Anyone else taking a road trip this summer? It’s been awhile since we’ve just gotten in the car and drove! Man, I’m getting the itch again.
You would think that a 20+ hour car ride from San Antonio to Las Vegas would have taken it out of me forever. (And don’t get me wrong… when we finished that drive, I definitely did NOT want to get back in the car for a good couple of months.) Oh, and did I mention that we did that drive TWICE?! It was by choice — for our situation it made the most sense, but it still sucked.
Whether you’re road-tripping for leisure or PCSing across the entire country, there’s a good amount of work that needs to be put in BEFORE you actually get there! Isn’t there? Making the reservations, planning the route, researching the area and finding cool stuff to do. It’s a lot of work. But it’s so worth it to be able to experience something new and create a positive experience with the ones you love.
Wherever my travel may be taking me, I’ve perfected my process for getting “road-trip ready”. Keep reading to see how my speedy yet thorough trip prep gets me out the door faster and onto the fun.
Packing the Suitcase
For me packing my suitcase used to be such a chore. I would dreadfully wait until the night before I was supposed to leave and stay up all night running around, trying to wash last-minute laundry or running to the convenient store to get the travel-sized toiletries. It was a nightmare! I would be so stressed and exhausted by the time morning came, that I didn’t even want to go anymore. Ugh! I shiver when I think about those days. Why did I do that to myself?!
Alas, due to our somewhat frequent travel (and my annoyed husband), I had to figure out a better system. So here are a few tricks I use to get that bag packed in a snap.
- Have a set bag for your toiletries and leave everything you can in it. I now have a complete set of shower items, hair products, and even a separate toothbrush that I keep in that bag at all times. So when it comes time to pack, I toss my daily-use products in and I’m ready to go.
- Check the weather where you’re going and pack accordingly. I am always cold, so I tend to pack outfits that can be layered so I’m comfortable when it’s warm and then have a sweater for the cooler temps.
- Pack less stuff! Back in the day I would lug a huge suitcase around and pack extra outfits. I broke that habit quickly after we started traveling in Europe and found that tight, busy streets coupled with old hotels that sometimes didn’t have elevators, did not work well with that. No bueno! Capsule wardrobe type of thinking really is key here! And don’t be afraid to wear an outfit twice– I promise, no one will notice!
- Utilize the space you have in your suitcase. I like to fold up my socks and underwear and put them inside of my packed shoes to save space. I also love using these cubes to help keep things separated and to protect my clothes from my shoes.
Packing the Car
Part two is packing the car. Depending on who you’re traveling with and for how long you’ll be in the vehicle, this can take a bit of planning. But taking the time to get what you need ahead of time, will make your road trip that much more enjoyable!
Things to consider when loading up:
- Go to the store (or shop your kitchen) and stock up on snacks and drinks. It’s cheaper than grabbing snacks at random gas station stops and you’ll have more opportunity to get the things you like. Plus it saves you from having to make more stops along the way.
- Bring a cooler. Having a way to keep drinks/snacks cool, allows for more versatility in what you choose to bring with you. I used to think this was a waste because you’d have to toss out and then purchase new ice each day. But then, one day it dawned on us to use the ice machine at the hotel to restock our cooler. Now we bring it on every car trip!
- Think about clean-up. Pack garbage bags, napkins, and hand wipes. I used to think my mom was crazy when she’d pack all that stuff in our car for the trip. But now my husband LOVES how prepared I am! You just never know what you may need and when you’re driving down the highway in the middle of nowhere, you don’t have a lot of options to pull over and clean up your spilled drink. I love a little trashcan that you can put in your car! *I secured mine with a small bungee cord.*
Follow these tips and tricks and you’ll be all the rave on your next road trip! Do you have other go-to tips for traveling? If so, let me know! I’d love to hear them.