Packing for the All-American Road Trip

After a long #pandemic year, lots of people are anxious to get out of the house and #travel. They want to see new sights, visit friends and relatives, and generally shake things up a little bit after spending an extended time in quarantine.

While airline travel has become less daunting now that more than half of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated, rental cars are prohibitively expensive. That makes a #roadtrip in your own car a good option, even with gas at $3 per gallon.

Start with a clean, roadworthy car. If your car has unaddressed mechanical issues you think might affect your trip, you’ll want to get them checked out before you go. At the very least, you’ll want to check all tires and top off the fluids.

Once you’ve vacuumed the car’s interior and cleaned its windows, you can begin to pack. You and any companions will spend a lot of time inside the car during the trip, so bring only what you need and can keep organized.

Pack clothing and other items you won’t need until you reach your destination in the trunk, along with a roadside emergency kit. Inside the car, a cell phone mount, charger(s), and a small cooler for drinks and snacks are essential, says the travel blog A Dangerous Business.

If you start the trip with a fresh car, the main challenge will be to keep it organized for the duration of a trip. If you’re traveling with children, give each a bin, packing cube or over-seat organizer to keep their chosen road trip essentials in.

Good things to pack include sunblock, a blanket, bath towels, paper towels and cleaning wipes, and a refillable water bottle. Passengers might like to add a neck pillow, window shades, and other items that can help them travel in relative comfort.

To manage the trash you produce during the trip, have a garbage receptacle handy, and empty it whenever you stop for gas or a restroom break.

Thrift stores supplied by your generous #donations to ClothingDonations.org often have used items that can be repurposed for your road trip. Check them out before you go as a good source of inexpensive travel accessories.

Then, be on your way. Have a #safe and #orgnaized trip!

Planning Summer Travel in 2021

Not so long ago in 2019, the unofficial beginning of summer was the beginning of summer travel season. COVID-19 put a stop to that last year, but now that the United States is (mostly) vaccinated against the deadly disease, pent-up demand is fueling summer trips large and small.

Air travel is at almost 90% of prepandemic numbers, and with more countries overseas easing lockdowns, international travel is starting to creep upward. But as you plan your summer trips, don’t expect the fine-tuned machine that served travelers in ’19.

For one thing, you may not be able to rent a car — or afford one in your chosen vacation spot. Auto rental companies slashed fleet inventories during the pandemic to stay solvent, the Washington Post says, and may not replenish them until next year at the earliest.

Business travel is expected to rebound late, leaving the leisure traveler with plenty of options in hotels and accommodations. Rooms may be somewhat more expensive in popular locations, USA Today says, but change and cancellation fees have largely disappeared during the panemic.

For travelers who are still wary of crowded indoor environments, the great outdoors beckons. Roadtrippers.com suggests booking campsites now to avoid disappointment as pretty much everyone tries to get safely back to a new normal, travel-wise.

The road trip is still perhaps the best option for summer travel in 2021. Pack the car and take off to visit the friends and family you couldn’t last year; gas prices are up due to the Colonial Pipeline hack and other supply issues, but it remains a great way to see the sights.

Roadtripper’s planning tools allow you to build an itinerary that will suit your budget and checklist, whether your ideal trip is city or country, active or 100% R&R. The Organizing Blog can offer advice on keeping your vehicle #neat, #clean and #organized during long stretches on the road.

If you pick up any #tchotchkes or #souvenirs on your summer trips, make sure they are things that you want to use every day; otherwise, they will quickly turn into #clutter. If you are already overburdened with #stuff, take only pictures to remember your travels.

As you pack, set aside any stuff you don’t use and contact ClothingDonations.org to schedule a free, contactless #donation #pickup. It will clear your head before you take off on a leisurely weekend or bucket-list trip — and make your home a welcoming place to come back to.

Pack Sensibly for Your Summer Vacation

Summer is the best time of the year to take a long, relaxing trip to see old friends, explore new sights and go to the beach. To make your leisure time even more carefree, remember that a little bit of #organizing can play a substantial role in your relaxation while on vacation.

In other words, it pays to pack sensibly and as light as possible. You probably don’t need all of that #stuff on your trip anyway, and if you forget something, chances are that you’ll be able to buy whatever it is just as easily once you get to your destination.

If you take a plane, most major airlines now charge substantial baggage fees and/or offer special no-frills fares that permit only a small carryon. Depending on the destination, you can often save hundreds of dollars by reducing the amount of stuff you take along.

To keep within airline baggage limits, decide what you’ll need to bring before getting the suitcase out, says Land of the Traveler. Make a list of the essentials — socks, underwear, deodorant, etc. — and set them aside.

Be practical about the clothing you bring. Choose versatile garments that mix and match easily to create new outfits. Stick to a simple color palette and choose items that can be dressed up or down with accessories. Then, lay out what you’ve picked and eliminate half of it.

If you’re aren’t flying, you’ll have more room available and likely more to pack, too. Successful summer road trips have special accoutrements such as coolers full of refreshing beverages, extra chargers, sunscreen, sporting goods and beach gear.

But even on a road trip, packing clothing that does double-duty can pay off, says What to Pack. When the sun goes down or the A/C is full-blast, you’ll need a blanket or hoodie. “In addition, especially for long-haul drives, pillows are crucial,” the blog says.

Whatever mode of travel you choose for your summer vacation, stick to the essentials. There will be less to keep track of, misplace or lose, and as a result, more time to enjoy your leisure time with complete peace of mind.

#Clutter doesn’t only exist in the home; it can follow you wherever you go, complicating the good times with excess stuff. This summer, pack only what you need — and take advantage of all of the freedom that your vacation affords.

Make the Most of the Rest of Your Summer

Symbolically, at least, July 4th marks the middle of summer. If your local schools let out before Memorial Day, that’s pretty accurate — you’ve already spent about six weeks of the season, and there are probably about six more to go before school starts again.

Even if your schedule is no longer dictated by a school calendar, you may feel like the clock is ticking on your summer fun. The warm weather is likely to stick around until September and October even in the Northern climes, but the pressure is on.

The answer? Get organized and make the most of what’s left of your summer!

Grab a calendar — a paper one, if possible. Is there a trip you’ve been meaning to take? Book your airline tickets or get the oil changed ahead of that road trip. Are there friends you’ve been meaning to invite over for a cookout? Text them or send an electronic invite, and pencil them in.

On a tight budget? And Then We Saved offers 23 ways to make the most of your summer, including finding a swimming hole, going camping or volunteering. Tackling your to-do list and joining a team are other suggestions, alongside just kicking back in a hammock.

If you want to improve your home while it’s nice enough to keep the windows open, consider taking a summer day to do a good decluttering. There’s no time like the present to sell, donate or trash the extra stuff that’s been spilling out of your closets since last summer.

Lifehack suggests a range of thrifty summer activities such as being a tourist in your own hometown and going for a nature walk. And while you’re at it, the site says, take lots of pictures so you can create fond memories of summer 2018.

It isn’t your imagination: The clock is ticking — just as it always is. But summer has that added connotation of “fun in the sun” and “vacation” that makes you want to pack all of the fun activities you can into a few short months.

Make a list of the summery things you want to do, and start checking them off, one by one. Don’t waste another minute if you want to make the second half of your summer even more magical than the first!

Make Your Summer Road Trip Clutter-Free

If you’re like most people, the open road is calling you. Summer is the time to take a road trip, and whether that trip is long or short, to locales familiar or exotic, and with family or friends, your vehicle is likely to attract the clutter and detritus that comes with travel. To avoid it having that lived-in look by the time you return, plan ahead.

First, start with a clean slate. In addition to performing operational maintenance such as checking fluid levels and tire pressure, remove anything you won’t need for the trip from the car. Keep your vehicle registration and proof of insurance handy inside the car, as well as chargers, toll change, tissues or baby wipes, and other necessities.

Now, clean and vacuum the car’s interior thoroughly. Once the car is spotless, get ready for your trip by installing a temporary trash receptacle; a plastic grocery bag is the most likely choice. Hang it from a headrest or put a passenger in charge of collecting cans, wrappers and other items, and empty and or replace the bag at every stop.

Carryalls are a great idea if you’re on a long trip, especially with kids in the car. A bin, basket or hanging organizer can contain backseat essentials such as books, games and sunblock. Professional organizer Bridgette Rappe advises that floorboards are for feet only; things can get lost under seats and broken underfoot easily.

For a family road trip, careful packing is essential, Huffpost says. Encourage kids to pack their own bags to help them “take ownership” of a specific space in the car. Bring a duffel or laundry bag to collect all the dirties. And keep a bin of emergency equipment such as a flashlight and valuables well-hidden in the trunk.

To eat healthy on the road, you’ll need a cooler. Organization also pays inside that small space. Use reusable freezer packs or pre-frozen bottles of water to keep other items cool without taking up extra room, and plastic storage containers to keep foods dry. Arrange items so items can be grabbed quickly without disruption.

The longer the trip, the more lived-in your car may become. But with planning and organization, you can keep the clutter at bay, along with the stress it can bring. And that will make your road trip — and the memories you make while on it — that much better!