What need to prepare for California in Autumn

I’m more in a storytelling mood recently, but since you guys always ask me what to pack for different destinations and because my packing list for Iceland in summer has been pinned more than 500 times on Pinterest, I decided to write down this list.

So here’s what I packed for a 10 days road trip in California, between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Clothes

California, especially San Francisco, is the layers’ kingdom. Hot during the day and chill at night, temperature forces you to think wisely about the way you dress. It’s also a state where the « dress to impress » seems the norm, so you may want to bring more stylish outfits than a backpacker usually do. (Unless you’re in the same tribe than me and you just don’t care Ahah!)

While I was comfortable all-day in San Francisco wearing pants, it was too hot for Los Angeles. So even if it’s autumn, pack both pants and shorts. Long sleeves and one coat are also essential to go out at night. If you don’t want to carry a coat all day long, a scarf can be a good option to keep you warm.

This being said, it’s still California… Don’t go without your swimsuit! Beaches in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles are great and, even if the water is cold in autumn, you might just want to soak up the sun.

There’s also plenty of gyms and opportunities to exercise in California. It can be jogging at Venice Beach, hiking in Yosemite or rollerskate in Santa Barbara. Be sure to pack one sport outfit.

One last thing: Angelenos are party people! If you plan to go out, bring one party outfit. I think high heels are mandatory if you want to blend with the crowd, but because I always try to reduce what I pack, I survived very well with my flats.

Toiletries

California has plenty of beauty products to offer. You’ll find everything you need in cute, practical sizes. So no need to pack too much. I would suggest to bring the minimum.

One essential: sunscreen! Be sure to put some even on cloudy days or on chilly days in San Francisco. You’ll have an unpleasant surprise if you forget, trust me.

Footwear

Speaking of footwear, be sure to bring hiking boots if you plan a detour to Yosemite or another National Park. There are some very nice hikes there, but they are not always easy. It will be safer, and also much more comfortable, to wear hiking boots. I saw a lot of girls going up the trails in flats and my feet hurt for them. Comfort before cuteness please.

Otherwise, a good pair of comfortable shoes and a pair of flip-flop to the beach will do the job.

Medication & Pharmacy

You know more than me what medication you usually need and I didn’t notice anything special to pack for California. Pharmacies are everywhere and open late. In case you need something, you won’t struggle to find it.

What to pack for a road trip from San Francisco to LA

Gadget & Comfort

Here’s the list of miscellaneous things I found practical:

  • Bottle for water and re-usable bags: Being environmentally responsible is very important no matter where you travel. These items will help you to reduce your trash.
  • Sand Repellant Blanket: This is one of the coolest thing I discovered on the internet recently. Take a look at Lagu.
  • A Wine Rollup. Trust me, you’ll want to bring back bottles of wine from Napa Valley and a rollup will avoid breaking the bottle in your luggage.
  • Car charger: Since it’s a road trip, you’ll never have a dead phone or camera if you bring a car charger.
  • Fast-Dry Towel: We all know the smell of a wet towel in a car… Nobody wants that.

Documents

Passport, ID, Flight tickets and reservations, cash and credit cards, itinerary and guide, insurance, driver’s license and, of course, a travel journal, because you’ll have a lot to say!

Depending on your nationality, be sure to check if you need a Visa to enter in the USA.

Here’s a practical printable packing list! Enjoy!

I know we all relate to GPS now, but I always suggest to bring a paper map. First, it’s really fun to look at AND you can recycle it in some home decor. Second, it will be a good plan B if your GPS dies.

What to pack for a 10 days road trip in California, between San Francisco and Los Angeles.