How to Pack Lightly For a Road Trip?

Many of us love to relax on weekends with our family by going on a road trip in a car or RV. Some people love to make spontaneous decisions on where to go while others prefer planning their trip and choosing particular places to visit. And while travelling somewhere with your car where you’re going to stay for a week or more, packing becomes essential for making the most out of your road trip.

road trip checklist

Here are the essential packing tips for you to consider when planning a long road trip by car.

Road Trip Checklist

If you are going to travel by car then there aren’t too many things that you need to take with you. Just make sure to take all the essentials for your road trip. For packing the right items, you should think about the season and what you plan to do during the trip. Here are simple packing tips for you to consider.

  • Write down anything you need for a trip so that you won’t forget what’s essential and won’t take what’s inessential.
  • Save extra space by rolling your clothes instead of folding them for tighter packing. It’s ideal for hand luggage and small items, as when you open your suitcase, you can see all your clothes. And your items are less likely to crease when rolling.
  • Any weight that you add to your car including the bodyweight of riders and your items impacts the quality of your ride. The heavier the car, the more gas your car may require to compensate for carrying the weight. Whenever possible, avoid keeping non-vital and heavy items in your car because 100 pounds will reduce miles per gallon by approximately 1%. Thus, you can increase fuel economy by about 2% by cleaning out heavy items.
  • Use packing cubes for being organized and prevent overpacking.
  • Share load if you travel with your friends not to weigh your car.
  • Take three pairs of each item, including underwear, t-shirts, socks, etc. 
  • Take two pairs of pants, one pair of shorts or a skirt (depending on the season), and light clothes that dry quickly and don’t need iron to remove wrinkles.
  • Take dark-colored clothes because they will match with anything and won’t get discolored or dirty easily.
  • Keep what’s essential at your hand’s reach in your vehicle so that you can access them more easily.
  • Take two pairs of shoes and think attentively about where you’re going to walk to make the right decision.
  • Take travel-sized toiletries to save space.
  • Check your emergency kit and add anything that is lacking there.
  • Take your hygiene items with you, including sanitizers, wet wipes, and paper towels.
  • If you have extra space, then you can also take a cooler bag for groceries, food, snacks, and drinks. Or take a plastic bin for any food that you want to carry with you.
couple on road trip near lake

Don’t forget to take measures for your car repair or car maintenance before travelling somewhere far, though. Let’s start with tips for your car maintenance before hitting a new road trip because if your car starts showcasing issues during the trip, you won’t be able to enjoy your trip to the fullest.

  1. Driver’s License and Vehicle Registration

First things first, remember that you must have a license and a car’s registration as a driver, which can show that you have a right to drive the vehicle as a resident of your country. The first thing that law enforcement officers check when they stop your car is your driving license and vehicle registration. If you don’t have a license, you don’t have any right to drive in roadways. Also, you should renew your vehicle registration each year or every few years, depending on where you live. You should also have a copy of your car insurance just in case.

  • Vehicle Owner’s Manual

The instructional booklet that’s a detailed guide of your car’s maintenance and troubleshooting needs to be with you as well. There are many crucial points in the manual, including a maintenance schedule for an oil change, tips on how to change tires, and all the little technical details that you need to know about your vehicle.

  • Spare Tire

You can’t guess what may happen during a long road trip. Thus, having an additional tire to replace the one that has a blowout or becomes suddenly damaged will keep your trip safe.

  • Emergency Kit Check

Make sure to check the emergency kit before hitting the road. See if all the flashlights batteries work and if anything needed for the first aid kit hasn’t expired. Ensure that you have everything you need in your emergency kit, including warm gloves, hat, etc.

  • Car’s Battery Check

Check your car’s battery before the trip. As a good rule of thumb, it’s essential to check a vehicle’s battery at least twice a year. Especially, extreme hot or cold weather can be the reason for your car’s battery to be worn out.

Use a digital voltmeter for testing your car’s battery. If it’s less than 12.45 volts, it’s not fully charged. If it’s more than 14.8 volts, then it’s overcharged. If you get any issues with your car’s battery, then take it to a mechanic to do the work before you hit the road.

  • Belts and Hoses Inspection

Inspecting belts and hoses are essential for ensuring the car is in good condition because a failure of a hose or belt can make the engine overheat, cause power-steering loss, and charging system failure. When a belt breaks or a hose leaks antifreeze, the cooling system becomes unworkable, causing overheating. The latter can cause significant damage to the car and cost much more money than it would if the measures were taken before the issues arose. Overheating can happen, especially during summers.

Thus, checking that belts are properly installed and secure and inspecting that hoses don’t have any leaks is a must for every driver to keep oneself away from further difficulties. With that in mind, keep checking the car owner’s manual to know when you should replace the belts and hoses.

car mechanic checking car
  • Fluid Inspection

Before embarking on a long road trip, check the levels of your car’s fluids, such as engine oil, transmission and power steering fluids, and windshield wiper fluid. Fill them up if the levels are low. Without enough oil, some parts of your vehicle will wear down quickly as the oil works as a lubricator for your engine. Your car will get damaged, getting friction with low or no oil. It’s worth it to top engine oil off before going on a trip.

Ensure to check the transmission fluid, which works as a lubricator for internal parts of your engine and makes the heat disappear. If you notice that it’s low, add fluid and look whether there are leaks or not. For choosing the right fluid, look at the owner’s manual.

Be sure to inspect the coolant fluid as well because coolant prevents corrosion. Thus, it’s essential to check the coolant level before it can cause engine overheating or vehicle and engine damage. Don’t forget to check the windshield washer and power steering fluids as well.

Check your car’s manual for any information that you need, and don’t hesitate to take your car to a technician whenever you see any problem.

Now you know all the essential tips that you should consider before going on a trip. Knowing how to pack and what to pack will help you save space and enjoy your trip to the fullest, preventing you from further problems. Keep these basic tips and have a wonderful and safe trip.

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