 21 and Burlington coats.. Best for winter wear merino wool thermal and a down jacket, I live in new York.. It’s not how u dress it’s what ur wearing, merino will and duck/goose down filled jackets..

We are no longer accepting new responses to this discussion thread.



Visas? Money? Where to go? Chat to us about travel.