Road Trip Tips : The Pro’s Guide to Packing the Car

When packing for a road trip, you may have more things to bring than you have space to put them. This can be especially challenging when you’re traveling with kids, since they come with their own collection of road trip necessities. If you’re the ‘I should take this just in case’ type, these tips on how to efficiently pack the car will help you fit more into less.

road trip tipsFill boxes, containers, suitcases and bags to capacity. Packing for a road trip starts before you open the trunk of your car. While you may want to designate different bags for clothes, toys, diaper supplies, camping gear, etc., consolidating a few bags into one will save a lot of space. Try to get as many items into each bag as will comfortably fit to save room when it comes time to pack the car.

Have a packing strategy. Resist the temptation to pack the car haphazardly, tossing in whichever item that’s nearest at hand. Instead, approach trunk organization like a puzzle. Consult your packing checklist, and then pack the car methodically, beginning with larger, regularly shaped items. Fit them together like a game of Tetris, and minimize the amount of space between items. Once the largest items are packed, repeat the process for medium sized and smaller packages. When you’re finished, there should be very few gaps and holes between packed items. Oddly shaped items, such as strollers and baby carriers, can be tough to fit into a packed truck. If you road trip with your kids often, shop around for strollers that collapse into a small shape that can be easily stowed away.

Pack the essentials. If you’ve packed the car as efficiently as possible and still have items left over, you have a few decisions to make. The first question you should ask yourself is ‘Do I really need all this stuff?’ Reevaluate your road trip by making a list of what you need and what you can do without. Try to prioritize items by their necessity and how much space they’ll take up. A tent may require a lot of trunk space, but it’s a must-have if you plan to camp. Look for the larger items that you want but don’t need, and save that space for something more useful. Some disposable items such as diapers and food can be purchased as needed, so don’t feel obligated to pack a full trip’s supply.

Get a trailer or roof top carrier. When the car is filled to the brim and essential items still haven’t been packed, it’s time to consider alternative packing measures. If your car has a hitch, consider renting a trailer. If it doesn’t, look into having one installed; many standard cars can haul smaller loads by being retrofitted with a hitch. If a hitch and trailer isn’t an option, rent or buy a rooftop carrier. These containers sit atop your car and give you the packing space of a second trunk.

Before your road trip planning begins, make sure you’re covered by automotive insurance. If you’re not currently covered, get automobile insurance quotes to determine which policy best fits your needs.


See also:

How to Road Trip with Kids: A Survival Guide

The Essential Guide to Car Camping

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