The Most Important Gear to Pack When Traveling to a Destination Race

Outlining everything I plan to pack for my travel destination marathon so you can be equally as prepared.

It’s been 7 years since I’ve travelled for a race.  Let me say that again. 7 years! Back in 2012, Carly, Tim and I travelled to the New Orleans Rock N Roll Half Marathon.  The results were very positive: I placed 12th overall in a quick 1:12:59. Believe it or not, but results aren’t available on their site.

A comprehensive checklist to pack for a destination marathon
A comprehensive checklist to pack for a destination marathon

Since it’s been a hot minute since my last big destination race (all my other races have been within an hour or so from home), I thought it was a good idea to make a list of everything I’ll need to pack with me when I head to Atlanta next weekend for the Atlanta Track Club’s Marathon event.

Here’s what other people said:

“I lay out everything I plan to use for the race and then toss in a few options in case of a weather change or change of heart. I always bring two pairs of socks. Sunglasses. Armpocket for my phone. Chargers for Garmin, Aftershokz, and phone. And then I just hope for the best. Oh. And always pack shoes. Two from the same pair, preferably. Don’t ask me how I know.”

“Lay everything out on your bed and review your clothing pieces 2x prior to packing them in a bag.”

“ I normally make a list a few days ahead. I’ll pack a day before the double check the day I leave. So far it’s worked and I haven’t forgotten anything. Also, check the weather but pack for hot and cold no matter what. 2 years ago the starting temps were 32 In May ( Same day as Broad Street) and last year it hit 80°. Enjoy the run and most importantly have fun! #wintheday

“Most important thing for me to bring is a portable phone charger for race day, especially when I’m running somewhere new and less familiar with the area! I bought one from Amazon and it’s lightweight to run with.”

Having everything you need for a destination marathon
Having everything you need for a destination marathon

And this is what I plan on bringing with me – what will go in my carry on and what I’ll check.

Checked Bag

  • Phone and watch chargers
  • Camera
  • Running clothes for the day before the race (running socks, running shirts, hats, gloves and running shorts/pants
  • Comfortable gear (pre and post-race clothes)
  • Food (snacks for post-marathon & Nuun tablets)
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9 Things You Absolutely Should Pack for a Destination Race
9 Things You Absolutely Should Pack for a Destination Race

Carry On Bag

  • All race-day gear (running shoes, racing socks, racing singlet and shorts, warm up gear)
  • Watch charger + in-flight technology (podcasts and reading material)
  • Race day breakfast + snacks for in-flight noshing
  • Race day nutrition (gu packets)


I’m more than ready for this race – I’ve practiced all parts of the race that I wanted.  I am the healthiest I’ve been possibly ever in my running life. Knock on wood, I haven’t had a single run that I’ve needed to adjust or modify or cancel.

When I wrote out my plan in early December, I didn’t think it would go as perfectly as it did.  I’ve covered all my bases and the only thing left is to get to Atlanta safely and keep the hiccups and “things that can go wrong” to a minimum.  

Making a list and packing in advance is just yet another way I can be as prepared as possible.

The 9 items you need to bring with you to a destination race
The Most Important Gear to Pack When Traveling to a Race

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25 thoughts on “The Most Important Gear to Pack When Traveling to a Destination Race

  1. Janelle @ Run With No Regrets March 6, 2019 — 12:37 PM

    I hope you have a great race! Sounds like you’re ready. I think having the right shoes and pre-race snacks are so important when traveling because that can sometimes be the toughest thing to replace!


  2. Organic Runner Mom March 6, 2019 — 3:11 PM

    Good luck with your race! I would definitely pack my watch charger, sneakers, race day outfit and race day fuel in my carryon so as to make sure i had just what I needed!


  3. Packing for a racecation is do stressful! Can you take Gu held on the plane? I’d check those unless @askTSA approves. (They are very responsive on Twitter). On the other hand I’d be afraid of packing my camera.

    My biggest dilemma is usually what hydration pack to use – they take up a lot of room.

    Good luck!


  4. Never Too Old to Lift March 6, 2019 — 4:38 PM

    Great post! I’m from the UK and really want to come over to the US at some point for an event.


  5. deborahbrooks14 March 6, 2019 — 6:29 PM

    I also prefer to lay out all my gear so I don’t forget anything. I always throw in a rain jacket bc you never know!


  6. Jenny Albertson March 6, 2019 — 6:31 PM

    I love that you make sure all your raceday gear is in you carry on. You’re prepared to run the race no matter what!


  7. Wait. You’re putting your PHONE in your checked bag?! Did I read that right??

    Have an amazing time. I’m so excited for you!


  8. Looks like you are definitely more than ready for your race. Good luck!!


  9. Thanks! I’m ready to pop a good first race! I’m oddly pretty addicted to the long runs… Now I know why so many people run multiple marathons a year 🙂


  10. I went 12 hours yesterday with it in airplane mode… I’m addicted to it, so if I said it, it was an accident, but I’m really trying to separate myself from it…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yes! That way, if my luggage gets lost in transit, I can at least still have everything I need on race day.


  12. Good point. Yes, I’ll definitely have a running jacket of some sort, just in case.


  13. Ah, you totally should! What race distances are on your bucket list? I’m assuming longer races, so you can make the trip worth it… My family is from the UK and when I went over last time I did some fun shorter races 🙂


  14. That’s a really good question – I don’t know if I can. I just assumed that I could. I’ll definitely look into it. Thanks for the heads up. I’m not going to use my phone or camera during the race – I just focus on the running and I don’t’ use a hydration pack, but I can imagine that it would be bulky and hard to pack.


  15. Yeah, that would be a nightmare to get all the way there and have a lost bag with my running shoes or my racing shirt gone!!


  16. Right. My breakfast is pretty simple, I supposed I could always get it at the grocery store, but it would just be one more thing to worry about that I don’t want to.


  17. It’s smart to have all the race day essentials in the carry-on. I’ve never had my checked luggage get lost, but still I’m not one to tempt fate. Besides, I have all gotten good at condensing everything into a carry-on duffle so I don’t have the headache/worry of lost stuff. I’d also suggest a dry cleaning bag to bring along as a makeshift rain poncho…not as cumbersome as a garbage bag (but just a disposable) and rolls up super small to fit in a corner of your carry-on.


  18. I don’t ever check a bag, regardless of destination, reason, or duration of a trip. That way I have everything with me. For race travel, I always write down a list of what I need so I’m sure I have everything. I also unpack as soon as I get to the hotel and take another look at what I brought. That way if I did forget anything, I have time to get to a store and buy it before race day.


  19. You are more than ready! Sounds like you have rocked your training and also have a great packing list!
    Cant’t wait to hear how it goes! Best wishes!


  20. Thanks so much. Feel ready, but I won’t truly know how it goes until I cross that finish line.


  21. Great tips! I hope your race went well! I always pack the essentials in my carry-on, just in case the worst happens.


  22. Totally understand that!!

    Liked by 1 person

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