How to pack your car for a summer getaway

Recent news reports have told how thousands of Brits plan on holidaying locally this year. As that will likely involve driving by car, we thought we’d put together a simple guide on how to pack your car so that the journey is truly the start of the holiday.

Added: 29 June 2020

Travel light

It can be hard to know what to take on your trip with you, so the tendency is to overpack. Better to be safe than sorry right? Well, that kind of mentality is fine, but it will mean even the most spacious 4x4 is filled to the figurative rafters.

Instead, use your past holiday experiences to guide you. Rather than taking several raincoats, could you instead pack a lightweight cagoule? Rather than filling a suitcase with shoes for the family, could you fill a soft bag with a set of “going out” shoes and some everyday footwear for walking and the beach. A soft bag will relent and conform to small spaces, a suitcase will not. If you’re going somewhere with clothes washing facilities, then perhaps you could ditch the fifteenth pair of trousers and twelfth shirt, opting instead to take a handful of items and launder them while on holiday. Keep in mind past breaks where you’ve likely brought back clothes you didn’t even wear.

Getting rid of weight will improve your MPG and free up precious cabin space. The kids won't have piles of luggage around them, you’ll all feel more relaxed as you set off and it will help the driver have maximum visibility.

Interior clean and fluid check

It makes such a difference to your mindset on a long journey if you’re riding in a freshly cleaned car. Empty out all the door bins, give it a through clean out and you’ll thank yourself. 

While you're at it, you may as well check all your fluids, topping them up as needed, so you’re less likely to suffer a mishap on the way.

Stop, drop and roll (your clothes)

Traditionally, you probably fold up clothes before placing them in your suitcase or overnight bag. But a few years ago, we tried the rolling technique, and it works wonders! Tightly rolling clothes up allow you to fit more in your luggage, as well as enabling you to see what you’ve brought, rather than having to rummage through a suitcase looking for something. For extra space-saving, you can put smaller items inside these rolls. Putting socks into shoes again helps save space. Personally, I can take a single medium-size carry bag for a two-week trip.

Roof rack and box

A roof-mounted box is a great solution to increase your carrying capacity, especially if you anticipate returning with large souvenirs and gifts. They’ll impact your fuel economy somewhat, but the resulting increased storage space is priceless for some. Be aware there is a limit to the weight that can be safely carried on the roof. For a Range Rover, including the roof rails, it is around 100 kilos. 

Get organised

Plan ahead and organise your car. Put some sunglasses where they can be easily retrieved at a moment's notice. Keep a pen, some tissues, small change and hand sanitiser in your glove box. Spare charging cables and earphones will stop aggravating arguments and mean the kids can listen to or play whatever they like on their devices without disturbing you. Just in case, have a paper route map and the particulars of where you’re going written down, should you lose signal. There’s nothing worse than getting lost, needing to phone your AirBnB host and discovering you have no mobile internet signal to find their number online.