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Auto | Travel | AAA Traveler Worldwise


Road trips are a blast, but the packing aspect? Not so much. According to Forbes, road tripping is up 64% since 2015, and two out of three travelers plan to take a road trip in the next twelve months.


So, where do you start when it comes to packing the car? AAA packing expert and Managing Director of Merchandise and Auto Travel Debbie Calvert has a few recommendations to make sure your vehicle is loaded efficiently and safely.


According to Calvert, there are multiple things road trippers should consider when packing their vehicle. The first is safety.


“When you’re packing the car, you don’t want to pack up too high in the back,” says Calvert. “You don’t want to lose visibility through your windows.”


Calvert also recommends securing loose objects in the back end of the vehicle, like sporting equipment.


“If you have to hit the brakes, hard, loose items could really cause a problem,” reminds Calvert. Trunk organizers can help secure loose items while also providing help with keeping organized.


On the topic of organization, Calvert also recommends packing an overnight bag that's easily accessible if you have multiple stops on your road trip. This method prevents you from unpacking the entire vehicle for a quick hotel stay or night camping.


“I pack a separate overnight bag,” says Calvert. “That way, you have a change of clothes and toiletries, and you don’t have to unpack the whole car when you’re going just for the night somewhere.”


Calvert also recommends being prepared for any situation that arises on the road. Packing an emergency road kit, first aid kit, extra device chargers, and paper maps can help you be prepared for any unpleasant situations.


“Digital navigation is great,” says Calvert, “but if you’re in a remote area and lose service, the maps can help get you to your destination.”
Trunk Luggage
Calvert recommends putting heavy suitcases at the bottom of the rear of the vehicle to build a packing foundation.


When it comes to packing the back end of a vehicle for a road trip, Calvert has a tried and true method that promotes safety and packing efficiency. She begins with packing heavy suitcases at the bottom of the back end, placing the side of the luggage with the most surface area against the bottom of the vehicle.


Immediately on top of the luggage, a trunk organizer can be placed to one side to help contain loose objects in the back of the vehicle. Long, skinny items, like camping chairs, can be placed across the width of the trunk opening to serve as a barrier to keep the load from shifting. The final step is placing soft items like garment bags and backpacks across the top of the load.
Camping Chairs  

Camping chairs make a barrier to keep the load in place.


Keeping passengers comfortable and safe on a road trip is the key priority when packing the passenger cabin of a vehicle.


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Placing a cooler with snacks and drinks in the center of the vehicle behind the front seats keeps these items accessible for everyone.


For kids, lap desk organizers keep everything they'll need right at their fingertips – from tablets to toys and games. Lap desk organizers also provide a work area so they can spread out. Seat organizers attached to the seat in front of the passenger also offer easy accessibility while keeping loose items secure and organized.

Lap Organizer
Calvert recommends a lap desk for kids in in the back seat to keep their favorite items at an arm's length.

No matter where your road trip takes you, it's essential to develop a plan to make packing easier. Consider using a packing checklist, and try to avoid packing the car at the last minute to avoid any frustration so that your road trip goes off without a hitch.