A place for everything and everything in it’s place is an organizing rule that is particularly useful to follow when you are taking a road trip. Plus, it’s easier, since your car is a small confined space. The more difficult parts of the road trip travel style – losing things, other peoples messes, transitions to/from the car, even some break downs – can be eliminated or avoided by being better organized. If your summer plans include a driving adventure, here are 6 tips to make sure your travel experience is smooth and clutter-free:
1. Car Health – The American Automobile Association (AAA) says that most breakdowns can be prevented by servicing your car before the journey. A week or more before your trip, have a mechanic check the oil, tire pressure, battery, brakes, and engine.
Be sure to pack an emergency car kit that includes distilled water, a battery charger, a first-aid kit, jumper cables and flares/reflectors. You will also want to be sure you have a spare tire and consider investing in a spare-tire kit (jack, lug wrench) if your car is not equipped with one.
2. Pack it Easy – Packing light always makes things easier. When you go to pack the car, first load in the non-essential items that you won’t need until your destination. Pack the items you need for the trip; purse, camera, food and such last for accessibility. For multi-stop road trips, consider having a light overnight bag separately, with essentials like toiletries, tech cordage and pajamas. Keep your bulky luggage in the car and just pull out your next day clothing.
3. Gear Up – Straight away, designate a space or two for a small trash bag. You are going to have trash clutter if there’s no place to put the trash! Keep the location in the center of the car, so that it is accessible yet as out of the way as possible. Trash goes there – not on the floor, in the arm rest, etc.
Other road trip essentials:
- Extra $1’s, $5’s and lots of quarters for easily paying tolls and parking meters.
- Wet wipes and / or hand-sanitizer
- One roll of paper towels and small trash bags
4. Nourishment – Make sure every passenger has H2O to stay hydrated. The ideal way is simply for every passenger to carry a reusable glass or stainless-steel water bottle that is refilled along the trip, which takes up less space and is eco-friendly. Pack a cooler or bin of healthy snacks that won’t make a mess and provide protein and fiber to keep everyone’s blood-sugar and digestions stabilized. Carrots, apples, grapes, boiled eggs and nuts all work well. Non-packaged foods are not only healthier; they also result in less clutter!
5. Take Breaks – It’s best on long car drives to take rest tops every 3 hours or so, especially if you have kids along. They need to release pent-up energy with physical activity. Stop for a meal, an attraction or just a rest stop to stretch and move. Of course, it’s ideal to have multiple well-rested drivers who take turns. Keeping everyone’s energy level in balances staves off a great deal of emotional clutter.
6. Max the Local – Be where you are, to release life clutter. This is a Buddhist clutter tip! If you consider travel as a way to get away and experience something new, then take on this challenge, which will ensure you get out of your life box for a while. Find local experiences as you travel. Use apps and web searches to find them, in lieu of loading up on too many travel books. “Farmers’ markets are gold mines for picking up prepared regional specialties”, according to road trip expert Tamela Rich Check out ams.usda.gov for market schedules. Road food.com lists hundreds of authentic locally owned restaurants and roadtrippers.com is an app that will GPS you (is GPS a verb? 😉 to a detour-worthy pit stop including photo ops, attractions or cultural points of interest.
BONUS – Some must have road trip apps, per the April 2017 issue of Travel + Leisure magazine, which inspired this article and many of my own travel adventures:
- Gasbuddy.com. – tracks fuel prices at gas stations throughout the US and Canada
- Ionroad.com – your phone becomes a dash cam, to ensure you drive safely
- Tomtom.com – multicolor 3-D’s your driving route and helps to avoid speeding tickets
- Waze.com – traffic-tracking navigation app is a must for avoiding traffic gridlocks
- HighwayHero – an app that tracks your driving habits and provides road skills tips
Got any more you’d like to share?
Happy road tripping!