9 Smart Ways to Pack Your Car

9 Smart Ways to Pack Your Car

Travel light on your family road trip with 9 Smart Ways to Pack Your Car. Get tips for luggage, snacks and emergency preparation.
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Before you pack.

 Before you start packing, take EVERYTHING out of the car. In fact, now's a great time to clean the interior. Do make sure you empty the trunk of junk. And while you have the trunk lid open, lift the mat and make sure your spare tire is clean, in good shape and has the correct tire pressure.

Make a list. Don't groan.

 You will love having this list for your trip home when you want to be sure you are leaving nothing behind. Divide your list into categories: Personal (clothes and cosmetics), Food (snacks, drinks, containers, etc.), Equipment (cameras, audio players, sports equipment) and Entertainment (toys, tapes, videos, etc.). And then ask those taking the trip with you to add their desired items under each category. Survey the final list to see where you might consolidate (does everybody need his or her own toothpaste?) or simply cross off unnecessary items. After all, the more your car is weighed down, the more gas it uses. So save money at the gas pump by packing light!

Pack backward.

 What you pack first in the car should be what you will use last. That is, if you don't plan on using sports equipment until after you get to your destination, place that equipment in the trunk or in the very back of the car first. Then work backward and make sure the items you pack last are those you will need while en route, like snacks, games, maps and other trip aids.

Discover a new kind of suitcase.

 For short trips where you are packing light, free up precious car space by using Ziploc® Brand Big Bags of all sizes instead of traditional luggage. Ziploc® Brand Big Bags are perfect for packing clothes, and several can be stacked on top of each other, helping save space. (Wrap clothes in tissue paper to cut down on wrinkles.) Ziploc® Brand Big Bags are also great for transporting sports equipment like tennis rackets, baseball bats, rollerblades and even the dog's Frisbee®. And a Ziploc® brand bag can be filled with mini-size toothpaste, deodorant and other trip necessities like paper toilet-seat covers and tissues. (That kind of toiletries kit makes using bathrooms at highway pit stops much more pleasant, and as the toiletries are used up on the trip, the bags can be reused to hold small trip souvenirs!)

Double duty for garbage bags.

 If you're eating in the car, definitely pack bags for garbage-consider reusing plastic grocery-store bags for this purpose. Bring enough so you can toss them in proper receptacles along the way. And bring along extra Ziploc® Brand Big Bags for dirty laundry. Ziploc® Brand Big Bags are also great for packing wet bathing suits, extra diapers, socks, etc.

Snacks on wheels.

 Munching is required activity on road trips, but try to keep it healthy! I love to stuff Ziploc® brand bags with Road-Trip Bar Cookies or my own customized trail mix. Before my family leaves on a camping trip, I set out bowls of raisins, granola and various nuts and let each person fill a bag (labeled with his or her name). If you love potato chips, buy them in economy-size bags and then redistribute to smaller Ziploc® brand bags. You'll save money and possibly even calories (by eating smaller portions).

Freeze your drinks.

 Bring a cooler and load it with on-the-road sandwiches surrounded by juice and water you have frozen the night before. (The cold drinks will keep the food cold and will most likely defrost by the time you want to drink them.)

Emergency changes.

 Have a couple of extra T-shirts handy in case someone spills coffee or dribbles ice cream. That will save you from having to unpack to find clean clothes, and it's easy to change in the car or in a gas-station bathroom. I stash a box of Shout® Wipes in the glove compartment for quick stain removals.

Medical kit-front and center.

 Many people store their medical kit in the trunk, but lots of scrapes and bruises can happen in the car. So keep yours handy near the front seat, packed with an assortment of bandages, rubbing alcohol and tweezers (to remove splinters, thorns and ticks, etc.). Any medicines your family regularly needs can be kept in a separate bag or purse, which you take with you. Store a copy of prescriptions with the medicines as well as a list of allergies (foods, medicine, etc.) for each family member. Medicines should never be left in a hot car.

* Frisbee® Disc is a registered trademark of Wham-o Inc., 2007.
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recent comments
4/3/2012 , 
Connie  L.
I really use those "big size" Ziploc storage bags to pack and carry all my swimming equipment to the pool.
4/3/2012 , 
Sheryl  L.
When our child went off to camp atbout age 6. I went so far as to pack a days worth of clothins (shirt, shsorts, underwear, socks) in a ziploc for each day and then a few extras. I also piacked those ziplocs' in a larger ziploc brand bag to doubly protect them. WHich was great because all it did was rain and the camp area flooded. Our daughter had clean dry clothes to change into.
6/25/2010 , 
Cynthia  F.
Even before the big bags, our family used ziploc bags to make life easier. As a mom of 3 campers, I always packed the clean clothes for each day in bags ... kept camp moisture out and if my child didn't use them the clean clothes could be put away rather than having to wash it all because everything smell like camp!
8/8/2009 , 
fay  k.
very helpful-put dirty-clothes and shoes, in a plastic bag.this can be put in your luggage also.keeps it separate from clean clothes,twist top-makes it air-proof.meds can be put in a insulated bag-zipped up-in car-easy access.first aid-have enough for in car and in trunk,in case a lot is used and stores not accessable.a fleece throw is good also.have children,grandchldren and great-grandchildren.they love their very own, to snuggle with.no salty snacks-makes them thirsty and bathroom stops. lots of napkins for spills or etc. bottled water and definitely plastic garbage bags for trash and paper cups.
7/25/2009 , 
Jean  F.
I have an overnight bag that is always ready to go with as separate bag with my traveling bathroom items. I use the the quart size Zip Lock bags for anything that may potentially leak in my suitcase. My smaller trave bag is unzipped and hung up on a towel rod. It has lots of compartments for toothpaste, brush, meds. It saves a lot of time when you are in a hurry. etc. When I get back home I "refill" anything that is low for the next time.
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