Guest Post: How To Become A Pack-Rat (Road Trip Edition)

Hi everyone! As I mentioned, a few of my friends were awesome and drove cross-country this summer! They documented it all via blog, but they also wanted to share some tips here! (See another guest post from them here.) ~ Sarah


Greetings again Shades of Sarah readers! Sarah asked us a while ago to write another guest blog post for her about the ins and outs of packing for a road trip, but we waited until the end of our trip in order to have full knowledge of the situation.

First things first, we are not uber-girly girls so we didn’t concern ourselves too much with accessories and makeup and coordinating outfits because well, we’re in a car with only each other for 25 days. That being said, it’s still hard to know what will be useful and needed for different climates and situations.

We made the semi-executive decision to only pack for about 10 days because we knew we were going to be stopping at friends’ and family’s houses to take over their laundry rooms. However, we packed pretty much all the underwear we own because you can re-wear shorts and t-shirts but not that stuff. Packing really all depends on what you’re doing; we knew we were going to attempt to be athletic in the national parks, so packed lots of t-shirts and athletic shorts and sneakers, plus a bathing suit or two just in case. Speaking of just in case items: sweatshirt and sweatpants or leggings, and a jacket. Necessary items unless you’re only going south during the summer months.


But we also went to many cities and needed to not look like the orphans from Annie (Miss Hannigan’s kids, not the Daddy Warbucks makeover). So we packed some nice shorts and regular shirts. Katie also knew she was going to her cousin’s wedding so packed a nice dress and shoes for that, but packing some nicer outfits will always come in handy for going to dinner or out at night (but don’t overdo it).

Long drives always include…well, long periods of driving. And this means you need comfortable good shoes for driving, otherwise your shins, calves, and toes start to really kill. Anything with a back is good, Sperry’s, Toms, sneakers, Keds, Converse, all of these work; we know this because we brought them. But we also brought flip flops and flats for those situations that needed it. OH, we almost forgot about the socks. Socks people. Bring them for all situations, not just for wearing with sneakers; go to Kohl’s or somewhere and buy the “not-socks”, kind of shoe inserts that you can wear with Toms and Sperry’s, because walking around for 10 hours in shoes without socks (unless they’re sandals) is just NOT a good idea for a plethora of reasons, trust us.

All in all, we’re fairly chill packers (read: lazy and put off packing until the last minute so just threw things in a suitcase), so we didn’t really overpack. We don’t regret packing anything clothing-wise and wore almost everything (we think, we’ve kind of lost track of what we have and have not worn). The last really important thing we didn’t think of, but are glad we had, is a duffel bag each. At first it was great for extra storage, and then it was the best thing ever for storing dirty laundry (see above for the not-sure-of-what’s-clean situation).

This is our last day of driving together, so writing this is a little bittersweet but we had an amazing time and encourage anyone with the time to go on any kind of long trip like this. If our posts inspire you to go write the next “On the Road”, we’d like a shout-out;  just kidding (not really), but we hope this has been a little helpful — even if it’s packing for a week to the beach!

Guest Post: Road Trip Dos & Don’ts

Hi everyone! As I mentioned, my friends Katie and Nancy are being awesome and traveling cross-country this summer! They’re documenting it all via blog, but here’s a guest post for a preview! ~ Sarah

Hello Shades of Sarah readers! Sarah asked us to write a post about our experiences driving across the country. We decided that to compile a list of the dos and don’ts of a road trip.


1. Sleeping Bags

We are not camping, but some of our motels are essentially indoor camping. From not having heat to being questionably clean, sleeping bags have been life savers thus far.

2. Water Shoes

As lame as this sounds we have encountered multiple situations where water shoes would have ben ideal.  For example, most National Parks revolve around a glacier melting. Keanes would also be perfect because you can hike in and out of water with them.

3. Hiking/Walking Sticks

Every time we see someone with these we are extremely jealous. Most hiking situations involve large hills and the aid of these sticks would be awesome.

4. Bread and Peanut Butter

Eating out for every meal gets to be pricey. Keeping bread and peanut butter (almond butter in Nancy’s case) is ideal to long car rides and have served as most lunches and some dinners of our trip.

5. Cell phone Car Chargers

This is self explanatory.

6. Snapchat

This is for our own personal entertainment and a simple way to inform friends and family of our location and shenanigans.

7. Audio books

We have listened to two books and it makes long drives much shorter. (recommendation- Jim Gaffigan’s My Dad is Fat)

8. Car Games

Sporcle. Everyone’s favorite procrastination website has an app that has gotten us through a lot of traffic jams and long, boring rides. We are also now experts on random facts. Mad Libs. Yes, we are five again and practicing our knowledge on parts of speech, but it creates amusement in the car

9. Sunscreen

In and out of the car the sun down south is not what any of us are used to. As Nancy said “there is a reason Irish people stopped migrating in the northeast”.

10. Camelback

Nancy is abnormally excited about her new camelback, but it is actually pretty logical. it has water and storage all in one place.


  1. Try to drive late at night (through mountains, without cell phone service).
  2. Try to hike in 95+ weather without an excessive amount of water.
  3. Go alone. Friends are a must.
  4. Let the gas get to empty. You have some miles to go, but the test on your nerves is too high to risk getting to E.
  5. If you are our of shape accept this fact in your life and either train or do not go on hikes.
  6. Waste money on fancy hotels, indoor camping is fine for the 8 hours you spend in the hotel room each night.
  7. Avoid seemingly mundane tourist attractions, they can be the highlight of your day.
  8. Eat only junk food, apples have saved our diets. Sitting in a car for 8+ hours is already bad enough for your health.
  9. Always trust the directions you are given. Double check your path for the day.
  10. Forget alcohol. Honestly, a beer or a glass of wine tastes the best after a very long day of traveling.

We hope this helps in your future trips! We are doing one more post about what to pack!

Don’t forget to follow along at Sunsets to Sunrises!