Tips for Packing Smart for a Road Trip

by Mia Johnson 4 months ago in travel advice

Focusing on what to bring, and how to pack it properly.

Tips for Packing Smart for a Road Trip

Whenever you’re getting ready for a trip, packing can present a problem. Everything has to fit in your car and it has to fit snuggly, so that you and your family can be comfortable. You have to focus on what to bring, and how to pack it properly. Packing a lot of things can require some sacrifices, but packing smart just takes a bit of know-how.

Use all the space that is available.

Cars are great, because they can serve as an additional piece of luggage during your trip. The many compartments of the car are useful for keeping essential things at hand. However, you probably don’t utilize your car space half as well as you might think you do. There’s a lot of unused space that could become extremely practical if you use it properly.

The space below the driver’s and passenger’s seats can be a great place to put an extra pair of shoes. People often underutilize their glove compartment. It’s not just good for keeping documents at hand. You can stick your dental hygiene supplies there, and make use of them if the trip lasts too long before reaching a hotel.

Pack smart.

Packing things for a road trip is pretty easy. You have a limited amount of space, which you have to utilize, but it’s usually enough to bring all the essentials you need. However, the way you pack these things is pretty important.

It’s not enough that you made everything fit in the car, you need to have access to certain things on a moment’s notice. If your first aid kit is buried under two or three suitcases, you didn’t pack properly, even if everything fit. Things that you need every once in a while, will have to be packed somewhere where you can access them. Imagine not being able to find your spare glasses, because they’re deep inside your suitcase.

Bring healthy snacks.

Everyone knows that snacks are an essential part of any road trip. Spending long periods of time on the road can really drive up an appetite. It’s not the kind of appetite that makes you want to eat something heavy, but rather a feeling that you should be chewing on something light.

The kind of snacks people usually bring aren't all that healthy. Potato chips and chocolate bars are full of unnecessary carbohydrates that won't leave you feeling full, but they will add quite a few calories to your daily intake. The healthy alternatives to these types of snacks aren't much better. They don't taste good, and they aren't as fun to eat.

Sticking to natural snacks would be your best bet. Freeze-dried fruit, and nuts are tasty treats that anyone can enjoy. Almonds and peanuts are full of nutrients that will leave you feeling sated for some time. Better yet, even your kids will enjoy them, since they’re pretty tasty, and crunchy on their own.

Plan for the whole family.

Packing for a solo trip is easy. You just have one person to look after, and all the luggage space is reserved for you. When you’re traveling with your family, things can get a bit complicated. You have to plan things well ahead.

Everyone should have their own individual packing list. You can’t possibly know all the things that your spouse wants to bring along for the trip. You can hardly rely on your children to bring stuff, they probably wouldn’t even take their toothbrushes.

If you’re taking your little bundle of joy along for the ride, it will need a special seat for the car. Cars aren’t really designed for optimal baby safety, after all. While you’re looking for the best car seat for baby, you will want to also look into how to secure it properly. Some say that backward-facing seats are optimal, while others stick with front facing versions.

Keep bags close.

Everyone has a bunch of plastic bags just sitting around in their home. They don’t seem very useful right now, but they can make your road trip a lot easier. Make sure to make some space for a bunch of them.

Use them as makeshift trashcans during the trip. While you’re on the road, you will want to have a place to throw away your trash and tissues. You could go hours before reaching the nearest town, and all that trash needs to be taken care of until then. Once you reach the nearest actual trashcan, you can get rid of it.


Packing isn’t all that difficult once you get down to it. With a bit of ingenuity, and practical smarts, you can pack a week’s worth of stuff in a small car. Knowing how to bring a lot of stuff isn’t as important as knowing what’s really worth bringing.

travel advice
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