Hold on, currently fulfilling a childhood ‘dream’ of mine!!! I have been reading blogs for years, ever since I was little(ish). I remember obsessing over “what’s in my bag?” posts in particular, mostly from here. Guys, I cannot even begin to tell you how badly I wanted to start a blog when I was younger, and now that I have one, I feel like I’m making younger-me proud. Seems cheesy (and lame and nerdy), I know, but this small dream of mine is becoming reality!
So here it goes! I didn’t feel like my everyday bag is necessarily exciting enough to dedicate a full post to, but as I have been going on road trips recently (with two coming up this weekend), I thought I would share my bag essentials and some tips for preparing for your next trip!
For every road trip I take, I bring this bag. My aunt and uncle got it for me for Christmas and I have no complaints about it! It’s a kind of canvas material, so it’s not totally waterproof, but I’m fairly careful with my things anyways, so everything is covered. It has two front pockets, a draw-string closure and three inside pockets that are the size of a phone or wallet. It does the job well; I wouldn’t use it in severe conditions, but it’s perfect for a day trip.
Granola Bar: Let’s start with the two front pockets. Usually a granola bar, also substituted with jalapeno jack kettle chips, Starbucks butter croissants, and just about any kind of candy. I try to have food on me at all times during a trip. I have had too many instances where I was fatigued and my blood sugar was low; trust me, it is not fun. I usually bring a water bottle as well to stay hydrated, maybe orange juice to keep my blood sugar up.
Instax Film: A pack of ten Instax polaroids for my Instax Mini. When the moment calls for a cute polaroid, I want to be prepared! The one in my camera is on it’s last frame so I will have to use the next pack very soon.
Everyday Bag: My purse actually fits comfortably in my backpack so I have one carry-all for my belongings. If we leave the car to go out on a hike or something, I can have peace of mind knowing that all of my important items are with me without having to carry two bags.
Lip Balm: I have two lip balms in my everyday bag, Burt’s Bees Mango Moisturizing Lip Balm and Glossier’s Balm Dotcom. I actually need to replace both of them, but in the past, a windy trail can mean problems for my lips (aka chapped lips for days). I hope I can buy all four flavors of the Balm Dotcom but until then, these ones do the trick. (P.S. Click any Glossier link on my site for 20% off your first purchase!)
Headphones: If I’m not driving, sometimes I like to listen to my own music. Hardly ever do I use these on a road trip (my friends have good music taste), but I have them on me in my purse anyways.
Wallet: I hope I don’t need to explain this.
Backup SD Cards: Fun story. During this trip to San Diego, I realized halfway through the drive that I had forgotten my SD card at home. I didn’t have a backup, so my gracious friends pulled over for food while I practically sprinted into the CVS across the parking lot. I bought a 4GB card for an outrageous amount of money (keep in mind, I was a broke college student) and breathed a sigh of relief. And those pictures turned out to be some of my favorites ever. So, lesson learned, and I now keep two backup cards on me at all times. I hate to admit that the San Diego incident wasn’t the last time I forgot my SD card in my laptop. Better safe than sorry.
Cat: HA! Got you! I don’t bring my cat on road trips, guys, let alone stuff her in my backpack. Although I wish I could (Moonrise Kingdom style, if you know what I mean). But she started getting in the way while I was taking pictures for this post. You’re welcome.
Camera Bag: Within my backpack, I have a small camera bag (not pictured) that came with my camera. It has space for the body and two lenses, and the entire bag fits in my backpack alongside my purse. It has other small compartments where I put my camera battery chargers and phone charger.
Camera Equipment: Other than my main camera I use for my photos (and for this post), I carry an Instax Mini 8 in Black, a GoPro Hero, and my kit lens, 18-55mm. I don’t use the kit lens often unless I need it for landscapes or what-have-you.
GoPro Equipment: The lazy side of me came out when I was photographing my GoPro equipment. Inside this black draw-string pouch is an array of GoPro mounts, accessories and extra hardware. To be honest, I always forget I even have the GoPro, but during one of the last adventures I went on, I wanted to use it but didn’t have a proper mount. So, never again will I forget.
Jacket: The most recent addition to my bag. Considering most of my trips are to the Bay Area, I always expect cold weather. I like bringing my bomber jacket from Topshop because it’s comfortable and it goes with anything (mostly). If it doesn’t match my #ootd, I like bringing a sweater or my denim jacket. Bottom line, bring extra clothes. The last time I was in SF, we went to Lands End, which I knew ahead of time was going to be windy and a tad bit chilly. I changed into a pair of jeans and threw my jacket on. Make sure that you know where you’re going, what the weather might be like, and pack for that. Another helpful tip: since my jacket is fairly sturdy, I fold it up/lay it at the bottom of my backpack to give my bag structure.
iPhone: Last but most certainly not least, my trusty phone. I hope I don’t have to explain why this is most essential. Oh well, I will anyway. It’s a GPS, a guidebook and a camera all in one! I do love taking pictures with my DSLR but sometimes iPhone shots are easier to achieve. The quality on phone cameras these days is quite extraordinary, so don’t be afraid to use it! If I’m going to a new city, or I’m looking for new adventure in a known city like SF, then I use different apps to find cool places. Your phone is your greatest road trip tool and it’s all at your fingertips.
An Extra Pair of Shoes: Especially if you’re going to the beach or on a hike, bring extra shoes. Whether you bring a pair of slippers for the car, or hiking boots for the trail, don’t be shy about changing clothes on a trip. This tip is definitely for the hikers out there. In the past, I would just wear only my athletic shoes on hiking trips. I wish I would have brought a more comfortable shoe for afterwards or even just for the car ride home. Extra socks recommended as well.
Hairbrush: This one is for the ladies and just more out of my own experience. Before, I would have my hair done/curled and a strong San Francisco breeze would flatten and tangle it in one swoop. I have a brush in my car, but have yet to put one in my bag. Also, hair-ties. But I’m sure every girl already knows this.
Car Chargers: Every single trip requires multiple phone chargers for the car ride. I usually bring my own chord, but if you have an outlet to plug into the car, bring it. It will make it easier for everyone else once your phone is fully charged.
One $20 Bill: This is just a tip I’ve seen around for multiple reasons. Keep it somewhere on you, in your shoe, your pocket, whatever. Most toll bridges I’ve come across only accept cash. One time, my friends and I counted all of our change and we still didn’t have enough for the $5 fee. Thank goodness one of our friends (who was sleeping) woke up to give us the extra dollar we needed. And if you come across a cool restaurant that only takes cash, guess what?! You have cash! It’s just a handy tip to know, but not completely necessary in all situations.
Blanket: I made it a point when I first got my license to have a blanket in my car at all times. For those spontaneous trips where you sit in the trunk of your car to look out over the stars, a blanket is nice to have. And when the people in the backseat start to drift off, I offer them the blanket to make them more comfortable. It’s like hospitality but in a moving car. Same goes for a towel during beach trips.
Of course, it’s impossible to be prepared at all times, but keeping a bag full of essentials has been so helpful for last-minute trips. However, I know plenty of people who can wing it and be completely fine with nothing. It’s all about how you (and your friends) travel and where you plan on going.
I absolutely loved writing this post! Hopefully, my (slightly stressful) experiences will save you some trouble and maybe some of this advice will help you for your next trip! Do you have any road trip tips and essentials? Let me know!
(P.S. You can shop my road trip essentials below!!)