There’s nothing like the excitement before a road trip. You have already packed a lot – but still can’t leave home without a few things. Your vehicle can fit all of your luggage if you figure out the best way to pack it.

Make sure you rent the right vehicle

During the rental car search, some helpful icons will appear beneath each car, showing the number of seats and doors, as well as luggage capacity. Consider a 7-seater car hire or SUV rental if you plan to travel with a large group or extra luggage.

First things first – packing and safety for a road trip

Often, we don’t think packing for a road trip might affect our driving safety. Be aware of overload risks before throwing in that extra pair of shoes. Don’t overload the boot with bags either! You need to be able to see clearly all the time. Furthermore, in the event of a car accident, make sure anything that can fly around is secured down. Serious injuries can be caused by heavy items in particular.

It is best to place the heavy items before the light ones

In order to accommodate smaller items, the biggest and heaviest items should be put first. Due to the difficulty and danger of lifting heavy items, it’s best to keep them lower in the pile. The process is much simpler and safer. You should pack the heaviest stuff closest to the back seats to maintain the car’s center of gravity and to distribute weight evenly. Whenever you add extra strain to your vehicle, you increase fuel consumption.

Maintain a low and secure position

Bags and suitcases should never be packed higher than the back seat. In addition to improving visibility, they can also cause injuries in a collision or if you have to brake hard. If there are no back seat passengers, you can also store luggage in the footwells, but make sure it’s secure. The same applies if you plan to store anything else in the cabin. Ensure it is securely stored in seat pockets or glove boxes, for example.

Packing hacks that save space

If you’re planning the ultimate New Zealand road trip, you might want to consider some packing hacks. You can blast music as you drive along the open highway. It is basically a requirement for any long drive.

In addition to these key tips, here are a few more:

  • Non-fragile luggage should be packed in soft bags. Depending on the space, they can be squished or squashed.
  • Roll or vacuum pack your clothes to save space in your bags.
  • Makeshift rubbish bins can be made from plastic bags hung over a headrest.
  • To keep bags of food or loose ends together, put them in a laundry basket or similar container, then wrap them tightly in a towel. This will prevent them from rolling around, and will make loading and unloading the car easier. 
  • Are you traveling with fluids? It is always a good idea to wrap bottles, containers, etc. extra carefully. 

Considerations to keep in mind

Make sure you consider some practical aspects of your car trip before you get excited and start packing. Your life will be so much easier and you will save a lot of stress by doing this. As you pack, keep these things in mind:

  • Will you have to stop along the route and reach some of the luggage only? It should also be packed in a convenient location. During your car trip, you might need a “go bag” containing essentials. A few items to have are tissues, a jumper, medicine, sanitiser, sun cream, a bottle of water, and some cash.
  • Is there anything you can leave at home and buy on your trip? Along the way, you might be able to pick up food, toiletries, and books. 
  • Keep your luggage to a minimum.

The right car cover for your trip

Before you head out on a long road trip, protect yourself with our Accident Excess Reduction coverage. In the event of an accident you don’t want your road trip to be ruined. 

Photo credit: Marissa Grootes