Some of you might remember that I spent this year’s July in the US, on a backpacking adventure along the West Coast. This trip has been my first trip without a large heavy suitcase or backpack. I have to admit that I tend to overpack, mostly because I am always worried that I might forget something or that there will be some kind of emergency. I have shared my USA packing list shortly before my trip, so today I want to review this list – with a bit of distance on what was good to pack and what I could have left at home.
Things that I forgot on my USA packing list
The most obvious thing that I forgot or more or less ignored during packing was my travel adapter/ charger. For some reason I couldn’t find mine at home and was totally sure that I would find one in Seattle very easily. Turned out that it cost me almost half a day to find a decent one because all the adapters that I could find at first, were for travelers from the US going to Europe, not the other way round. I now carry a tiny USB plug in my camera bag (even though I’m back in Germany) – just to make sure I will at least be able to charge my phone next time.
Another thing on this list would be a hoodie, or comfortable clothes in general. Germans don’t wear yoga pants or hoodies very often. If they do, it is mostly for working out or sleeping, so for some reason I didn’t bring any comfortable clothing along. Also, I underestimated the weather or rather wind and rain, so that I actually loved my warm hoodie and my yoga pants that I had to buy on my trip.
Things that I could have left at home
I still love my Lonely Planet books, but to be completely honest, I didn’t use them too much on this trip. I have read a lot about people having the ebooks on their Phones and I’m sure this is a better alternative than having to carry two travel guides in your backpack. Those books get heavy after some time! I plan to change that in the future – on Lonely Planet’s last sale I purchased a lot of ebooks that should last me for a while!
Against better knowledge and against every packing list’s advice, I also packed my small travel-sized hairdryer. It even almost made it on my must-pack list because I always get sick when I don’t dry my hair! Turns out that I didn’t use it very much. In Seattle that was thanks to the missing adapter and sharing a room with people who often slept in. In Portland, the hostel actually provided hair dryers (at least there was one in each bathroom) and San Francisco was warm enough to walk around with damp hair.
I also never wore that one dress that I brought or the leggings for that matter. Maybe I’m not a dress person, I rarely wear them at home and I feel uncomfortable when I am in one and have to walk a lot. And I did walk a lot on that trip. My advice would therefore be: Only bring clothes that you would also wear at home!
Most helpful things on my USA packing list
I really loved my Eagle Creek Pack-It cubes that I bought a few months before my trip. I didn’t think that I would be able to keep up being that organized, but it turned out just fine and I actually used them during the whole time. Although they were not cheap, I can now say that it was money well spent.
I was positively surprised by the travel towels that I brought. They really looked like they wouldn’t work for me, but after a few days I was very convinced. They pack small, dry fast and were easy to wash when needed. I also sometimes used them to separate my bed from the rest of the room.
Everything else on my packing list was useful as it was! I brought just enough clothes to last for a week, so that I had to do laundry every seven days. I’d recommend that to everyone, because it means that you’ll have enough to wear without having to worry but it also fit into a small carry-on suitcase. I’d probably research more on the weather, I didn’t bring a rain coat (for example) which would have been nice to have, but could be replaced by an umbrella!