How to Pack a Car for Vacation
Driving to your destination is a vacation experience in itself. Nothing is more exciting than piling your family or friends into your vehicle and cruising to the nearest coastline or mountain resort. Prepping and packing your vehicle for vacation is something that takes planning and should never be done at the very last minute. Follow these guidelines to ensure that your vehicle is packed effectively for your next getaway.
How To Proceed
Consider the size of your vehicle and the number of people who are going to ride within it. There is only so much space inside your car. Before you pack your car, estimate how many bags or pieces of luggage your vehicle can safely transport so that you can advise your passengers of how much or little to pack.
Think about what you need to bring with you. If you are driving to the beach, you will need room for lawn chairs, a beach umbrella, and a place to store sandy items. If you are headed to a ski resort, you will need to figure out how to pack skis in or on your car. If camping on your vacation, you will need to take into account all of the extra equipment that you will need to bring with you.
Where to pack? Depending on the type of vehicle you drive, there may be several options for where to pack your luggage and equipment. If driving a car, you will most likely be using the trunk and possibly the back seat. SUVs and vans often have racks that allow drivers to secure luggage on top of the vehicles; however, this often adversely affects gas mileage. These types of vehicles have plenty of cargo room in the back. Trucks have the most room for luggage and equipment in the bed but remember that it will be exposed to the weather and must be secured.
Apply air travel packing strategies when packing for a road trip. Consider packing a small “carry on” type bag with items that you may need along the way: magazines, snacks, a sweater or jacket, light blanket, sunglasses, etc. Passengers can store these small bags under their seats or in the floor board area for easy access. This will prevent passengers from having to dig through luggage during breaks or rest stops.
Pack items that will be needed immediately closest to the door. For example, if you are driving to a ski resort for vacation, pack your skis, snow boots, and winter gear at the back of the trunk or cargo area. Chances are you will not need these items until you are unpacked and settled into your room.
If packing luggage or equipment on the top of your vehicle, make sure that it is securely tied down. Many drivers prefer to use specially designed cargo compartments that can be bolted to the top of a vehicle. Never pack valuables on the exterior of your car because they will be easily accessible when you make stops.
Packing your vehicle correctly will save time and effort while on your vacation. The key to successful packing is control. Only pack items that you know you will need. It is much easier to ride in a car for a long time when there is plenty of leg room and all of the luggage is packed in the trunk or cargo area of the vehicle.
Andrei Zakhareuski is the founder of Driving-Tests.org. He has been writing for beginner US drivers for several years.
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