I am excited to work with Kelley Blue Book to bring you these great tips. Kelley Blue Book is sponsoring the giveaway kit as a part of the promotion, and I also received a kit as part of the promotion.
Dominic and I joke that I married him for his car packing skills and he married me for my suitcase packing skills. Seriously, my hubs can pack a car for a family adventure like no other! He preps and plans and executes like a master. And I’m all about the front end … laundry, lists, snacks. You name it, I’ve got it organized and ready to go. We’re the dream team!
Over the years we’ve taken 3 different family cars on road trips, only one of which made it on Kelley Blue Book’s Best Family Cars, but no matter the car, Dominic has expertly fit everything I deemed necessary for our travels every time. And that’s a lot. Because I win zero awards for light packing.
Kelley Blue Book hosted a fun little packing showdown this summer and Dominic and I jumped on board. Mom vs. Dad. Expert suitcase packer vs. expert car packer. For this friendly competition we had to find out who could pack the car the best. Best being quickest and most efficient. No need to place bets on who won the challenge. That Dad Dominic, of course! He can Tetris a car in a matter of minutes. Truly, while I was still assessing if all the bags were present, Dom was ready to close the trunk.
Here are his top tips for efficiently packing a family vehicle …
Categorize Your Bags
Before anything goes in the car, Dominic says that you need all bags and extras present. Yes, even the kite for the beach and the baby’s stroller. Getting a grasp on what all needs to fit helps the process a lot!
Build From the Bottom Up
Firm, rectangle bags make a great base. But don’t think they always need to lay down. Sometimes lining them up vertically makes more sense. Build from the bottom up and utilize the space where your kids feet dangle. They don’t need the floor space like adult do.
Know What’s Fragile
Dominic hasn’t broken a thing while packing the car. He’s kept my camera safe, my laptop, and even a carton of eggs when we packed food along. During the initial bag set up he always has me highlight what needs extra care. Thanks, Babe!
Disassemble What You Can
I never would have thought that taking the wheels off our stroller would make it possible to fit it in the car better. I was ready to scrap it and just stick with my baby carrier on a recent trip, but Dom said no, he could make it fit. And he did! By simply removing the rear wheels (an easy pop on pop off feature) it slid perfectly behind Reid’s rear facing car seat. What I thought was dead space, was valuable space! If you can break something large and bulky down, do it!
Keep It Tight
When Dom is done packing, nothing wiggles. He wedges it all nice and tight so nothing shifts around while we drive. Not only do we save space, our items stay safe.
To help you prep for your upcoming car adventures, Kelley Blue Book has a fun and practical giveaway package for one lucky That Mama Gretchen reader. The winner will get a set of carry-on luggage, bluetooth speaker, $25 Visa gift card, and more! Enter below …
Dawn Monroe says
Years ago my husband and I took 7 kids, ours and nephews, on a road trip from Columbus Ohio to Hilton Head. We were packed up tight, uncomfortable and riding low but everyone agrees now that it was our best vacation. My tip is have everyone help and don’t rush.
We have a minivan and we always pack the heaviest things first. We make lists and stick to them. Road trips are fun with snacks!
Julie Wood says
We take an SUV when we go on a road trip, and we only pack one big suitcase for each person and a carry on and we have to be responsible for our own things. I make sure to have plenty of snacks and games to make our road trip fun!
Kelly D says
We have an SUV. There isn’t a lot of room so we always pack suitcases on the bottom and the cooler with drinks or anything we might need to grab on the top. I like my car because it is roomy for the 4 of us and it has 4wd. We stop at the sites along the way to make road trips fun.
Steve Weber says
We have a CR-V – the best packing tip is put everything in bins so you can stack and save room.
Jessica To says
I have a Highlander which has plenty of packing room for my family. I try to put the big stuff in first and make sure the snack bag is accessible to my son!
We drive Volvo SUV. We pick this car because of its safety ratings. It’s comfortable and great for a road trip. My packing tip is to have a list of things we are going to pack and stick to it
My best packing tip is to always make a list and check things off first as you pack with 1 color and then another color once it is placed in the car.
We just bought a small hybrid SUV. My best packing tip is to pack items and clothes that you will use right away at the top of your luggage.
Cheryl B says
I have a Suv, I have a bag that remains in my car that has wipes, sunblock, first aid kit etc. Makes packing for our trips quicker.
Sara Floyd says
I just have a small hyundai but its perfect for my daughter and I. It gets great gas mileage! We use all available space
We have a VW golf, and always pack games and snacks for road trips. We use a checklist for to make sure we have all essentials, such as emergency kit.
carol clark says
we have games and we play i spy to pass the time and packing can be hard but we try to do our best buy double checking our list
josh dillard says
haha not commenting for the win, bookmarking this for when i pack for our first vaca with my mini me in 2 weeks
kelly tupick says
I have a 2007 Jeep Compass and i love it. It has plenty of room for us and plenty of space in the back for storage. I try not to over pack when going on a trip and to pack only the essentials first and then a few things that i want to take as extras.
Janet W. says
I drive a mid-size SUV. My tip and how I always pack, is put the heaviest items on the bottom so the lightweight items don’t get smashed. I also keep snacks/drinks within reach so I don’t have to pull over.
Lee mckeon says
We have a mid size Suv and always take snacks and beverages! But I am a great stopper and I want to stop and look at everything and we do I always say I may never be back so stop NOW!
My husband is insane about car packing.
Krystal Finhert says
Awesome read for a new mom
Jillian Too says
We have a minivan that can fit anything. We always make sure the stuff we need while driving isn’t buried in the trunk. Snacks are key, especially snacks like grapes that help you stay hydrated.
Dana Rodriguez says
I like to pack snacks and drinks so we don’t have to make as many stops.
Toyota Sienna for the win! Good thing my husband can pack it so well… :)
Robert Shook says
We have a Mid sized SUV. We always try to pack light and put all the item that we have to get to on top.
We drive a Kia Sedona van, and I love it! I love all the room and when we need extra room, I will remove a seat and leave it at home. Gives us lots more room! Packing tips…I have to admit, I am not very good at packing! I need to learn to pack lighter! We always bring a cooler with drinks and snacks, so if the kids get hungry, we do not have to stop except for meals!
Allison Swain says
I always pack the essentials, water, snacks, blankets, paper towels,, first aid kit, flashlights, etc. I try to always be prepared!
Thanks for the chance to win
Sarah Hayes says
I like to pack as much as I can the night before. that helps me not have so much on my mind before we leave. we have a van and its so nice to have plenty of room for all of our luggage.
Tracie Cooper says
We drive a Sonata and I love to use plastic bins and large ziplocs to keep all our stuff organized!
Sarah Mayer says
We have a Honda CR-V – My boyfriend and I are excellent packers.. we can get it all in!
Ellen casper says
I drive a Subaru crosstrek – we always use soft bags as they fit better. and if all else fails we have a cargo rack that we can put on for more stuff.
Jennifer Marie says
I try to make sure to pack our bags neatly and so that I can see out of the rear easily. I have learned to try not to over pack so that we are not hauling more than we don’t need. We do better when we take small stops to stretch.
faye reb says
Awesome! kudos to your husband. I still my husband needs these tips lol