The worst thing you can do before embarking on a road trip, is over pack.
Whether you choose to stay in hotels, camp in a tent, or hire a motor home, having too much stuff will just make living and traveling space uncomfortable for everyone. Not to mention the time it takes to find what you need, when you need it, if you have packed way more than required.
There are a few ways to avoid over packing for your trip.
Make a List
Start with all the essentials, and remember to base it on the weather and activities you are likely to experience while on your getaway. Lists are not for everyone, so if this sounds like you, then skip to the step two of the over packing solution. Limit your baggage size. Yes, that’s right. If you can’t fit it in, you can’t take it. Simple. If everything on your list does not fit, time to cull!
Instead of hard suitcases, use large duffel bags — a good size option is a single swag bag. They are much easier to negotiate into a car boot, or you can unpack the contents into your camper van storage compartments, and then stow the empty bags out of the way. This is not possible with hard suitcases, which can be a hassle to co-exist with on your journey.
Most travel documents can be stored digitally nowadays, rental vouchers, booking numbers etc, but there are still a few things to take with you on your road trip. Most importantly, your driver’s license. This may sound silly, but it’s easily done, especially if you don’t take all your usual credit cards, store membership cards, or your everyday wallet or purse, with you on vacation. Also, check the expiry date. If you are picking up a rental car or camper van, you will need a valid and current license.
Just because you have a digital wallet on your phone, will not mean you can leave the physical cards behind. Generally, when providing a credit card imprint or “pre-authorization” for your accommodation check-in or hire vehicle security bond, they will need the physical card to run it through their EFT pos terminal.
No, not Google maps. Which are fantastic by the way, but have limitations, like common sense. We’ve all heard horror stories of people following Google maps blindly into disaster, but worst-case scenarios aside… just getting a little bit lost via Google maps is not great. This can happen for a number of reasons, being that Google maps simply try to find the most direct, or the fastest, route between departure point and destination. However, it can also become a problem for drivers if they lose phone service, and have no idea where they are going. Easily done on vacation, where you don’t know the roads at all.
The solution to this is easy, just bring a hard copy map of the region you are visiting. You can generally pick these up for under twenty dollars, and they take up next to no space. Leave it in the glove compartment of the car or camper, and Murphy’s Law states — if you have the map, you won’t need it. Much better than the reverse situation.
Meet Our Contributing Author — Leila Gear
Leila is a travel professional who has been in the tourism industry for over twenty years. She is passionate about exploring new places and being an ethical traveler. Leila joined the team at Discovery Campervans in 2014, a role that matches perfectly with her love of road trip adventures. Learn more here.