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Packing for a Year-Long Trip

Last week we sold our house and restarted our pet friendly travel adventures. Rod and I have committed to 12 months of travel, and I imagine you might wonder: “How do you pack for a whole year?!?”

The answer is … you don’t! You pack for 3 weeks and then do laundry.

Actually, it’s a bit more complicated than that. When you’re going to be traveling for this length of time you need clothes for all the seasons, and even special occasions – like a friend’s wedding we’ll be attending in June. You have to plan for business opportunities – like Denver’s RV show in March where we’ll have a booth and I’ll be speaking. And, of course, you must have everything the dogs might decide they want.

Fortunately, the Winnebago holds a lot. For instance, in my 36″ by 16″ by 14″ clothing cabinet I’ve packed 4 pairs of pants/jeans, 1 set of long underwear (probably time to get rid of those!), 2 sweaters, 4 turtle necks, 15 long-sleeved t-shirts, 11 short-sleeved t-shirts, 21 pairs of socks, 3 bras, 8 tank tops and 12 pairs of underwear. And this is what it looks like:

Amy's Clothing Cabinet

Amy's Clothing Cabinet

Now, just to be clear – lest you think I’m taking up all the space for myself – Rod is adamant about clothing storage equality. In fact, he tried to argue that because my clothes and shoes are smaller than his, he should get more space. No dice, bud!

Other cabinets hold the following:

Rod’s clothes

(Not pictured here in the interest of preserving marital harmony.)

Dog treats, toys, medicine, grooming necessities, etc.:

Dog Stuff Cabinet

Dog Stuff Cabinet

Kitchen accoutrements and food:

Kitchen Cabinet

Kitchen Cabinet

Printer/Scanner/Copier, Office Supplies and Camera Equipment:

Office & Camera Equipment

Office & Camera Equipment

In our wardrobe, we built shelves for cleaning supplies, our extra shoes, electronic equipment with various chargers and cords, and all of our over-the-counter medicinal needs.

Wardrobe Shelves

Wardrobe Shelves

The wardrobe also holds a couple of jackets for each of us and our garment bags with slacks, dress shirts, and sport coats.

Off-season clothes (and my little black dress) are packed in a plastic container that fits in one of the Winnebago’s luggage compartments.

We feed the boys dog food from The Honest Kitchen. Because it’s dehydrated, it packs easily and we can carry a lot. Each 10 pound box makes 43 pounds of food, so the five bags you see here will be 215 pounds of dog food!

Extra dog food goes under the dinette seat

Dog Food Storage

Dog Food Storage

And, we just added this StowAway storage compartment where we put everything we need to set up a trade show booth:

StowAway for Extra Storage

StowAway for Extra Storage

It’s durable, slides into our trailer hitch, and adds 16 cubic feet of storage space. Adding this extra compartment allowed us to bring along everything we wanted – no tough decisions based on limited space!

So, what happens if we decide we want to travel for two years? Well, once you’ve packed everything you need for a year – you should be covered for as long as you want to go!

  • […] road in an RV.  I personally enjoyed hearing about how someone else tries to tackle the task of packing for a year.  As Amy states “You Don’t”, we do live out of a suitcase but that case only […]

  • I love this post…I’m starting to get really paranoid about how much we’ll be able to pack. Well, to be honest, paranoid about everything ;)

    • Yep – anytime you do something for the first time, it can be a bit scary. Don’t worry – it will be a blast. Something kind of funny happens when you get on the road – you stop wanting “stuff.” It feels like weight that slows you down. You won’t even miss the possessions you leave behind – and chances are when you get back you’ll get rid of a bunch of it.

  • Abigail says:

    And you will quickly grow to hate all of it, toss it out and learn the pleasure the Target clothing dept holds. We only pack for one season and just buy as we go. Both Josh and I have to have work clothes and dress clothes for shows, the rest just gets tossed. That’s the beauty of a life like this, you don’t have to feel a connection to material things.

    Josh always make a fuss when I try to keep something for next season, he knows I’m not going to want to wear it. Kind of makes it fun, you can shop trendy, wear the tar out of it and move on.

  • Hi Sara! Yes, I found your blog though Mary-Alice at Dog Jaunt. I think what you guys are doing is great. We did a few road trips with the dogs in our RAV4 before we got the Winnebago, so I know what you’re going through. The size, weight, and breed restrictions – not to mention the additional fees – we found is why we started GoPetFriendly. We wanted to give people a place where they could do their research without having to make half a dozen phone calls only to find that the hotel wasn’t going to work for them.

    It looks like you guys are in San Fran – we’re in Florida down in the Keys. Our next stop is in Denver around the first of March. It would be great to catch up with you guys on the road!

  • Pamela says:

    I’m taking notes on your organization idea. My husband and I are in the early stages of planning to live aboard a sailboat.

    As we look around the house, my husband picks up heavy, pointy things and says, “Yeah, that would be a dangerous projectile on the boat. Better think of getting rid of it.”

    Keep the practical posts coming; you never know who you’re inspiring.

    • I’m excited to hear about your trip, Pamela! Rod and I spent our honeymoon on a 64′ sail boat in the BVI. It was the BEST vacation we’ve ever taken, and Rod often jokes about trading in the Winnebago for a boat when we’ve finished our “land travels.” Tell your husband that heavy pointed objects are okay, as long as they can be placed inside a cabinet with a locking door. :-)

  • Anil says:

    I completely agree, more time on the rod doesn’t mean more stuff! A few weeks and you’re good to go :)

  • Pup Fan says:

    You really have some impressive planning and organization skills!

  • Melspetpals says:

    Having seen your RV, I am still amazed you fit as much as you do in it. But, now I have a better idea of how you do it. I like the idea of off-loading the non-essentials and just enjoying the experience. I’ll be reading your upoming posts with anticipation! Happy tails you guys!

  • Wow. And, I think I’m getting good at going somewhere with just one small suitcase.

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