The ultimate road trip packing list

by: | June 14, 2020

sunset on the beach and road

The ultimate road trip packing list

In PACKING, TRAVEL HACKS by Isabella Biava2 Comments

If you are setting off for an amazing journey on the road alone or with someone, this road trip packing list that I have put together will be very useful, not only to give you ideas on what you might need on the road but also to remind you what you already know.

Renting a car and just drive away is what I love to do the most when I am exploring a place. I have done it multiple times in Mexico especially so now I know what I need.

Besides, being a complete disaster in terms of light packing, it’s so relieving to know that you have a car because you can fit in anything you want, “just in case” my favorite quote!

From hiking boots to an elegant dress. You never know what you can bump into, right?

So without any further ado, here is my personal road trip packing list.

Please also note that I will offer different options for the same product, for you to choose from… just in case!;)


I have to confess that during my 2-year trip around Mexico and par of South America, I realized that I am everything but a backpacker. So in my subsequent trip, the one I am doing now, I have just bought a normal bags with wheels and it’s soo darn comfortable! my back is thanking me.

Here I will give you both options though, from my previous trip as well. I loved the Low Alpine brand as much as Osprey.

So the choice is yours. 🙂


This is what I have and my favorite of all the big backpacks If you click on the image you will get to the Amazon page where you can see all the different parts. The bottom part lays on your lower back so as to take off half of the weight from your shoulder it distributes through your body. You will feel much lighter when you have to walk.


Nylon-Women-specific design. Antigravity back panel uses the lightweight mesh from the top of the back panel to the hip for lightweight and maximum ventilation.

This is the version for women of the above with antigravity suspension for maximum comfort.

This is to me among the best backpacking backpack for women as it’s a mid size and with a lots of pockets, besides being a very stylish backpack.

I bought the bigger one, which is only for men but I am big 🙂 and I love to carry lots of stuff, as you can see.


I have to be honest, when I decided to switch to the suitcase from the backpack, I just grabbed one from my mum’s collection. But I found this one online which is what I will buy when the one I use breaks down. I tend to chose by practicality rather than esthetic but when I can have both, the merrier 🙂

I like this one especially for the following features

  • Smooth rolling wheels and locking upright handle for transport
  • Locking zippers on main compartment and Rivets on bail handles for support and strength
  • Convenient multiple organization pockets for last-minute items
  • Multiple carry handles allow the bag to be rolled or hand-carried
  • Name tag is sewn into carrying handle for easy identification

This is to me the best lightweight travel backpack, especially for the foam padded sidewalls with StraightJacket compression stabilizes, which protects and compresses loads.

However, since I purchased the Mindshift rotation 180º for my camera gear, (see below) I completely changed my carry on items, because that backpack is huge and can fits lots of stuff.

If I need more space I carry with me small foldable backpack and a foldable duffle bag, as you can see here below.

This way I am prepared for any change of plans, a three-day getaway, a cruise, or just a day on the beach.

It’s really up to you.

Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack Water Resistant Hiking 

A small back pack for your water and valuables is always a convenient item to have. I found this cheap and neat one on, similar to the one I bought, but a little fancier 😉 . I love it because you can fold it when you are not using it and it saves lots of space.


When I saw this video I went crazy! I love osprey products, they are lighter, fancy, and with great colors. I was actually turned between Osprey Backpack and Alpine Lowe and I chose the second because it came in a bigger size and I still loved the style. I was very happy in the end. As for the Accessories I wanted to buy everything contained here. How to organize your backpack in one single video with so many colorful and practical zips and containers. Ideal for pro-traveller who keeps packing and unpacking.
Check it out or follow this link to shop..

I love the flat shape, I find it more practice because you can actually find stuff more easily.


  • Nylon
  • The StraightJacket compression system allows the organizer to become compressed when extra space is not being utilized
  • Foam padding keeps items extra protected

Another option for your toiletries.


  • Two internal mesh pockets for organization
  • Stand up Dopp kit Durable YKK zips with Hypalon grab tabs for easy, secure opening and closing
  • Super-light, strong and water-resistant Ultra-Sil fabric made with Cordura yarn
  • Dimension: Length: 10 in; Width: 5 in; Height: 5 in
  • More colors available


  • Nylon
  • Large secure pocket holds bulkier items and toiletries
  • A multiple pocketing system ensures dedicated space for certain items
  • Hanging clip loop allows the organizer to hang from bathroom hooks or tree branches
  • An added mirror makes sure you look good or can help start a fire Pockets: 4 interior



It has become my one and only favorite camera gear above all since the first time I saw it on my photography teacher during a workshop.
Besides being very stylish, it’s super spacious and practical, for the lower camera pocket rotating 180º to the front without you having to take your bag out.
This feature only is absolutely priceless to me, especially when you are on a hike and want to take a picture but don’t want the group to stop and wait for you.
I know it’s a bit expensive and probably overpriced, but I believe if you are a professional photographer or a wannabe pro (like me) it’s worth the effort. And it’s a product that will last forever.
Pros: extremely roomy, versatile, functional, stylish.
Cons: pricey, big.


My favorite! I am using this bag all the time even when I am not carrying my camera. It’s super convenient with lots of pockets and zips. And also:

  • Excellent weather-proof coverage at the corners
  • Removable and reversible WeatherWrap cover
  • Adjustable security strap connects to D-rings on the back of bag which anchor it in position behind you.
  • Fidlock patented magnetic clips allow blind, 
  • Fits a professional DSLR with 2-3 lenses, flash and audio gear. It will fit a DSLR with an attached 70-200mm 2.8 lens. There are two padded interior sleeves: one for a laptop up to 15 inches, and another for an iPad




Here is my baby! I don’t go anywhere without it. For me, it’s not a trip if I don’t take some shots with my beloved Canon 6D. Of course, there are many other great cameras but this is what I love and this is why I am sharing this. here below the lenses, I am using and the ones I am going to purchase soon.


This particular lens is perfect when you do portraits and when you are doing street photography as well, especially in poor neighborhood where you don’t wand to carry a bulky camera. Big lenses can intimidate people.

Also If you want to try Macro Photography and you don’t wan to spend too much on a lens, you can use an adaptor for this lens and it should work great. I still have to try it.


I love, love, love this lens. It’s expensive but worth every single penny, if you love landscape this is an amazing grand angle especially used in the Canon D6 mentioned here above which is a full frame camera, it’s the best combination to shoot spectacular portraits. I have the previous version (the II), but it’s still great. However, since you are buying a new one, it’s better to get the latest model.



This is my dream lens, it’s not in my hands yet, but I trust one of the next father Christmas to bring me one. 😉 It’s just an amazing lens if you want to shoot wildlife. It’s not the best one of course, because the super pros use bigger and more sophisticated lenses but I would be happy with it. If your friend or family love to shoot wildlife this is the perfect present. Make sure they don’t have it already. 🙂


A photographer and friend of mine suggested I should buy this and I now love it. A little heavy but very stable and firm.


  • Exclusive rapid column rotation for compact transportation and instant set-up and high loading performance (maximum load capacity 13.2 pounds)
  • Includes a multi-action TBH-50 ball head with a large ergonomic main locking knob, bubble level and arca-swiss quick release plate
  • 5 section 23mm aluminum alloy legs with 3 different leg angle options and feet that convert from rubber to spiked
  • Extra-low angle photography option (low angle adaptor included) and soft rubber handle provides an unbeatable grip in any weather
  • Strong stainless steel quick flip leg locks with adjustable tension technology. Folded height: 14.8″. Extended height: 57.1″. Weight: 3.3 pounds



It doesn’t need a description. It’s in such high demand that it is now on request. Book yours here. It’s a great deal since I have paid the same price for the older version. Go Pro 5 has more defined resolution and 10x instead of 8px.

Now the GoPro 7 came out but unless you are a professional and have specific needs that the 5 doesn’t satisfy, this one works just fine.

The design is better with a built-in waterproof shell.

You can check out this video for a more detailed comparison


This is what I am dreaming of as well. For sure if your traveller friend loves to document his/her trips this is the perfect gift.

  • Very practical to carry as it folds down into a very small box
  • New OcuSync transmission system offers up to 4.3 miles (7km) of transmission range. Fly at up to 40mph (64kmh) or for as long as 27-minutes.
  • For all other incredible features and price click here


This is super comfortable and handy for us solo travelers. Think about being on a beach alone. You want to go for a swim but you don’t know where to leave your valuables. Well. Right in there!

And this is why you have to get a good quality one, to make sure it doesn’t leak and keeps your stuff dry.


  • Available in different colors
  • Roll-top closure is waterproof and helps compress items within the dry sack
  • Rectangular shape assists with efficient packing
  • Made from durable 40D Ripstop nylon

  • FOR SKINCARE  & ANTIBACTERIAL: 100% microfiber high-quality microfiber made it totally smooth and compact, more soft on your skin. Eco-friendly, no faded, no smell.
  • 4 SIZES & MULTI-USE: use for exercising, backpacking, travel, camping, swimming, yoga, golf, gym, ect, Good for bath towel; On the beach, etc…
  • 160 Lumen, up to 30 Hours of Constant Light on a Single Charge

  • Super Bright White Led + Red Light

  • Compact, Easy to Use

  • Headlight for Camping & Running


The ziploc space bags is  the cheapest and most valuable item, especially if you are a stranger to packing light. It helps to compress your clothes and create more space. The optimum would be vacum seal bags, but, since you won’t be bringing with you your vacuum cleaner on vacation, these compression bags for travel would do the job.

These ziploc space bags in fact don’t need vacuum or pump to lock them just pack, zip and roll. The air will exit from valves at the bottom of the bag. Transparent see through ensures speedy security checks of your luggage at airports.


  • Lend a Hand – Easy one-handed drinking with no lids to remove or lose
  • Cleaner Drinking – Protective spout cover helps keep out gross dirt and germs
  • Seal It In – Leak-proof lid (when closed) for on-the-go convenience
  • Lock it Up – Button lock for added peace of mind
  • Carry On – Clip on handle attaches to bags, gear, keys and more
  • Perfect Fit – Fits most car cup-holders


  • BPA-, phthalates-, and lead-free durable thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) construction is both flexible and resilient. Made with certified food safe materials in accordance with FDA and EU regulations. 
  • Magnetic clip attaches hose to sternum strap. 
  • Flexible ¼ in. hose that’s kink resistant and allows for a faster flow. 
  • Open slider hook works with webbing loops for efficient upright hanging in your pack’s reservoir sleeve. 


A little more stylish than the Ziplock has the same function to make more room in your bag by squeezing out the air out and compact your clothes together.

I bought my set on so I couldn’t share exactly my own item, but they are very similar to these ones I have selected for you.


Each set contains a different assortment of packing cubes.

Large bag holds a week worth of shirts/ medium holds a week worth of underwear/socks. Example: Large holds rainjacket, zip hoodie, Longsleeve tshirt, and a cardigan. Small will hold 5 womens size medium T-shirts. Large Dimensions Compressed size: 14x10x1in Expanded Size: 14x10x4in Small Dimensions Zipped/Compressed size 10x7x1in Expanded Size: 10x7x4in Additional bag sizes shown in the picture gallery.

Click here to see more details.


For as much as we love books, the kindle comes very handy when you travel as it’s light small and it can hold thousands of books. It makes a great gift idea.

  • Now available in black or white
  • Higher resolution display (300 ppi) – with twice as many pixels
  • Built-in adjustable light – read day and night
  • No screen glare, even in bright sunlight, unlike tablets
  • A single battery charge lasts weeks, not hours
  • Prime members read free with unlimited access to over a thousand titles

This is  from my artwork page where you can customize amazing products with your favorite pictures. You can chose the pictures and then pick the object that you like, it can be a persona item, or a house decor, a frame.


Despite of the practicality of technology I always like to have my notebook and take written notes while sitting in cafes of a new place. It makes me feel like a real writer.



A portable power bank is always needed, especially for iPhone owners. But for anyone who is all the time taking pictures or being on social media I am not suggesting this brand particularly. Any brand would work. Just make sure you check the reviews.


A swiss army can always turn out useful in any situation, to open a bottle of wine or peal some fruit…you just never know.

  • Features 33 functions to equip you for everyday adventures – including 2.45″ large blade, scissors, bottle opener with large screwdriver, pliers, and corkscrew (See product description for full list of features)
  • Stainless steel construction encased in polished red ABS scales provides sleek durability



I just found out about this and I am going to buy one for me right away!

So practical


This MONEY AND DOCUMENT HOLDER is very practical too, if you like to travel light. I always use my photography bag as a document holder because I bring it always with me. But this would be a great complement.


Safety wing travel insurrance


Travel insurrance is super important when you travel expecially for a long term. Ho matter how careful you might be, you never know what can happen along the way.

I am using Safety Wing because I love their website and they have very clear information on their policy.

Mind though that if you are a diver, this insurance doesn’t cover for  unaccompanied dives deeper than 10mt.

In general, always make sure you read the policy clauses before signing up.



I have to confess, even if it’s not so glamorous I always use hiking boots even when I am not hiking and, yes, even when I am in a beach destination unless I am actually going to the beach. Otherwise, when I am exploring, hiking boots are a must. I feel more comfortable and safe as they keep your feet away from ants (the killer red ones) and other insects, especially if you are in the tropics and walking in the jungle. Also, they are more practical then flip flops if you have to drive.  I have tried all the below brands and I found the Merrel softer and more comfortable. But all of them were great and durable.


Also when it comes to pants, I am all for comfort. Not a fashionista, right? I do love to dress up on certain occasions, trust me, but when I am exploring I chose comfort over fancy. I love to sit anywhere or kneel down if I had to shoot a particular photo and don’t worry about getting dirty. I also love to have zipped pockets and the fact that I can turn them into shorts. Luckily there are many hiking pants that also look good on us. Here is my choice.


You will notice that I am repeating myself because I am including in this sections items that I have already mentioned. I consider them fundamentals though if you are going on an hiking trip and therefore here you go.

#1 Water bottle to reduce the use of plastics and to use as a complement to the water  bladder for long and hot hikes

#2 Mindshift 180º camera backpack, the best purchase I have ever made- it’s a little heavy but you can rotate the camera bag at the bottom and use it without stopping. Also on top you have space for other items, such as snacks, clothes, and jackets.

#3 Water bladder, to inset on your backpack and drink directly from the hose. Very convenient.



For the beach wear we can really get fancy. Here below some shopping ideas for you.

For swim suite online shopping I am partnering with South Moon Under as I love their pastel color beach wear, so boho, so romantic.

Here I have picked some of my favorite swim suites for you but there are many more and you can browse them here.

I also love NORDSTROM.COM as they have an ever bigger choice of beach outfit. I especially love their Maxi dresses.

You can also click on the image and go straight to the shopping page. Enjoy! 🙂


Traveling to a beach destination you will spend most of your time on the beach or exploring cenotes, if you  go to the Riviera Maya or Cancun or Baja California.  I found a couple of websites that match with my boho chic taste: romantic long tunic, or pastel color dresses, or natural linen cover-ups. I am including here a few of my pick but you can browse their shop: South Moon Under, Naked Zebra,

You can also find some lovely shoes and flip-flops on South Moon Under shoes page.

Click on the image to see more picture and information on the item.


Here below some other useful items for different occasions


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