Friday, February 20, 2015

Packing Tips For Your Next Road Trip

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m terrible when it comes to packing for a road trip. Any road tripper will tell you that space in the car is always an issue, and over-packing can often take up valuable road trip room in your car.

Random road trip story: we actually threw out our cooler in Arizona because we were getting frustrated at having no room in our car. We instantly regretted that decision.

Here’s some great packing tips for your next road trip:

1. We often travel with 2 coolers. The large cooler goes in the trunk, and we keep a smaller cooler in the car for things like drinks and snacks. This prevents us from having to stop and get in the trunk for a drink. It also saves us quite a bit of money as we avoid stopping at gas stations or fast food places for a cold drink or snack.

2. Limit what shoes you pack. Shoes take up a lot of room in the car, and as much as you think you’re really going to need a shoe selection for your road trip, you won’t. I love road tripping in flip flops, and often travel with several pairs. Running shoes are also essential, especially if you’re going to spend something like 7 hours walking around New York City. I also like to travel with a nice pair of flats for if we choose to stop somewhere nice for dinner.

3. Pack a shower kit. We often pack our shower stuff in its own bag. This helps if you’re stopping at rec centers or wave pools to shower. It prevents you from having to bring in your whole travel bag.

4. Pack utensils. We often road trip with 1 bowl, 1 cup, 1 fork/knife/spoon. Food costs can really add up while road tripping. If you’re a foodie like me, but want to limit your food costs while on the road, consider eating something like cereal for breakfast, then going out for lunch or dinner. Having utensils in your car is very handy, especially if you’re hungry in the middle of the night and want a quick snack, like a pb&j sandwich or a bowl of cereal.

5. Travel with at last 2 days’ worth of food. This is more a safety precaution. We’ve road tripped through many remote locations, and we’ve even had car trouble while road tripping. If you get stuck in the middle of nowhere, it’s hard to just find somewhere to eat.

6. You don’t need as many clothes as you think. I always over-pack clothes, I like to have options to choose from but I never wear half the clothes I pack. To be honest, we often find ourselves road tripping in our pajamas most of the time. This is something to keep in mind, as it takes up a lot of room in the trunk.

7. Travel with a pillow and blanket. This of course goes back to the safety thing. If you get stuck somewhere, and can’t find help until the following morning, you might need to stay warm overnight. It’s also handy to have this for afternoon naps while your friend drives.

8. Don’t pack games/entertainment. I figured we’d be board on the road, and used to pack things to keep us entertained while road tripping. These “things” never get used, and just take up room in our car. Plan more frequent stops at various attractions, this helps cut down the boredom. If you’re road tripping with kids, that’s a whole other story. Kids need things to keep them entertained while on the road. You can also limit what they pack, and this helps save space in the car.

9. Pack a map. We road trip with a GPS, but sometimes that GPS fails us. We’ve hit remote pockets along our road trips where we can’t get a signal, having a tangible map really helps with this issue.

A rule of thumb when packing for a road trip, if you’re unsure whether you’ll really need something, don’t bring it. It’s easy enough to stop somewhere like Walmart to pick up your daily essentials if needed. Limiting what you pack for your road trip can really help with space in your road trip vehicle.

Road trip tip: stop at McDonalds for your ice. Most places will give it to you for free.

Let’s hear from you. What’s one thing you can’t road trip without? Leave your comment below.

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