How to Fit It All: 5 Easy Car Packing Tips

Summer is the season for hitting the open road and finding adventure around every corner. No matter where your road trip takes you, packing is an essential part of preparing for all the fun ahead.

Packing a vehicle for a road trip is a true art form. Getting everything to fit in a limited, confined space takes ingenuity, creativity and an ungodly amount of patience. Like trying to outwit a Rubik’s Cube, it helps if you know a few tricks before you start the process.

You don’t have to be a professional cargo loader to figure out how to fit it all in when you use these car packing tips.


Clear Out the Clutter

Since buying a bigger vehicle probably isn’t part of the vacation budget, the easiest way to make more space is to clear out the clutter. Go through every nook and cranny from the glove compartment box to the trunk. The more you clear out, the more you can pack in.


Allot a Certain Amount of Space for Each Person

When you have numerous travelers together in one car it can be a logistical nightmare. The best way to head off over-packing problems is to allot each person a certain amount of space. This can be a section of the car or specific number of bags -- ultimately, all that matters is that each person knows their limits.


Pack Soft

In a car, soft bags are your best friend. When you’re packing for a road trip think backpacks and duffle bags, not wheeled suitcases. They’re easier to configured into odd shapes compared to rigid bags and pack in together more tightly.


Expand Storage With an Overhead Carrier

When you run out of space inside the car you may want to start considering exterior options. This is almost a must if you’re taking a trip that involves camping, surfing or ski-related sports. Waterproof overhead carriers provide a lot of extra space for gear so the ride inside is more comfortable. Don’t have a roof rack? Try a car back bag or top bag instead.


Strategically Pack the Trunk

Every trunk is different, but there are a few techniques that work for most. Maximize every cubic square inch of the trunk space by packing everything in with the strategy below in mind.

Car trunk (labeled for reuse)

  • Always check the spare tire and make space for any needed safety equipment first.
  • Next, start with the largest bag, pushing it all the way to the back with the handle facing out.
  • Follow that with one to two of the heaviest medium size bags you have.
  • Fill voids with small items before putting the lighter bags on top of the bags you’ve already packed.
  • If there’s a passthrough to the trunk in the backseat use it to see if there’s free space in the far back corners of the trunk. Fill empty spaces with smaller items or travel items for people in the backseat.

Need to brush up on your driving skills before you hit the road? Want to make sure your teen driver can safely take the wheel during your trip? As America’s fastest-growing driver’s ed company, Aceable can get you up-to-speed with convenient state-approved driving courses delivered via mobile app. Teen drivers can brush up on their skills as you head to your vacation destination!

Krista Doyle