As a Tour Director with Starr Tours for the past thirteen years, and living by the Girl Scout motto of “always be prepared,” I have increasingly added travel “must haves” to my onboard travel list.
Here is a list of what I pack whether on a day trip or multi-day bus tour which may prove helpful to you as well!
IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS — Perhaps it goes without saying that you should always have your driver’s license/photo id, medical insurance card, prescription medication information, medical id (if needed) and doctor’s phone number, credit card numbers and financial information (in case a card is lost or stolen), and travel documents and travel insurance (when necessary). Keep these items on your person at all times and leave a copy of these items with a family member or a friend back home.
MEDICINE — If you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, it is always a good idea to keep them near at hand whether at your seat or in the overhead compartment. Over-the-counter medications such as headache/pain reliever, motion sickness pills, and antacids are worth having with you on the road.
WATER — I can’t emphasize enough about bringing along a bottle of water or two. When medicines have to be taken at specific times during the day, and a rest stop is some time away, it is convenient to have water at your side. Also, dehydration plays a major role when you are traveling. It’s the change in climates, altitudes, and the amount of walking/exercise you may not be accustomed to that will make you feel thirsty sooner than if you were home. The minute you are thirsty you are dehydrated!
SWEATER/JACKET/HAT/SOCKS — We do our best to control the temperature inside the bus for everyone’s comfort; however, there may be times when you will feel more comfortable wearing a sweater or throwing a jacket over your shoulders. Likewise, if it proves too warm to your liking, removing your outerwear might just do the trick! It is also not uncommon for outside temperatures to fluctuate from the time you board the bus to your destination.
Along these same lines, you may want to throw in a pair of socks in case your feet get cold and you are wearing sandals. A hat can come in handy on those bright sunny days.
RAIN GEAR/UMBRELLA — As much as no one likes to carry an umbrella, you just never know when it will come in handy. The skies could be clear as we make our way from the departure points, and it could be pouring at our first rest stop. There are multiple stores that sell plastic ponchos for a few dollars and they don’t take up much room in your carry-on.
SNACKS — Just like the ocean air at the beach, the excitement of traveling on a bus can make you feel hungry! Although we do make rest stops approximately every two hours, it doesn’t hurt to have your favorite breakfast bar, piece of fruit, pretzels, crackers or candies only an arms reach away! Tea, coffee, juice, and sodas are also welcome as long as they are in a container with a lid. You may want to throw in a couple of plastic baggies just in case. They come in handy for leftovers, etc.
SANITIZING WIPES/TOILETRIES — There will be many times when you will be in touch with grab bars, railings, door handles, etc. It is always a good idea to keep sanitizing wipes, gels, sprays, etc. nearby to keep those germs away. Also, keeping a few essential toiletries with you comes in handy when you want to freshen up at a rest stop or when we get to the hotel. Sometimes it takes the hotel a few minutes to sort and deliver luggage to everyone’s room so having these items with you is a nice convenience.
SMALL NECK/BACK PILLOWS — Our seating is ergonomically comfortable! The seats are fitted with handrails, headrests, and recline with footrests, but if you need a little extra comfort, bring a small pillow for your neck or back – I do! Ear plugs can also come in handy if you want to take a nap.
READING/GAME MATERIALS — There is so much to do while riding on the bus — catching up with your friends/family, making new acquaintances, looking out the window and enjoying the beautiful scenery while listening to soothing music, taking a cat nap, engaging in the fun games your tour director is playing or watching the pre-selected movie. Our buses are equipped with secure WiFi connections. So, even with all of that to do, there is always time for you to relax using your personal electronic devices to check email, Facebook, play games, read your favorite book or magazine, and do word and number puzzles — don’t leave home without them and be sure to pack your charging cables and headphones!
EMPTY SATCHEL/BAG — There are so many opportunities to bring back souvenirs that it may help to have an extra empty bag or two to protect your new found treasures.
Oh, one more thing—make sure you pack your enthusiasm for another great adventure with Starr!
I look forward to sharing your list of onboard items when I see you on the road again!
Christine Durling, Tour Director