It’s that time of year again. The weather is warming up, and we want to travel. Luckily, gas prices are staying relatively low and road trips are affordable….if you pack right.
From my experiences while road tripping I have realized that the two most expensive things that arise while traveling in the car is gas, food, and lodging. (Luckily for you, I have come up with a few tricks of my own on how to save money on road trips….check out these tips here. And the most annoying part about taking a trip in your car is packing. Read on to find out how to pack your car like a pro.
Clean and empty your car. Empty is obvious, but many people do not realize how important the clean part is. Not only will you appreciate your clean car while you are driving, but it will make it easier to clean up the mess of vehicle you will have once you return home from your trip.
Make and pack an emergency kit, if you don’t already have one. And of course, check to see if your spare tire is in good shape, you never know if or when you may get a flat.
- Jumper cables
- Duct tape
- An extra pint of oil
- Tire gauge
- 2 water bottles
- First aid kit
- Some snacks (granola bars will do fine)
- A bottle of windshield wiper fluid
- Tow rope
- Multi-purpose utility tool
- Roll of toilet paper (you never know)
Pack your clothes and essentials. A few tips for this is to roll your clothes in your suitcase or bag. This may sound silly but trust me by rolling your clothes rather than folding them, you will save TONS of space!
Pack an extra bag that has your essential needs in it. Whenever I take a road trip, I make sure to have a backpack that is easily accessible filled with things I will need everyday such as my toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, travel shampoos, an extra change of clothes, my phone charger, and my wallet. This way if I make an unexpected stop for whatever reason I can just grab my backpack and go, rather than rummaging around my trunk trying to find things.
If you are traveling with a pet, make sure you pack accordingly for them also. If your pet doesn’t already have a collar with an ID tag, I would highly advise investing in one before your trip. Also, your pet is guaranteed to get thirsty and hungry on the road. Make sure you back a bowl or two so that you can feed them in the car. One really cool product I found to be super useful on my road trips with my pup is a collapsible water/food bowl like this one. Once its collapsed it will fit right in the seat pocket and makes it easily accessible for you.
Utilize your car’s features and space accordingly. If you have back seats that fold down, figure out if you will save more room with one, or both down, or if it is better for your needs to keep them upright. Also, many vehicles have a secret compartment under the floor in the trunk, this may be a good place to keep some of your personal items such as jewelry or passport depending on where you are going. The last thing you want while on a road trip is getting your things stolen. As awful as it is, it’s something we have to think about.
Music! This is one thing that I have overlooked before and will never do so again. I was travelling from New Hampshire to Ohio to go to Cedar Point and I thought my radio would be fine. Boy was I wrong, for more than 10 hours of my trip, I was without any or any good music. When taking a road trip, remember different states listen to different music, and some do not have good or any service in some areas. Pack your IPod (make sure you have an aux cord), CD’s, or download music onto your phone before your trip. (PS Click on the mix tape to get a great list of songs to add to your Road Trip Playlist)
Directions! Again with the service problem. YOU WILL NOT HAVE SERVICE on some points of your trip, this I can guarantee. In my opinion road trips are supposed to be spontaneous and should allow you to make stops wherever you want along the way to your destination. This being said, I would not simply print out MapQuest directions bringing you from point A to point B, instead, I would spend the money on a road atlas of the US or at least for the states you are travelling through. This way when your GPS is no help, you will have a backup and if you veer from your planned route, you will be able to find your way back.
These are all of the tips on packing for a road trip that I have so far. I hope you find them helpful. If you have any additional tips or tricks, I would love to hear them, simply leave me a comment below. Good luck on your adventures!