Schools out, the sun is warm and inviting, the pools are uncovered and most of you have made plans for a summer get-a-way! If you are going to your summer destination by car, this article is for you. Learn some smart and efficient ways to pack your vehicle. If you’ve never given this much thought, these tips can make your trip more pleasurable in that you can be sure you are organized, can find things, and remember everything you need for your temporary home away from home. Let’s start packing!
Smart Packing Tip #1: Unpack
This may sound a little crazy, but before you start packing your vehicle, unpack it! Yes, you read this right, take everything out of the car. You may want to even clean up the interior while it’s empty. Empty the trunk too. Check out your spare tire to make sure it is in good shape and inflated to the correct pressure.
Smart Packing Tip #2: Make a list
Save cash on gas and plan ahead to pack light. By making a list on paper or (in your head if you can remember it), you can be sure that you make it to your destination with everything you need! When you make the list, categorize. For instance, food, equipment, entertainment, first aid, toiletries, and clothes are examples of some categories you should list. List the items you wish to take under each category, like cameras, sports equipment, laptop, etc… under equipment.
When packing your suitcases, consolidate items as much as possible. For example, does every family member need their own toothpaste or deodorant? Probably not, so narrow down any general use items as much as possible. Remember packing light is better!
Smart Packing Tip #3: Pack it backward!
It took me a long time to figure this out, but it really makes common sense to pack backwards. Pack everything in the trunk that you are not going to use until you get to where you’re going first. Things like sports equipment and suitcases go in first. Last pack things you will need during the trip like games, snacks, maps, coolers, and other trip aids. I prefer to keep snacks and water in the interior of the car so I won’t have to stop to get them out of the trunk.
Smart Packing Tip #4: Freeze your drinks
If you’re planning to stop for a picnic along the way, freeze your bottled water, juices or soda overnight and place in a cooler with on-the-road sandwiches on top of them. The sandwiches will stay cold and the drinks should thaw by the time you are ready to drink them.
Smart Packing Tip #5: Take along a few reusable plastic grocery store bags
Grocery store bags are great for holding garbage. Be sure to have a few in the car to put snack wrappers, empty drink cans and bottles in. Keep your car clean while traveling and toss full bags in receptacles along the way. It’s also handy to have these bags if someone gets motion sick in the car and has to throw up. Take along some Ziploc big bags for dirty laundry or wet bathing suits or for extra diapers etc…
Smart Packing Tip #6: Pack emergency changes
Just in case someone spills something on them, take a couple of extra T-shirts and shorts in the front of the car or in the front of the trunk so you won’t have to open a suitcase to find clean clothes.
Smart Packing Tip #7: Pack medical kit
Keep a medical kit in the car, not in the trunk. Fill a zip-loc bag with bandages, rubbing alcohol and tweezers (to remove splinters, thorns, ticks etc…) and some kind of medicated ointment for cuts and scrapes. Medicines and prescriptions should also be packed in a separate bag or purse that you take with you, as they should not be left in a hot car. Don’t forget to pack your health insurance cards too!
Now that you are packed efficiently, have a great summer vacation!