Packing to go away for an extended holiday in the USA can seem like a daunting experience - after all, there is so much to remember. Going away for longer than a few weeks travelling but knowing you can only pack what you can carry may seem like an impossible task.
However, it doesn't have to be such a chore and with some careful planning, you will be able to get it sorted. With this in mind, don't think you can simply pack a bag a couple of days before you jet off. Remember, you are going away for a whole year so be sure you have got everything you need and aren't carrying anything unnecessary.
Read on for our guide to packing for a tour of the US.
Choose your bag carefully
Your bag is your life when you are travelling. You will have it with you every day and need to be able to carry it around comfortably. Even if you are stopping in one destination for a couple of nights and have the option of leaving your luggage there, you may still prefer to bring your pack with you as then you know it is safe.
While you might be keen to buy the largest bag possible so you can fit a lot in, think carefully before you do. Not only will you have to be able to carry this bulk round with you regularly, but it could also be more of a security risk. It will not be hard for someone to reach in and take something from a large pack that sticks out some distance behind you without you feeling it, but if someone attempts to steal something from a smaller bag you could be alerted by the movement. You could even wear a more compact backpack on your chest so you can keep an eye on it.
Where are you going?
Should you have an exciting tour planned that will take you through states in both the north and the south, you should carefully plan exactly what you pack so that you are covered for all eventualities. However, as mentioned before, don't make the mistake of cramming your entire wardrobe into a bag, but instead think about the places you are visiting.
T-shirts can be rolled up so they don't take up much space and adding a few sleeveless and long-sleeve options is a good idea so you can choose what is most relevant to the climate. If you're in Florida, you'll rarely need a pair of long sleeves, but as you head north and the temperature drops, you can layer your T-shirts to keep warm.
Your bag's not complete without at least one pair of jeans - an American staple - as these are comfortable to wear, hardwearing and suit all climates. Add a different pair of trousers that can be rolled up smaller as well, along with a pair of shorts for when the weather is warm. The final essential few garments you'll require are a swimming costume for hitting the beach, a smart top in case you wish to pamper yourself at a restaurant one evening and a good all-weather jacket. A great option is a lightweight waterproof garment that comes with a detachable fleecy lining so you can adjust it depending on the climate. Oh - and don't forget your underwear!
What are you doing?
Before you start packing, ask yourself what you plan to do during your American adventure, as this too will effect what you take. For instance, if you plan to go trekking through one of the national parks like Yellowstone or Yosemite, you will need a pair of sturdy hiking boots, while if you're keen to hit the beach in California, you shouldn't be without your sandals.
There's no room for fancy high heels in your bag when you go travelling, but you will need more than one pair of footwear. Pack a pair of hiking boots as not only are these a must if you're walking in the great outdoors, but they're also warm. Don't worry about getting the most thermal pair available, as socks will keep your feet warm and take up less room.
Get your essentials
As mentioned, it shouldn't be hard to buy everything you need in the US but there are some essentials you will require. Among these are all your travel documents and identification, including details of your travel and health insurance. Healthcare in the US can be incredibly expensive so be certain to sort out cover before you leave. It's wise to make copies of these and keep one on you and the others in your main bag. To be extra safe, you could even email yourself some copies.
You should also pack your camera and an extra memory card as you will want to take plenty of snaps to record your year away. A great option is a camera that can be charged either from the mains or with batteries, so you don't have to worry if the power is running out and you are unable to plug it in. If you're concerned about keeping your mobile powered up, consider investing in a solar charger - and make sure you turn off the internet roaming function so you don't end up with an unexpected bill.