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RV Travel Checklist – What to Pack for …

Camping or a Sailing Trip or Travel in General

At this very moment, we are sitting outside, sipping coffee under tropical palm trees, in the company of a large family of ducks fossicking for the odd tidbit that might fall to the ground. The ducks I mean.

Now this could easily be a scene from our own area on the Sunshine Coast of Australia. But this time I’m talking 1,200 or so kilometers further north.

Airlie Beach

Yes we are in Airlie Beach, gateway to the Whitsunday Islands in Australia. We are sitting under the awning of our caravan, watching birdlife strutting around the park.

Tomorrow we leave our van where it is and take the ferry across to Hamilton Island for a week of sailing.

So the challenge for us was how to efficiently pack for 2 different types of holidays in 1 trip.

Before continuing, I should point out that all of this is within our own state. Interstate travel is very difficult with many borders remaining covid-closed. And it goes without saying that overseas travel is definitely off the table at the moment. But we are making the most of our own state of Queensland. a state that has so much to offer.

So, back to the quandary of what to pack for such a dual-type trip.

A Travel Checklist

I must say that packing for such trips is much easier these days. That is, thanks to list-making.

I’m a list-maker from way back. But my travel list approach has improved. I do use a spreadsheet because I can filter out the “have packed” from the “still to be packed” items.

In addition, I can easily modify my digital list, adding or removing items.

For example, our last trip was also in our caravan, a pattern dictated to by the pandemic restrictions. During that trip I thought of a number of items I needed but hadn’t packed. So, while taking that trip, I added a wish-list to my spreadsheet, listing each of the items I wished I had brought along.

As a result, this time round, I think I have packed everything we could have wanted or needed.

If I find that there are items of clothing I never get around to wearing, I just make a note on my spreadsheet along the lines of “not needed next time”.

A reliable travel list is also a great way to make your packing more efficient. You don’t have to lay awake at night wondering what else you should throw in, just in case.

But if you really have the travel bug and seek every opportunity you can to hit the road (I won’t say high seas at this point) then you can buy some really neat list-making options. They look far more professional than my primitive spreadsheet list and they have some nifty features built in. Here are a few examples:

I guess my list making equates to a travel checklist. It definitely can be a real time saver not to mention providing peace of mind prior to your trip.

What to Pack for RV Travel

What you pack, and how you pack, depends on the type of trip you are taking of course.

Let us look first at travelling in a recreational vehicle.

A Caravan Travel Checklist

If you have travelled in your caravan before, then many of the must-have items have probably remained stored in your van for the next trip. But just in case, here is a travel checklist I use to make sure we have what we need in the van:

There is a lot more to packing than just making a list, of course, but perhaps the following can be of some assistance.

  • For setting up the caravan on site, in addition to what you have already thought of, make sure you have included:
    • Wheel Blocks
    • Jockey Wheel
    • A level to make sure the van is on an even surface
    • Ropes
    • Hoses
    • etc
  • For living in your Caravan, in addition to what you have already included, you will find the following very useful:
    • Miscellaneous
      • Disposable gloves
      • Extension cord
      • Spare fuses
      • Bucket
      • Head lamps
      • Mossie repellent
      • 1st aid kit
      • Bags for grocery shopping
    • Clothing
      • Your usual personal choice in this department
      • If summer: Bathers, sunglasses, shorts, thongs, sandals, cool wear
      • Hats/caps
      • Jeans
      • Shoes: walking, hiking, more dressy for eating out
    • Kitchen – most already stored in the van
      • Tea towels
      • Detergent
      • Pots & pans
      • Cutlery
      • Crockery
      • Paper towels
      • Hand soap
      • Garbage bags
      • Cling wrap
      • Foil
      • Storage containers
    • Bedding
      • Linen
      • Additional covers if cold weather
    • Laundry
      • Soap powder
      • Pegs
      • Temporary clothes line

A Travel Checklist for Travelling in General

But there are many other types of trips you might be planning, once the pandemic restrictions can be relaxed.

The following can be useful, regardless of the holiday you are planning:

What to Pack for Travel First Aid Kit

This is a must-have for most trips.

You really can’t go wrong with a professional first aid kit for travellers. That way you can make sure that pretty much most requirements in this department are covered.

For example, you can get kits that cover the needs of cyclists, caravanners, hikers and sailors etc. Click an image below (affiliate links) to view details and/or buy.

You do want to take a kit that is not too heavy and preferably one that is water-proof. Most good-quality kits include items that cover scratches, blisters, minor injuries, sprains, bites, itches, cuts and the like such as:

  • Band-aids
  • Various sized Bandages
  • Antiseptics
  • Wipes to clean wounds
  • Creams to alleviate itching
  • Cold packs
  • Gauze pads
  • Topical creams
  • Some include gloves and a self-help guide to first aid

How to Pack Clothes for Travel Without Creasing

Now many would say simply take a special dress or shirt on a hanger or in a garment bag. But what if you already have enough luggage hanging off your arms? What if you really need to put your dresses inside one of these bags?

I find that rolling rather than folding provides for far fewer creases in your garments. Not only that, you can usually fit more tightly-rolled bundles in your case or bag.

How to Pack Shoes for Travel

Now here is a real challenge. It depends on the type of trip you are making but different occasion shoes are usually needed. For example, gym shoes for walking, hiking boots for the serious walker, thongs and sandals for warm climates, some shoes that are a little dressier for the occasional restaurant meal. This can mean a very bulky, not to mention weighty, addition to your travel luggage.

If you are packing shoes into a suitcase, look for corners and little pockets among your clothes rather than placing the shoes side-by-side. Of course, it is best first to put them in some kind of plastic or gauze bag to prevent soiling your clothes. If you put the soles against the sides of your case it allows the softer part of the shoe (e.g. gym shoes) to be compressed by your clothing.

A great idea, courtesy of cleverjourney.com, is to stuff the shoes full with smalls, such as socks and underwear.

Copy the practices of shoe shops. When you open a box containing new shoes, you always see them packed heel-to-toe. If you follow this practice as well when packing your own shoes, then you can utilise the area left  between each shoe.

Now if you are travelling in your own caravan, then shoe packing is a no-brainer. Just put them in the van’s cupboard before taking off.

What to Pack for Sailing

I’m sure if you are into sailing, you already know what you need to take with you. However, just in case, these are a couple of precautions that I have learned the hard way and added to my list:

  • Multiple caps – You can be sure that any gust of wind on the yacht will put paid to your one and only cap, if that is all you have with you.
  • Multiple shorts
  • Cool shirts to wear over tank tops to protect your from the sun.
  • A second pair of sunglasses (just in case)
  • Sunscreen – I’m sure you always take this with you
  • A wind-breaker jacket
  • A warm jumper/windcheater for cooler evenings.
  • Good binoculars for that ideal turtle-viewing opportunity far in the distance.
  • Blu-tack – to secure your wine glass on the back deck table when the wind becomes excessive. Just mould it into a pliable coaster shape – voila – your glass is secure.

What to Pack for Covid Travel

Are we travelling very far, at this time of pandemic concerns and restrictions? Most of us are not!! But if you need to travel via public transportation then at least take:

  • a face mask and
  • a hand sanitizer

Happy Holidaying with a Travel Checklist

Regardless of the state of this pandemic-challenged world, I am sure that we will all continue to aspire to travelling in some shape or form, even if it is within our own state.

So packing will probably always be an exercise that we have to go through. A travel checklist can definitely make the whole task more efficient and manageable.

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