I am excited to work with Kelley Blue Book to bring you these great packing tips. Kelley Blue Book is sponsoring the giveaway kit as a part of the promotion, and I also received a kit as part of the promotion.
We are a road tripping family. You kind of have to be good at road trips when you’ve got 5 kids. Vacation time means road trips and we LOVE it.
Packing for a family of seven (or a family of six now, since my oldest daughter is married and living all the way across the country) is a game of Tetris. We travel with a lot of stuff. Granted, now that the kids are older, we don’t have to travel with the pack ‘n play or the stroller, but packing with and for teens presents other challenges.
The last two summers have consisted of road trips of epic proportion. Two years ago, we loaded up our minivan with all of the things our oldest daughter needed for school and drove her across the country to move in to her first college dorm. Oh, and did I mention that we ALSO had to pack along camping equipment and clothes for the other 6 of us? Sometimes I felt like our van was a clown car, fitting way more inside than humanly possible.
Last year, we repeated the road trip, minus the college supplies, and I realized one thing: we are good at packing a car for long road trips.
We used to call my oldest daughter the Tetris queen. She has a way with arranging things and finding the best way to fit as much stuff in a small space as possible. She used to do that with the fridge. I’d come home with a full van-load of groceries and have to fit everything in our already-stuffed-full refrigerator. She’d work her magic and we’d be able to fit everything in and more.
My husband is the King of car Tetris, though. We’ve had others in the family try, but he’s the one that can take on the challenge every time. We’ve got our routine…everyone packs their stuff for the trip, takes them outside and sets them next to the car, and he arranges and rearranges until everything fits.
Kelley Blue Book challenged us to take on the great task of getting our car ready for a summer road trip, and though our oldest could have given Dad a run for his money on this game of road trip Tetris, the rest of us are doomed to be at his mercy.
Kelley Blue Book knows the struggle families like mine go through when packing up a car for a road trip, and actually vets hundreds of vehicles to create its official “Best Family Cars for 2016” list. They include everything from testing child safety seats to checking the availability of Apple CarPlay and even conducting a real-world test with real-world families.
Road Trip Car-Packing Tips
Here are 3 car-packing tips from the experts at Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com
Put heavier items on the bottom of the cargo area and toward the front, and avoid loading SUVs beyond the height of the rear seat backs. Keeping heavier items up closer to the center of the vehicle can help preserve handling integrity in emergency avoidance situations, while imposing a height limit on your stack of stuff will help maintain rearward vision and prevent objects from becoming projectiles in a collision. If you wouldn’t want somebody throwing it at your head, don’t keep it unsecured and at head level in your car.
Consider large trash bags for smaller loose items and soft items like blankets and pillows. It’ll be easier to transport these items to and from the car, and their flexibility makes them more space efficient than a large box, for instance.
There’s often plenty of action in the time between packing the car and fully unpacking it at your destination, and planning ahead can save plenty of headache. Obviously you’ll want to keep plenty of food and drink within reach, along with napkins, a trash bag and medicine, perhaps. And any modern family road trip is sure to benefit from a full complement of electronics and related accessories, like power cords and headphones. But if your journey will include a side trip that will take you away from the car, remember to pack any valuables within easy reach so that you can take them with you on your detour. Alternately, pack those valuables deep within your stack. If you plan to arrive at noon and check-in isn’t until 4pm, keep the swimsuits and sunscreen easily accessible so you don’t have to unpack and re-pack the whole car in the middle of the hotel parking lot.
Here are a few tips we would add…(thanks to my husband’s brilliance at getting the car ready for a road trip)
In-Car “Survival” Pack
Long hours in the car can be tough when kids (and parents) get bored. We each – even mom and dad – pack an in-car entertainment and snack bag (usually a small backpack) with books, paper and pencil, favorite snacks, and a blanket and pillow.
Pack Bags Ahead of Time
We find it very helpful to pack suitcases and duffel bags and other supplies the day before so that we can pack the car well ahead of time. I love starting our trip with an already-packed car.
Keep the Seating Area as Clear as Possible
I would rather have a packed-to-the-brim cargo area and leave the space around our feet clear. It makes the car atmosphere much more relaxed for us. Each person has their in-car bag and a pillow and/or blanket. Kids seem to be much more patient and willing to endure the long car ride when they have a little space to move their elbows and their feet.
Keep Bags Small
Small duffel bags and backpacks are much easier to fit in the car versus large suitcases. It’s a whole lot easier to play car Tetris with small, soft bags instead of big, stiff bags. It’s also easier for us to let each family member pack his or her own bag instead of packing large bags for the whole family together.
Connect with Kelley Blue Book:
Enter to Win a Kelley Blue Book Giveaway Prize ($120 Value)
One winner will win the following prize pack, worth $120!
1. One Carry-On Luggage Set
2. Kelley Blue Book Swag (sticky note book, tumbler and Bluetooth speaker)
3. $25 Visa Gift Card
This giveaway will end on August 31 at 11:59 pm ET and a winner will be chosen at random and notified via email. Please note that a new winner will need to be chosen should the first winner not respond after 48 hours.
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