Packing and Preparing for Trek America

I decided to write this post to help out anyone who is thinking of going travelling with Trek America.

When I was planning for my trek in 2015, one of the hardest things to do was plan effectively.

Now, I took part in The Great 48 trek which took at least 80 days to complete, so I knew packing would be difficult and I would never get it right.

I was right!

I ended up having to buy an extra suitcase at the end of the trek, and I wasn’t the only one to do so; this proved even more traumatic when I had to check-in an additional bag at the airport which cost a further £100.

Not cool!

I believe Trek America recommends taking a backpack rather than a suitcase due to storage space on the bus; however, there were several of us on the trip who had suitcases (one girl even had a large case and no one really cared; it even became a long-standing joke that she was a diva but it was all jovial and not malicious, and people just accepted it) and several of us purchased extra baggage further into the trip.  The cases all go into a trailer along with the cool boxes for food, so don’t worry, your case will fit!

Speaking of food… a lot of us fell into the trap of buying snacks at most gas stations.  This WILL annihilate your spending fund!  Try not to snack as much as I did; I kinda regret that now a little.  Not only because I just consider it a waste of money, but it also adds the pounds on (which you’ll inevitably gain because, well, it’s America and everything is delicious!) and one thing I found, and it eventually became a bit of a bug-bear of mine, people will know that you have a snack on that small, intimate bus…and they will want some!  One of the girls on our bus was a bit of a vulture – she wouldn’t spend a penny on snacks, but would eat other people’s and have leftovers.  Not such a big deal at first but proves annoying when it’s coming out of your pocket.

Additionally, seeing as we are still on food, you will be expected to cook at various points throughout the trek.  If you can research simple but effective camping meals before you go, you will prove to be a hit with the rest of the campers.

Within our group, we were put into sub-groups and we rotated chores: cooking, cleaning and packing up/unpacking the trailer.

The latter is the worst; it’s just a bit of a ball-ache and you have to have a masters in Tetris to pack the trailer well.  Additionally, we had a couple of trailer-Nazis who would start to pack your tent away just so they could get it sorted and on the van (even though there were still about ten mins to go before we needed to leave); not a massive deal until they even chuck your belongings out the tent when you’re in the bathroom.  You’ve probably guessed that this was an encounter I had! Lol.  In hindsight, it wasn’t a huge deal, just reeeeeally annoying!!

The cooking can be fun though… and the trips to Walmart are always a delight.

No one likes cleaning though.

I will be brutally honest with the next bit… You WILL encounter snakes and bears, or at least warnings of them.  Just make sure food is locked away; however, your Trek guide will ensure that happens.  DO NOT keep food in your tent!!  You will quickly become the food once that bear catches a sniff.

Going back to money… at the start of our Trek, our guide informed us that having £5k to spend would not be sufficient for The Great 48.  However, one of the other girls and I found out that at least £4k was fine; you just need to spend your money wisely.  We bought loads of souvenirs and took part in loads, if not all, of the additional excursions, so don’t worry too much if someone has rocked up with £10k to spend.

Hmm, now the next part is another brutally honest thing that I will share… The longer the trek you choose to do, the more annoying people will be.  Don’t get me wrong, I love each and every one of my Trek family, and we’re all still friends on Facebook (and I’m still close with a few people), but they become exactly that: family!  So, you’re going to get fed up of people and you’re going to want your own space.

There is nothing wrong with that!!

Just be honest though, and don’t let the little things bug you.  Many of us did, and I wish I could go back and encourage us all to just let the little things go.  Silly spats over nothing are just not worth it when you think about where you are and what you’re experiencing.

Also, don’t be the buzz-killer!!  Or the diva!!  These are not qualities people want to put up with for almost three months in a tight-knit van.

Right, I’m moving onto the bus… it’s compact!  And the wi-fi is crap.  However, it’s your home for a while so try to learn to love it.  Just make sure you have your headphones!!

I think I’m almost done with my Trek America tips… so, I’m going to talk about the tents and what you need to pack…

You don’t need to pack a tent!  These are provided by Trek.  You do need a sleeping bag though – I got a decent one from Decathlon and it lasted me the whole trip, keeping me warm and cool in the different climates (make sure you get one that is fit for all types of weather).  We were given a mat to lie on too but they’re really thin; you may wish to buy your own if you suffer with a bad back or anything, just make sure it rolls up tight.  Additionally, to save carrying a pillow with you on the plane over there, just buy one from Walmart when you arrive in the US.  You’ll definitely visit a supermarket as soon as you start the trip as you will need to buy food; so I wouldn’t bother with buying a pillow before you go (I bought a pillow case while I was over there too).

Finally, make sure you take an array of layers – you will experience so many different climates, you will need to pack for all different weathers.  One thing for sure, pack trainers AND walking boots!  You only need a couple of each garment too as you will visit many campsites which have launderettes to wash them.

Right, I think I’m done… if you have any questions, do not hesitate to comment.

Also, follow me on Instagram to see many pics of my travels; I’ll follow back too to keep up with your own travelling experiences!

Keep safe and enjoy the trip of a lifetime!!  Take lots of pics…

xoxo

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