Top Nav

How to Pack for a Trip to the USA


When you’re an American expat living in Australia, there is one thing I know when it comes to packing for a trip home to the USA.

Yes, you’re going to take clothing for the exact opposite season. And, yes, you’re going to probably not travel as much like a backpacker. But, neither of those are it.

My biggest and most important tip for packing for the USA is… to take nothing!

packed for usa

All packed up for the USA. Not much in here!

Well, obviously, that “nothing” is within reason. I wouldn’t recommend going without a few changes of clothes and some underwear. You know… just enough to make it to the mall to do some shopping.

See, America is a cheap, cheap place. There are so many businesses and so many people that products and services come at competitive prices. And, when you’re living in Australia where the same items cost double or triple the price, America is like a shopping wonderland.

soda prices

Top: soda prices in Australia; Bottom: Soda prices in America.

All of my American friends in Sydney travel home with the same motto: bring very little because you’ll come back with twice as much.

So I packed a bag with just enough to get me through Hawaii and on to a much colder climate in Illinois.

In the first photo above, you can see that I have my Ebags Mother Lode Weekender Convertible bag packed with a packing cube of clothes, a bag of electronics, a cute toiletries bag (with my gotoob travel bottles), my fold-up Tieks ballet flats, and some Flipsters Fold-up Flip Flops.

Next to the bag is my stuffable Baggu daypack that I used to hold my pashmina, book, Macbook, camera and small purse. It acted as my personal item for my flights.

Not seen is the extra classy cabin bag, the leather Fanciulla bag, I was given by Ciao Bella Travel. I packed it in my backpack so I have an extra bag for the ride back to Australia.

Here’s what I looked like on my way out the door in Australia. Not bad, eh?

Brooke all packed up.

Brooke all packed up. You might notice my plane outfit being worn.

Even better was that this getup was carry-on friendly on all my flights. Go me! This saved me a few extra bucks on baggage charges on the trip to Hawaii and on to Illinois.

For the ride home, my backpack expands to a 60 liter capacity, and my extra cabin bag will definitely come in handy. I’m excited to show you what my baggage looks like for the way home to Australia after I leave Peoria on Friday… so, stay tuned!

Until then, I’m off to the mall to do some major shopping!

* * * * *

If you like my plane outfit, toiletry bag, or the idea of some fold-up flip flops, you’ll be happy to know that my sponsors, Ciao Bella Travel, are offering a 10% discount to Brooke vs. the World readers. Just enter code BVTW10 at checkout!

This post has been brought to you with the support of Ciao Bella Travel.


, , , , , , , ,

11 Responses to How to Pack for a Trip to the USA

  1. Jess November 26, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

    Hope your enjoying Peoria!

    Have some gondolas from Avanti’s and some delicious butter burgers from Culvers!

    • Brooke April 14, 2013 at 7:45 am #

      Avanti’s…. to die for! I should really bring that to Sydney.

  2. Lerma of Migration Expert November 27, 2012 at 2:05 am #

    Like you I also packed light whenever I travel to different places because it’s easier for me to grab my things and also buy stuff that I find good on my destination to bring home.Like you I also packed light whenever I travel to different places because it’s easier for me to grab my things and also buy stuff that I find good on my destination to bring home.

  3. Katrina November 28, 2012 at 12:22 am #

    Hi Brooke,
    I’ve tried to stick to your advice on how to pack for the US – however somehow I have ended up with 18kg in my bag (including the extra bag I’m bringing my purchases home in lol). I tried to scale down but planning for 8 weeks in the US and Canada in the middle of their winter when I’m a girl from North Queensland, I just couldn’t remove a single jacket or pair of thermals lol.

    I hope you enjoy your time at home (and the shopping), I’m looking forward to some adventures in your country 🙂

  4. Adventure Tours November 30, 2012 at 3:40 am #

    Nice packing tips shared here.
    Thanks for these tips for traveling packing.

  5. Richard Crest December 5, 2012 at 2:31 am #

    Cool! Great ideas for traveling not only for USA travel I guess. If you want to buy souvenir or somethings where ever you go your luggage must not be so full just bring enough to change clothes and important items.

  6. Tatiana December 27, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    Nice packing tips, Brooke. The most important rule, when traveling in general, is that our luggage shouldn’t be so full when we start traveling. We should reserve space for souvenirs and other things that, for sure, we will buy during the journey.


  1. Luggage Expansion After a Trip to the USA | Brooke vs. the World - December 4, 2012

    […] Trip to the USA You might all remember me talking about my backpack and packing tips for the USA last week, […]

  2. Awkwardly Solo in Waikiki (Vlog), Plus: How I Fared Better the 2nd Time Around | Brooke vs. the World - December 14, 2012

    […] month ago, I set off to the USA mainland with stops for a few days, both ways, in Hawaii. Even though both of my stops were in […]

  3. I learned a NEW word in Hawaii | Brooke vs. the World - December 24, 2012

    […] you know, one of the major stops on my trip to the USA was Hawaii’s beautiful island of Oahu. I stopped there twice, on the way to the mainland and […]

  4. My Real Life Shark Week Experience | Brooke vs. the World - December 31, 2012

    […] too long before my trip to the States, I was contacted by the lovely people at Get Your Guide (a tour booking site) who wanted to offer a […]

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes