Guest Blogger #412, Entry #1020, March 16, 2012
Road trips can be a lot of fun. Although hours spent in the car can definitely lead to some meltdowns where the kids are concerned, proper planning for breaks and activities will ensure that everyone has a fun and memorable trip – that is, once you hit the road. The problem for most families seeking to spend their spring break away from home is the preparation required to make it happen. And a pile of luggage too massive to fit in your car (and still allow for the accommodation of passengers) can throw a serious wrench in the works. So when it comes time to pack for your trip and get all your gear into the car, here are a few tips that will help you get everything arranged efficiently with space to spare.
Image via: Bippity Boppity Boo.Tumblr
Planning space in the car
The first thing to consider is how much space to devote to people. Small kids may be perfectly content to rest their little legs atop a cooler situated behind the driver’s seat and anyone bringing their own pillow or blanket from home will likely want it with them for cat naps during the drive. So in some cases you may be able to compromise on personal space. But for bigger kids and adults, leg room is important, so you shouldn’t plan to store gear under the longer legs in the family. Additionally, the rear window cannot be blocked (by law), so don’t think you can just pile stuff up in the rear cargo area or stack it behind the headrests.
That said, it’s time to determine how much space you have left, and if your family is large it may not be adequate. Of course there are steps you can take to minimize. You can limit each family member to one bag (of a certain size) and you’ll definitely want to help the kids pack to ensure that they have everything they need (like proper protective clothing instead of a bag full of video games). But between bags, coats, food, and more you may quickly run out of space, no matter how many times you try to Tetris your trunk or cargo area. And if you’ve been on family road trips before you are probably well aware of your vehicle’s limitations in this respect. Still, you have a couple of options to make the process easier.
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Consider storage options
For example, you can buy a cargo roof rack to strap on your car as a way to create more usable space. If you travel frequently this is a great investment and you can find fairly inexpensive options if you’re not dead set on a hard-shell cargo pod. Or you could consider renting a larger vehicle for the week (or even trading in your car on a roomier upgrade if your family has outgrown your current set of wheels). It’s not like you’re shelling out major money for a chauffeured limo or car hire Malaga to Madrid. If you simply cannot get by without extra space (say you have to pack camping gear along with everyone’s personal baggage) then it may be worth it to spend a little extra for a short- or long-term solution to your car-packing woes.
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