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How to Pack Your Car Rental for a Family Vacation

Packing Your CarDo you hate packing your car for a family vacation? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Anyone who’s ever had to pack a car rental for a holiday family trip knows just how frustrating this process can be. Dad insists he has the perfect strategy, while Mom refuses to give up control. Even the kids can be a nuisance, insisting that certain items remain accessible for the duration of the trip. If you’re gearing up to hit the road this holiday season, don’t fall victim to a failed car rental packing plan. Follow these simple rules in order to pack your rental car like a pro.


Tip #1 – Keep Essentials Separate

The most important thing to remember when packing your car rental is to keep “on the way” items easily accessible. Pack what you’ll need (children’s toys, maps, directions, books, portable music players, etc.) on the way to your destination separate from what you’ll need once you get there. This way, you won’t have to waste time packing and unpacking your trunk in order to find important items.


Tip #2 – Share Your Suitcase

Just because you’re traveling with four people in your car rental doesn’t mean you need to have four separate suitcases. Cut down on cargo by sharing a bag with a co-traveler. This will increase the storage space in your car rental, making it easier to fit in awkward items, like holiday gifts.


Tip #3 – Pack Your Trunk Properly

The largest storage area in your rental car is the trunk. Make sure you take full advantage of this area by packing it strategically. We recently published a step-by-step guide outlining trunk packing techniques here – check it out for some priceless advice! If you pack your emergency kit in the trunk, make sure that it ends up on the top, or in a corner that’s easy to access. 


Tip #4 – Plan For Spills

Whether it’s Dad’s coffee cup or little Jimmy’s extra large diet soda, you can almost guarantee that someone is going to spill something during your rental car road trip. Be prepared for these minor catastrophes by packing some spare t-shirts near the top of your car rental trunk, or beneath one of the front seats. A quick change and you’ll be back on your way without having to dig through the trunk in order to find a new outfit.


Tip #5 – Remember: The Last Items in Should Be The First Items Out 

If you’re traveling with small children this holiday season, take some extra time planning and packing their suitcases. Kids tend to get fussy during a long drive, so prepare yourself in advance. Keep handy whatever items they will need to settle down fast at the end of a long trip. If you’re going to be arriving late at night, make sure that a pair of fresh undies and pajamas are stowed in a spot that’s quick and easy to access once you arrive at your destination.


Tip #6 – Keep Snacks Handy

Want to curb whining from the back seat? Tempt them with treats. Sometimes sweets are the only way to save your sanity. If there’s room in your rental car, include a small cooler with bottled water and juice boxes. This way you won’t have to stop at every rest stop along the way.


Tip #7 – Keep a Plastic Container Under the Front Seat

Kids love to collect stuff – coins, paperclips, seashells, pretty leaves – you name it; they want to keep it… forever. Prepare for these packrat tendencies by keeping a plastic container under the front seat of your car rental. This will help keep these mementos safe and sound during your rental car road trip.


How do you prepare for a family road trip? Share your car rental packing tips, tricks, and techniques below!


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