Pack for Car Trip

Family Road Trip: Six Tips to Packing Your Car

When vacation time finally comes, the last thing you want to worry about is trunk space. Difficulty with loading and unloading the car can have a major negative effect on a family road trip, especially for the driver. These tips will have you packed up and on the road in no time.

1         Consider Height and Weight

In the trunk, it’s important to consider how the heavy load will affect the way your car drives. Heavy items should go all the way against the back of the seats to achieve a low center of gravity. Lighter items stacked on top should be secured down to avoid the possibility of sliding forward in the event of a sudden stop. It’s tempting to pile things all the way to the roof, but remember to leave space for the driver to see out of the back window.

2         Pack Light

An easy way to improve the performance of your car during a long trip is to pack lightly. A lighter load means more efficient gas mileage. This is easier said than done, especially for longer trips. Before you pack, create a packing list of only things you need.If you plan ahead and only pack items on the list, then you can limit tossing unnecessary items in the car at the last minute.

3         Use Duffel Bags

Some trunk space can be saved by using soft luggage like duffel bags rather than hard suitcases. Soft bags can be easily wedged between other things, and can often hold more items as you are able to stretch their limits.

4         Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is a huge help. If you know that you will be stopping at hotels along the way, pack an overnight bag separate from the rest of your luggage. This helps you avoid going through all the luggage every time you stop. This is especially helpful with kids so you won’t have to repack entire suitcases every morning. Instead of having a separate suitcase for each member of the family, try packing things based on overnight stays. Children can have a purse or backpack to keep personal items in.

5         Packing Athletic Gear

If you are traveling with bulky athletic gear, look into getting exterior racks. For example, a bike rack on the back of the car is a huge space saver. You need that trunk space for luggage and other gear, and bikes take up a lot of room. Bike racks, such as Thule Bike Racks in Toronto,  also keep the bikes secure and in place, so you don’t have to worry about them shifting around.

Hitting the water? If you have a truck, it still might be a good idea to consider using something like a kayak rack for Tacoma trucks – this will allow you to carry your kayak and keep the bed space free for the rest of your gear.

6         In Case of Emergencies

Last but not least, bring a car emergency kit with you. These items need to be somewhere close at hand in case of accidents or other emergencies. If you are pinned to your seat by an air bag or your seat belt, you need to be able to reach the proper tools.


Family road trips are a lot of fun, and they don’t have to be overwhelming. Use these simple tips to pack your car  and feel ready to go.