How to Pack for a Road Trip

Going on a road trip with a friend or with family is going to require a lot of packing. The more people, and the longer you are gone, the more you will need to take with you. Making sure that you have what you need without overdoing things too much is probably the hardest part, but here is some advice on how and what to pack on your next road trip. 

To Begin

Before you start the packing process, you should visualize your trip to help you make a list of things you will need. Once you have your list, take the time to organize it by which bags each thing will go in. While you are making your list, try to weed out the things that you really don’t need and the things that you could just buy when you need them. You may want to bring a copy of the list with you on your vacation to help you keep track of all your items.

The Next Step

A few general rules for packing up your vehicle are to pack from back to front. Try to keep the heavy items in the center of the vehicle to avoid potential problems while driving. When packing from back to front, put the bags and things you will not need until you arrive at your destination in the back. This will help you to easily find and access the things you need most. Packing things into a duffle bag instead of a suitcase will help you to fit everything in your vehicle. Suitcases are sturdy and easy to wheel around, but when it comes to packing for your road trip, you will find it more important to have something that can be squished and shaped to fill up holes. If you’re looking to get an early start, it would be best for you to pack things up the night before. We all try to pretend like we are the best of the best and nothing can stop us from getting an early start, but there will be a lot for you to deal with before you leave. Having the car packed will help things to move along.

Packing for Children

Traveling with young children can get rough; that is why it is important to be prepared. One of the most important parts of packing is making sure that you have an activity bag for your children. Constant are-we-there-yet comments will drive you absolutely nuts, but with the help of your activity bag, you won’t have to hear too many of them. Fill a small bag with their electronic games and power cords, old fashioned coloring books, and small toys from home. If you need some help with ideas for your bags, look around online or check out your local library to see if they have any travel game books. Your next line of defense is your snack bag. It is more difficult for children to argue or complain if they have a yummy snack in their mouths. Try to keep things on the healthy side to avoid that dreaded sugar buzz, but a few sugary treats won’t hurt.

In Case of Emergency

We all hope that nothing will go wrong on our road trips, but you should always be prepared for the worst. Be sure to bring an emergency road kit along with you, and make sure it can be easily accessed. This kit should contain things like a flashlight, jumper cables, basic tools, and some road flares. Prior to leaving your home, take the time to check on your spare to see if it is in suitable contiditon. A first aid kit is also a good thing to have with you. You never know when you might end up needing a Band-Aid.

Don’t Forget

Road trips tend to be long, and when people start to get uncomfortable, things can get tense. Have everyone bring along their own pillow and blanket to help them stay comfortable, especially if you don’t plan on stopping. Entertainment will help things to go along much faster, so don’t be afraid to pack a special bag for you as well. This could include things like your cell phone, a charger, your camera, puzzle books, regular books, knitting, etc. Have a designated bag for dealing with messes, even if there are no children on the ride–adults spill things too. Paper towels, sanitizer wipes, and plastic bags can also come in handy.

Guest post from Payton Price. Payton writes for


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