Packing The Car For Road Trips

The Car For Road Trips
Classic American car on the road.

The summer is here and that means that road trips are high on the list of priorities. Whether you are going to visit the family or taking a short break in the English countryside, there is always the dilemma of what to pack. You want to pack enough to see you through every possible situation but not overpack with things you won’t need, it’s always tough. Overpacking can cause safety issues and is not recommended. Here’s a list of tips and tricks that will make the trip a little easier and help take the stress out of the preparation stage:

Safety First

Once you have performed the appropriate safety checks on your vehicle, you’ll need to ensure that you are prepared for any problems that may occur while on the road. It’s a good idea to pack a toolkit, clean windscreen washer fluid, a foot pump, and jump leads. Depending on your oil level and the length of your journey, you may wish to pack some oil if you think it will need topping up again. There are various safety issues that you should be aware of when loading the car, it is important to be aware of the capacity limit of your vehicle. This can usually be found in the handbook that came with the vehicle.

Make sure that your tyre pressures match the specified level for the number of passengers/luggage that you are carrying, this will also be found in the handbook.

Visibility is a big issue when packing for a road trip, always be sure to pack in a way that does not affect access to your mirrors or prevents you from seeing the road behind.


When preparing for a long trip, there are a number of things that can make the journey a lot more pleasant. You may wish to think about the music that you wish to take, the radio can sometimes get repetitive, so pack your favourite CDs or make a playlist to take with you. Entertainment is also a big consideration if you are travelling with children, keeping your kids entertained on a long journey can be the difference between a relaxing and fun filled day or your worst nightmare. Portable DVD players can be picked up at a very reasonable price and are great for combating boredom. Alternatively , consider taking any portable devices that you own that can be used to play games. This applies even if you aren’t travelling with children, it gives any passenger something to do to pass the time. Don’t forget to fully charge any mobile devices before setting off, if you have car chargers, be sure to pack these too.

Food and drink are a key consideration on a long trip, it’s important to stop regularly to refresh and give your body the energy it needs. Pack enough food to last you throughout the day, think about your energy levels and include foods that you know will give you a boost when you need it. Hydration is also very important and can have an effect on your concentration, which is something that must be avoided when on the road. Pack at least two litres of fluids per person if you are travelling all day, for shorter journeys, pack enough to keep you going but always stop off to restock if you feel you need to.

The Route

Never forget the route, without it you can end up circling the same roads for hours which is not only frustrating but wastes a lot of fuel and time. Make sure that you print out directions before setting off or input the destination into a SatNav, it’s also a good idea to pack a map just incase the SatNav packs up half way through the journey.

Important Documents

Depending on where you are travelling to, you may need a number of personal documents such as a passport, birth certificate, or driving licence. Always be sure to consider this when you are packing, it is always important to pack your driving licence regardless of where you will be travelling to. This can help avoid any unnecessary hassle if you are involved in any incidents or are chosen for a routine traffic stop.


Always make sure that you have packed enough clothing to last the duration of the trip. It’s also a good idea to consider packing for all possible weather scenarios, at the very least you should pack a waterproof coat and something to keep you warm. The British summer has a funny way of turning into winter without any warning! Don’t get caught out, prepare for this in advance. Shoes are another thing to think about, so pack a couple of pairs in case you ruin them.