Many of us have experienced the “travel rule” that says the next thing you need to get out of your trunk is underneath a big pile of stuff. And that is often followed by the next rule that your car’s trunk is always smaller than what you need to carry. Here are some ideas for convenient and safe packing for travel.
First, make sure your car is stocked with appropriate emergency equipment. Have a special box for bottled water, emergency warning triangle or flares, and a fire extinguisher. Pack this last so you can reach it as soon as you open the trunk. Resist the temptation to leave it out if you have too many other items. If your spare tire kit resides in the trunk, remember to pack easily removed items on top of it to allow access without unpacking the entire trunk.
Create another box for safety supplies, including a working flashlight, work gloves, bungee cords, pocket knife, small air compressor, roll of paper towels, windshield washer fluid, folding shovel, ice scraper and a portable jump starter. Be sure to pack appropriately for the type of weather conditions you may encounter.
Carry seasonally appropriate items for comfort, such as hand warmers, coats, hats and gloves in winter and sunscreen, lip balm and bug spray in summer. Include copies of your prescriptions and emergency contact information. Keeping these items together in a convenient and easy to remember location.
Extreme weather conditions can happen anywhere and with short notice. Hurricanes, blizzards, highway accidents and flooding can cause travel delays. When traveling, be sure to have enough items with you to endure being stranded for several hours.
When packing luggage, choose soft-sided bags that are lightweight enough to be lifted into the trunk. You can place the bags over the spare tire area, since the bags can be easily moved out of the way. Keep a few trash bags handy to store dirty or wet clothes.
Be aware of the outside temperature when deciding where to store your food. The trunk will be much hotter (or colder) than the inside of the car.
Once your car is packed a way that works, take a picture of this. It might just help later when you can’t remember how it was sorted. Try to leave some room in the trunk rather than packing it full. Your items will “grow” as you travel, especially if you buy things along the way.
Most importantly, pack what you need to get you through adverse situations you may encounter. This will vary based on how far and where you are traveling. Obviously, short drives in metropolitan areas won’t require as many emergency items, but even on short trips those items may save time. If you are traveling on remote highways with long distances between exits, having an emergency, safety and comfort items can shorten adverse events or at least make them more comfortable.