Road trips are exciting, whether you’re looking forward to the destination or the journey. Sometimes, though, we’re just a little too eager to get on the road, which can lead to a half-hearted attempt at packing and preparation. If you’re getting ready for your next great adventure, we’ve got all the helpful tips to organize your car for a road trip, from planning to packing, safety considerations, and more!
Make a list
This blog is a great start. It is a list, after all. But it’s only meant to get you started. Much of what you’ll need will depend on:
- Where you’re headed
- How long your trip will be (both in travel time and total vacation time)
- How many people will be traveling together
- Whether you’ll have kids and/or pets in the car
You’ll want to make a list that will address these and other considerations. Starting with a list will make it easier to organize your car for your road trip, and easier to organize your itinerary as well!
Even if it seems like a mental list will be enough. It probably won’t be. Keep your list somewhere that’s easily accessible, like your phone. If you’re looking to spice things up, try a new list-making app to save time!
Once you’ve written your list, you’ll want to gather your luggage. Consider these tips:
- Go for luggage that’s more or less square and stackable
- Have some “creatively shaped” or flexible luggage that can fit easily in other storage areas or by your feet
- Luggage within luggage, especially toiletry cases, will keep you organized throughout your trip!
- Consider packing a separate bag or suitcase for dirty laundry
- Once you’ve made a note of the luggage you’ll be bringing, you can organize your list according to what will go into each bag, and where you plan to fit each bag in your vehicle!
Bringing food along for the ride cuts down on how many pit stops you’ll need to make and can even save some money. When properly organized, it doesn’t take up much space!
A cooler is great for packing perishables, and it adheres to the easily stackable rule. However, a zip-up thermal bag can be a great alternative that’s easier to access and takes up less space.
Organize your food according to what you’ll need immediately and what you’ll want to save for later. Keep snacks and drinks easily accessible!
What to keep in your front seat
However you decide to stack your luggage, be sure to keep the essentials up front and easy to reach. These may include:
Sunglasses or eyeglasses
Medicine—especially for upset stomach and motion sickness, headaches, or any essential prescriptions
Your preferred method for listening to music, audiobooks, and podcasts.
(Consider bringing some of your favorite CDs just in case!
Charging outlets, portable chargers, and plenty of cables
(including some extra long cables that can easily reach from the front seat to the back seat if you’ll have extra passengers)
What to keep in your trunk
Last but not least, when you organize your car for a road trip, be sure to leave room in your trunk for some car care essentials:
- Spare tire & tire jack
- Jumper cables
- Flash light
- First Aid kit
- Coolant, extra oil
- A small toolkit (especially one with socket wrenches and an adjustable screwdriver)
Bonus Tip: If you’ll be traveling in an RV, check out our blog post on how to keep your RV running smoothly.