Traveling by car is a great way to explore the country and get away from your daily routine. It’s cheap, comfortable and only you decide what to do and what to see – the control is in your hands. However, with great power comes great responsibility. There are more than a few things you need to take care of before hitting the road if you don’t want your trip to turn into a complete disaster.
3 most important things are packing, car maintenance, and road safety. If you properly plan and prepare for all of them, chances that something will go wrong during the trips shrink significantly. We will cover all of those 3 things to assist you in planning your trip. So if you are interested in traveling by car, please proceed reading.
1) Before you start throwing clothes and hiking equipment into the back of your car, think if you really want to travel in an overloaded vehicle? We don’t want to say that you should limit your luggage size. Instead of that – make some additional room for your stuff. This would allow you to store all items that are not of the first importance outside of your interior and leave only essentials in it.
2) When packing, try thinking outside the box. Simulate the situations you are likely to end up in and then think of what things you would need. For instance – your GPS might not work everywhere, so get a map as a backup plan. Don’t forget the first aid kit, because you never know what’s going to happen.
3) Get comfortable clothing. During the road trip, you are going to spend a lot of time both outside and in the car. Those two environments require quite a different approach, so get ready for that. You know that footwear is critical, but you can’t drive and hike in the mountains in the same boots, right? So driving requires something really comfortable, such as sneakers. The same sneakers can be not the best option for a hike, so you should definitely take a second pair of shoes. This tutorial on how to choose the best boots will help you decide what hiking shoes you should take on your road trip.
Getting stuck in the middle of nowhere because your car just broke down is probably the worst situation you can found yourself in during the road trip. You can take some actions to make this scenario unlikely.
Obviously, there are some general rules that should be followed to take care of your car. But if you are planning to drive hundreds of miles, you should take a step forward and complete this checklist:
- Make sure that your tires are in good shape;
- Replace the air filter;
- Check the oil level and consider changing the oil in advance;
- Check the battery;
- Check the lights;
- Refill all fluids;
- Make sure your wipers are functioning well;
- Check the jack and spare tire.
You don’t need to be a professional technician to do this, so you have no excuse. If you have any doubt about the shape of your car, take it to the authorized dealer, so they could prepare it for the trip. You will have some additional expenses, but it will cost less than a breakdown far away from home.
When your car is prepared for the road trip and you have all your stuff packed, it’s a good time to remember how to drive safely. Unfortunately, car accidents cause fatal consequences to millions of people every year, so safety is the number one priority.
If you are planning to travel a long way, don’t forget to make stops frequently. It’s important both for road safety and your own health. Make stops every 2-3 hours to rest your eyes and stretch. Never drive if you are feeling sleepy – this is extremely dangerous. While planning your trip, try to include those stops into your plan.
Don’t use your phone while driving. Just stop if you need to make your call or get yourself a hands-free kit if you spend a lot of time on the phone while driving. This includes not only speaking on the phone – anything that requires your full attention is a threat while you are driving. Even eating or smoking behind the wheel might be dangerous.
And most important – don’t be aggressive on the road. Speeding, changing lanes aggressively or simply being reckless on the road might let you reach your destination point a couple of minutes faster, but it can also send you to the graveyard.
The biggest challenge with road trips: Efficiently packing your car!
Road trips can be fun and pleasant, but you have to be efficient when packing your stuff. The task is really challenging when you have kids who typically get bored, want to play games, and eat. However, if you brace yourself and get everyone on board from the first step to the last, you should be all enjoying the road trip to the fullest. Packing is the first step to take, and many people get overwhelmed by the very thought of having to pack all the miscellaneous. We’re more than happy to help with some suggestions for efficient packing.
Roll, don’t fold!
Most of us will have to pack many clothes, especially if we have small kids who get messy quickly. You want to save as much space as possible, so we encourage you to roll and not fold your clothes. Packing cubes are also an excellent way to save space in the car. You can efficiently pack your clothes in the packing cubes to quickly find what you need right in the boot of your vehicle.
Remember to roll your clothes in neat bundles before you put them into the packing cube. If done right, rolling saves more space than folding and will actually cause fewer creases in them than folding does.
Make the most of every nook and cranny
Most cars have plenty of little nooks and crannies where you can easily store some items for effortless access. There are also many nooks where you can place things you only need at your destination; putting them away on the road makes perfect sense.
Under passenger and driver seats, the glove compartment, small compartments in the center console, the pocket of the back of the seats are great places to store your things. Some cars have a pull-out draw with a fitted open compartment at the back of the boot. You can put in the draw cups, plates, and cutlery for effortless use when you have a snack break. Use the open compartment to put towels and some spacer bags (details come next).
We recommend putting things you don’t often use under the front seats—excess oil and water, walking boots, etc. Take some time and think about using every nook and cranny in your car.
Use space bags
If you have to travel with pillows, linen, and bulky soft items (oversized jackets), you need space-saving options to not sacrifice important space with them. Space bags are an excellent choice as they let you reduce the amount of space you would otherwise need for cumbersome items.
You can use the space bags to pack sheets, winter blankets, linen, pillows, etc.
Organize your stuff with large plastic tubs
A good set of plastic storage tubs will go a long way to spend the extra buck when buying. Be ready to spend a bit over $100 for a set that includes two small tubs, two medium, and three large tubes. Make sure that you use each tub for a specific purpose to be as effective as possible. Here are some suggestions:
Small for everyday food
You can put the everyday food items in a small tub. Coffee, pasta, rice, cooking oil, tea, etc., can go in a tiny tub. You can take it inside the car for easy access.
Small for toiletries/excess medicines
Even if you have a “go bag” where you carry everyday toiletries and medicines, you can also take excess or less frequent items in a small tub in the car.
Medium for cooking utensils
Irrespective of where you go, it’s good to pack cooking utensils. It all depends on how much cooking you like to do when you get to your destination. You can pack some ziplock bags, cling film, and plastic containers for the leftovers and lunches.
Medium for excess food
Food that you don’t plan to use daily can go in one of the medium tubs. You can store it in the car and grab whatever you need whenever you need it.
Large for bits and pieces
Anything that doesn’t fit in the other tub categories can be put in one large tub. We talk about goggles for swimming, reading books, tennis rackets, playing cards, stationery, and various bits and pieces you will need along the way. Keep in the car and get what you need when traveling.
Large for excess shoes and clothes
You can pack the clothes in one large backpack and store the excess in large tubs. You can swap them as needed with clothes you only use at specific times of the year (pretty dresses, waterproof jackets, etc.).
Have a “Go Bag”
You can skip many things with your road trip, but one you shouldn’t forget is the “go bag.” The “go bag” is a backpack you fill with seven days worth of shoes, clothes, and toiletries. If you use a “go bag,” you no longer have to spend time and energy packing and unpacking.
After you use the clothes in the go bag, you can wash it (if possible) and replace it with clothes from the excess tub. Make sure you have a go-bag ready at all times. Needless to stay, you have to have a go-bag for the number of days of your stay. If you’re only gone for four days, have an essentials bag for four days.
You can use a large packing cube for the backpack so that everything is neat when you take it out.
Be smart when packing
Start with thinking about what you will pack and lay everything out before putting it in the car. Do due diligence about the weather conditions, the location, the accommodation, and think about what you will need most frequently to have it within reach. Everything you need to use often should be easy to access from either a side door, the rear of the car, or having it on hand in the front.
Tubs that remain in the car for most of your road trip should go in the middle of the packing. Place the tubs and bags you use the most in places easy to access. It’s probably the things you use at every new destination.
Nobody wants to unpack the entire care every time they stop for a picnic or new destination. More importantly, nobody wants to stop and be unable to find whatever they need. Pack wise to have peace of mind and enjoy your road trip.