We often read on post-trip evaluations, comments such as “I wish I had brought a jacket. It was cooler than I anticipated”, or “My feet were killing me! I wore the wrong shoes”.
For starters, you can never go wrong with comfortable walking shoes and a jacket. What else should you pack?
- Consider the destination and probable weather conditions. Our best advice is to dress in layers that can be removed or added as the day warms or cools. For example, wear a t-shirt, with a light-weight fleece or sweater, and a water-resistant windbreaker with a hood. Pack a folding umbrella, dollar store poncho or hooded nylon jacket if rain is anticipated.
- Consider the duration of the tour and the length of time that you will spend in a bus seat. On escorted tours, expect some narration and activities. However, you will want to bring along your own entertainment as well – for example a book to read or your iPad. Most bus seats are not equipped with seatback beverage and magazine holders or footrests. Some passengers bring a satchel that can be looped over the forward seat back and a small folding stool or rolled up blanket to support their legs.
- Consider gate entry restrictions, especially at sporting and other ticketed events. If you are unsure, ask the reservation staff or check the website tour description.
- Consider how many meals are included. If you are on a budget, bring snacks, non-perishable breakfast or lunch items and beverages. Many hotel rooms are equipped with refrigerators and microwaves. You are always welcome to pack a small cooler with your food and beverages. Especially if you have unique dietary needs, bring your own foods.
- Is your destination in Mexico? US currency is generally accepted, but you are wise to bring bills in small denominations for paying street vendors, tabs in small restaurants and tips. Major credit cards are usually accepted at hotel restaurants and bars, larger restaurants, and larger food and beverage stores. US citizens will require a passport, passport card or enhanced drivers license to re-enter the US. Canadians will require a passport.
- Is your destination a casino? You will need photo ID to obtain a players club card.
You will want to bring a carry-on tote or day pack full of the items that you will use on the bus, and a suitcase or duffle that will be stowed in the luggage bay. Wheeled luggage will be easier to transport to and from your room.
In the carry-on tote pack:
- Snacks and a bottle or water, juice or soda
- Sweater or shawl in case the bus air temperature is cooler than you prefer
- Entertainment of your choice – for example, book or e-reader, games, knitting, iPad, personal music player and earbuds/head phones
- Eyeglasses, contact lenses, sunglasses, hat
- Passport, photo identification, credit cards and money, prescription medications
- Camera, binoculars, mobile phone
- Inflatable pillow or neck rest, if desired (especially if the anticipated return time is late)
In the suitcase pack:
- Well-selected clothing items that can be layered to accommodate changing weather. Darker colors will hide spills and dirt better than lighter colors. Pockets are handy, wrinkle-free fabrics are recommended.
- Socks, underwear, bathing suit (only if there’s a pool you will use)
- Personal hygiene items – only what you will need. Remember the hotel will provide shampoo, soap and a hair dryer (usually). Pack sunscreen, sun hat and/or insect repellent depending on destination.
- Chargers and/or batteries
- Spare shoes, shower sandals for pool
Tips from the pros:
- Resealable baggies are useful for organizing small items, toiletries and underwear
- To maximize the space in your luggage, roll your clothes instead of folding them.
- Protect breakables such as glass fragrance bottles by slipping them into socks before packing them.
- Pack socks and undergarments into your shoes, then set the shoes in the bottom of the bag.
- Bring clothes in neutral colors that you can mix and match, and only pack shoes that are “broken in”, comfortable and can be worn with multiple outfits
- Try placing a mildly scented dryer sheet in your suitcase to keep things smelling fresh