How to Pack Your Rental Car for a Road Trip
It’s one of the busiest times of the year for long car journeys, so take some of the pain out of road trips by planning In advance how you are going to pack. Whether you are going to rent a car or drive your own, there are some rules of thumb that make packing easier:
Capacity will vary according to the size and type of vehicle, but it makes sense to put your heaviest items as far forward and as close to the floor in the cargo area as possible. Your aim is to maintain a low centre of gravity, limit the weight over the wheels and stop the car from becoming top-heavy. Don’t pile stuff up to the ceiling, or the driver will be unable to see out of the rear window. Anything you’ll need during the journey (nappies, coats etc.) should be stored within reach, and don’t forget to use the space under the seats.
Once you’ve loaded up your bags, it’s time to get your people in the right place. Anyone liable to be carsick should be able to see out of the windscreen, and any front-seat passengers should be permitted to do so under seat belt laws. Beyond that, it’s really just a question of who gets along best and who will need help during the journey.
A mobile phone is the top piece of equipment you’ll need, so don’t forget to bring a charger. Be prepared for in-car spills (if there are children present, these may involve bodily fluids) with plastic bags, tissues, and air freshener. Other useful emergency items include a first-aid kit, warning triangle, torch, and jump leads.
Whether through genuine hunger or plain boredom, children are liable to need snacks en route. Pack healthy treats, if possible, to avoid having to stop for junk food. Fruit, trail mix, and crackers are good choices. Preparing a picnic lunch is also a good alternative to seeking out high-priced, unhealthy meals along the road.
Modern technology has been a godsend for today’s road tripper. No more endless sing-songs or games of “I Spy” (unless you really want to). Portable DVD players are a boon for parents everywhere – just don’t forget to bring the DVDs too. Handheld electronic games and books on CD are invaluable for whiling away the hours. If space is an issue, try loading an iPad with movies, games, and books. Just make sure that everyone knows how to share!