Welcome to the first post in the Createyou86 November Blog Series Domestic Tourists. This series will be all about our Cross Country trip from California to Pennsylvania, and how we planned, and organized it on a $2,000 budget with two animals, and had money left over! I have done my fair share of traveling, and so has James (The other half of Createyou86), but i have never been on such a long driving trip by myself (James doesn't drive). I drive a Hyundai Elantra which by no stretch of the imagination is a large car. In fact, although it is four doors you wouldn't think that it would be ideal for two adults, and two animals (small dog, and cat), but we managed, and this is how. You will actually be reading this on our first day of travel (Nov. 2nd). You can check out this blog series each Monday, and Thursday in the month of November We will be sure to add lots of awesome travel photos to the last post in this series so be sure to look out for that post later in the month.
You might be thinking to yourself. "How hard can organizing a car for a trip be?" I can tell you from personal experience, and now my second time packing my car for a cross country trip (the first time my car was shipped across country) that when you start packing your life into your car it can become overwhelming, and disorganized. Here are a few things that helped me in organizing my car in the past, and for our current cross-country trip.
Clean Out Your Car
You might be saying "But my car is the cleanest of anyone i know!" I believe you, but when was the last time you REALLY gave it a good cleaning out? Are there boxes, bags, candy wrappers, clothes, fast food wrappers, notebooks, books or anything else strewn around your car? You might be amazed at how much you can actually remove that isn't needed anymore to make room for the important things you are packing for your trip.
When i packed my car the first time tupperware became my best friend. When you have your car shipped by a carrier you have no idea how long it might take the driver, and what the vehicle might go through weather wise. In my case the car went from Pennsylvania, to Idaho, and took just about three weeks. That is two weeks longer than i was expecting (needless to say i was pretty upset). Those carriers get paid by weight. Not only the weight of your car, but the weight of what is inside your car as well. I was told there couldn't be more than 150 pounds inside the car. I didn't really listen to that because i had an entire life to pack into the car. ITEMS SHIFT (if you have ever flown you have heard that items in the overhead bins may shift in transit) this is also true in cars! Tupperware (preferably the kind that have handles that close the tops) were the best in my case. I started with 7 large, or long tupperwares. Tupperware are the safest way to make sure that your clothing, or any other valuables don't go flying if you hit a pothole or other roadway conditions. You can also pack A LOT into tupperware if you fold correctly, or roll your clothes. You can buy really decent tupperware with side closing handles at Target for $10.00 or less. That is where i bought mine.
Large Plastic Bags
I might be starting to sound a little bit OCD (Obsessive Compulsive), but plastic ziplock bags of the large, and gallon size can be a huge help. Not only are plastic bags necessary for toiletries when flying, but they can be a huge help when packing a car as well. I pack all of my shampoo, and body wash type products in plastic bags. Have you ever driven or flown (before 9/11), and had one of these products burst open while traveling? Another personal experience....it sucks. Everything in your bag, and i do mean everything can get ruined. I also pack electronic wires, cords, and devices in plastic bags, just to be able to keep everything together in one place.
Every car should have one of these. I created my own out of a ziplock bag that i can just throw in the backseat, glove compartment, or trunk. For emergency purposes i keep Q-Tips, Band Aids, baby wipes, and other small items in this kit. (i will cover this in greater detail in a future blog post in this series).
Know Your Space
This may be a silly reference, but packing a car with large, and small tupperware is a little bit like playing Tetris. If you don't know the space you are working with it can be hard to purchase appropriate tupperware, and can make packing very stressful. Because i had a pretty good idea of the height, and depth of the vehicle i was able to purchase the right size tupperware, and place them in the right areas of the car to make the best use of the available space. For this trip i have paired down from 7 tuperware to 4 tupperware This will make a major difference in how the car drives, and gas mileage. Below are a few before, and after photos of how we packed the car.
As you can see from the photos above, we really made the most of the space that we had available. The animals will have a blanket on top of the long box in the back seat. Which is nice because it is flat, and they will be comfortable enough to sleep (hopefully most of each day) BONUS HINT....If you plan on packing goodies or food for the trip that you think the little ones might want to eat ahead of time, or even yourself put them in the trunk of the car (after all......who really wants to have to go all the way out to the car to get a snack? Most kids also won't think to look in the trunk of their parents car). A cross-country trip is a huge adventure, and one that most people have on their bucket lists. We hope you have enjoyed this post, and we look forward to sharing even more tips from our trip with all of you.
What item (s) do you find hardest to pack for a trip? Let us know in the comments below!