I look forward to the various road trips I take, whether I’m going only a few hours away or on the road for days. The open road, not knowing what you might discover, and being able to travel somewhere awesome – that’s what it’s all about. Even with all the anticipation of getting geared up to go somewhere I still can’t help the fact that I dread packing. What do I need? What’s the best way to pack? How do I make this easier? After sorting through the thousands of travel and packing tips, and testing some on my own here is what I’ve discovered that works the best when preparing to travel.
- Digitize Important Documents…I born in the digital-age, so needless to say I hate loose paper. Carrying a ton of important documents is cumbersome while traveling, not to mention the fact that if they get lost – well you’re without a paddle on a very rough river. So, scan all of your important documents (passport, insurance, emergency contact info, etc) onto your computer, and then store them in an email. This is also a great way to store coupons when traveling on the road. Instead of having hundreds of different coupons save them in an email – most businesses can scan the coupon from your email.
- Keep the clothes to a minimum…Much to my dismay this tip is one to actually follow. For years I over-packed. I would travel with 3 weeks worth of clothes for a weeklong trip. Think over what and where you will be going (climate, activities, etc.), so you make sure you pack the right attire. Find pieces that are easy to layer, as you can create multiple outfits out of a few items. Bring clothes that are easy to wash and that don’t need special attention (like ironing, or dry cleaning).
- Always pack an “overnight” bag…My Aunt always made me pack an overnight bag when I would travel with her, and I was glad. After a long trip all you want to do is crash, so make it easier by packing an overnight bag so you don’t have to root through your luggage. Pick a small bag (like a small backpack, oversized purse, or even a reusable shopping bag), and fill it with something to sleep in, clothes for the next day, and toiletries.
- Bring your own light…This advice came from my mother, and I use it even when I’m not traveling. Always have a flashlight, candle, and flares in your car. If you’re stuck on the road you don’t want to drain your battery, so packing your own light to avoid this disaster. In times of emergency always have flares. A candle (and matches) is also a great back up.
- The old roll trick…Most people have heard of this: roll your clothes when packing. It’s actually a great trick, and it really does work. It will save you space and allow you to keep wrinkles to a minimum. You can also use cardboard to create dividers for your clothing. Cardboard is perfect since it’s light, holds a decent amount of weight, and since most items are packaged in cardboard this should be easy to find around the house. If you pack extra shoes place them on top of the clothes in a plastic bag to control odors. Pack a few extra plastic bags to place dirty clothing in, or if you’re luggage has ample pocket space stuff the dirty clothing in there.
- Toiletries…Travel size, small clear bottles, or half used products you have at home. You aren’t moving you don’t need regular sized toiletry items. Also, don’t forget to store toiletries in their own plastic bag just in case they spill.
- Electronics…If you don’t have a car charger make sure you invest in one. Cordless Chargers are also a great investment for travelers. Packing multiple cords is confusing, a great way to loose one, and just plain annoying. Invest in a cordless charger that will charge your laptop, cell, or camera – and most will fit multiple devices on the charger at once. For your battery operated devices, bring rechargeable batteries so you don’t have to carry around a big pack.
- Check your options for roadside assistance…This may seem like a no-brainer, but don’t forget to check your availability for roadside assistance. Whether you’re using your car insurance policy, or have a membership to AAA make sure you know how many tows you have, and what your policy will do for you.
- Gortex…No matter where you are going, there’s bound to be rain. Invest in a coat made with Gortex. It’s truly waterproof, and a great insulator. Most Gortex items can be worn over fleece or wool to add warmth if you need it.
- Use Roadtrippers, of course….Connect with Roadtrippers for places to go, things to see, and check out where other roadtrippers have been too. As much as I would like to travel like a vagabond it’s always nice to have a few points of interest to check out along the way. If you check out something awesome, let us know so we can spread the word!
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