I’m taking a quick break from the summer camping theme to go on two back-to-back camping trips! While I enjoy that, enjoy this post!
An epic road trip is, without a doubt, something that every keen traveler should experience at least once. Road trips offer a freedom that few other forms of vacation can provide; you are able to go wherever you want, for as long as you want, at whatever time of day you want. There’s no need to worry about rushing to the airport on time or waiting for a bus to the local historical site; you set your own rules, and travel in the style that suits you and your family only.
Of course, while road trips do offer all the benefits detailed above, they are far from a worry-free choice for a vacation. As well as managing concerns such as preparing your car for the trip and finding a hotel that lines your chosen driving route, you will have to face arguably the biggest road trip problem of all: trying to pack too many items into your vehicle.
Why this is such an issue
Over-packing your car may not sound like the biggest worry a road trip can throw at you – and perhaps, in and of itself, it’s not that much of an issue. However, what over-packing your vehicle does is produce a number of additional problems. These include:
Having to spend more on gas than you otherwise would due to the car being overweight
Struggling to organize your luggage due to it being crammed into a confined space
Spending large amounts of money in the lead-up to the trip on “road trip essential” items… that you never actually use, as you either cannot find them, or they are not actually as “essential” as the manufacturer would have you believe
… the above points are accurate, but they cannot be taken in isolation. Reading through the above, it would be tempting to ensure you don’t overpack, by taking as little as possible; instead, you’d just visit the likes of AromaTech to grab an essential oil air freshener, throw a change of clothes in a bag, pack a tire repair kit, and then you’d hit the open road, a veritable Marie Kondo of traveling.
Unfortunately, this isn’t possible. Road trips require substantial preparation and you will need to ensure you have the essentials you need – but without going overboard!
Five tips to keep in mind when packing for a road trip
Weigh every item you are considering packing in your vehicle. If an item weighs more than its usefulness merits, leave it behind.
Be realistic about what you will be able to buy on the road. For example, there’s no need to take a spare bottle of shampoo – if you run out, you’ll be able to buy one during your trip.
However, don’t rely on being able to buy esoteric items. If an item can’t be bought at your nearest corner store, don’t assume you’ll be able to find it easily on the road.
Don’t pack the car to the brim. You will almost certainly want to buy items along the way, so you’ll need space to store these items.
If you’re really struggling for space in the trunk, consider a roof rack or even a trailer – though bear in mind both of these options will also increase your fuel consumption.
With the above thoughts and tips in mind, you should be able to ensure that your first road trip experience avoids the usual over/underpacking problems that cause so much stress. This should, in turn, leave you free to enjoy the road trip in style.