"Mission Inspiration" - Part 2: Road Trip Packing Time! - South Lake Tahoe finish studio Skip to main content

We are about to set off on MISSION INSPIRATION! Last week we focused on road trip preparation so now it’s time to get packing. By taking the time to create a detailed LIST of everything needed for our trip, including an itinerary, contacts and what we want to accomplish, it’s safe to start gathering things up. No stress in this road trip packing exercise because all we have to do is find the item and check it off the list! Well… it’s almost that easy.

Stress-Free Road Trip Packing

First thing… get that LIST! Actually sitting down and writing out everything you’ll need is the hardest part, I promise. It should be smooth sailing from this point because there isn’t anymore thinking. Now it is all action… shopping, gathering, packing and go!

7 Steps for Efficient Packing

Errands first

Step 1: One shopping trip only.

Don’t waste time going back and forth to stores. The time you took to write out detailed lists of everything you need for the trip will help you accomplish this step. Go over your list and anything you don’t have, mark it for your ONE shopping trip. Once you know everything your missing, plan a day and go get it all in one shot. You can do it!

road trip packing shopping list

Review your list & make one shopping trip.

Step 2: Go to the bank.

I never like to travel with $0 in my wallet. Of course it’s best not to travel with a bunch of cash but a little is good because you’ll end up somewhere that won’t take credit cards. Don’t assume your bank will be in every town you visit or even have an ATM for that matter. We strive to travel to relatively unknown, tiny mountain communities that may or may not have services we need. A little cash will let you leave tips and eat at that adorable old-school CASH ONLY diner without driving around looking for an ATM.

Step 3: Manage your mail.

Don’t forget the mail. You’d be surprised how this gets forgotten by so many people that set out on the open road. Think of how much mail you get a day. If you don’t stop your mail, will your mailbox explode and your letter carrier hate you by the time you get home? That is not a good idea. Go online at USPS.com and put your mail on hold for free. Keep your mailbox empty, which is safer when your gone, and give your letter carrier a break from coming to your house for a bit. It’s a Win-Win for both of you.

Let Packing Commence

Step 4: One pile at a time.

road trip packing clothes piles

Clothes organized by type for fast packing.

We are half-way through our road trip packing process! The time has come to start gathering up all your stuff. Get that list and make some piles. Just as you segregated items on the list, do the same thing with your piles. No need to pack your socks and granola bars together. That doesn’t make any sense! Gather like items together and also consider when and how they will be used. The point is to make different piles of goods that you can then quickly pack up when your ready.

Step 5: Pack for easiest retrieval.

Piles are built and lists are crossed off. It’s time to pack! I never throw stuff in a suitcase. The last thing I want to do is rummage through it, dumping it out on the floor to find what I need. Pack like things or activities together. Roll all shirts & pants and tuck into a zippered bag. Toiletries go in Ziploc bags for no leaking. Shoes are in plastic bags to keep dirt and grime off my clothes. Food goes is in an easy access reusable bag for driving. Snowboard gear is overhead in the roof cargo box. You get the idea…

Step 6: A few snacks will do.

road trip packing trip snacks

Snacks are packed & easily accessible for driving.

Try and bring with you any snacks you’ll want along the way. Road trip packing does have its edible element. Nuts, crackers, jerky, veggie-sticks… whatever you like will be much cheaper to bring from home than to buy in gas stations or grocery stores as you drive. Not too mention wasting time having to stop and get a snack every time you’re hungry. Also, don’t assume if you stop somewhere they’ll have what you want. Odds are you’ll end up eating something bad for you because that’s all there was to pick from. Empty carbs may taste great but they actually make you hungrier so beware!

And don’t forget about beverages. Consider bringing some water with you to fill up your bottle while driving. Don’t ration your drinking or stop to keep buying more bottles. A gallon or two should do the trick.

Step 7: Pack the car, close the house & tell your neighbors ‘Adios’.

The only thing left is to pack the car. Load the car in a logical way so anything you’ll need while traveling is on top of the pile and easily within reach.

Make sure nothing is left in the fridge that won’t be pretty when you get back and take out the trash. There’s nothing worse than rotting food in your house to come home to! Set the heat appropriately, unplug any unnecessary electronics to save energy and make sure everything is locked up. It’s also a good idea to let you neighbors know you’ll be gone so they can keep an eye on things. If they know you aren’t home and cars keep showing up, they’ll know something is suspicious and can let you know.

Let the inspiration begin!

Prep… check! Packed… check! Everything off the list… check! Car ready and house locked… check! Time to hit the road and start gathering inspiration. With our itinerary in hand, breakfast in our stomachs and coffee cups filled, we are off. By the time we get back, my sketch book will be filled with ideas, quotes & drawings while the camera will be loaded up with pictures of wonder. Even the smallest of details captured in a photo can spark a design I never thought of before. Mother Nature truly is my inspiration muse and I welcome all she has to share with me. Stay tuned…

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