Tips & Tricks #5: HOW TO VACATION BY CAR

Welcome to Tips & Tricks #5



We’ve been on the road for the last month! Yes, that’s right, we left our humble abode and went on a trip to a couple different cities from December 5th until today–January 2nd. I’d like to say that I’ve learned a couple things, so I’m sharing with you the tips and tricks I’ve picked up from this past month of traveling. Some things we kept in mind while traveling (and always in everything) are to stay within a budget, and to be efficient with space, packing, and physical effort.

What to bring when vacationing by car? This depends on the kind of places in which you’ll be staying. We were staying with our friends, relatives, and sometimes, in a home where the residents were absent (when we went to the Poconos and rented a cabin). If you are planning on staying in a hotel, you might not have access to a kitchen like we were fortunate to have. This really helps reduce the amount of money you would spend on food if you are able to cook for yourself.

There are the obvious essentials of what to pack like clothes, toiletries, and etc, but I’d like to list a couple things that you may want to consider for your next trip that you may not have thought of!


  • Extra phone charger cables (at least one to stay in the car, and another to take inside)
  • Spices! We love pepper, garlic powder, salt, soy sauce, and even something fun like curry, cumin or cinnamon
  • Deck of cards or board game (you never know when these will come in handy; it makes for more memorable moments spent with friends and family)
  • Laundry bag/hamper (I unfortunately didn’t pack one and found it really difficult bringing our dirty clothes from our room to the laundry room in each location); our hosts didn’t have extra laundry baskets hanging around for our use
  • Towels (we forgot to bring them since we usually expect them from hotels)
  • Less clothes! I always pack too much clothing…btw, use the rolling method seen here for efficient packing, and also pack your items sideways (like a filing cabinet). I can’t seem to find a picture or video of that and may have to demonstrate that at another time. It makes rifling through your bag easier by being able to see almost everything at the same time!
  • Pack of water bottles (staying hydrated is so important, and especially when you’re on the road or at other people’s homes, you want to be able to reach for some water at any time without inconveniencing others)
  • Appropriate Pajamas (you don’t want to accidentally expose yourself because you normally sleep in a nightie, so pack something you can cover up with even though you don’t have to actually sleep in them)
  • A dress, or something formal (you never know if you’ll be asked to go out to a formal event, so be prepared)
  • Plastic bags to use to put trash, or random items that start collecting in your travels
  • Cash for tolls


  • Too many tops (I didn’t wear half of the tops I packed. I think I only really needed 5 of them)
  • Shampoo, Conditioner and Soap (Every place we went provided these. Unless you’re really picky, leave those sticky things at home)
  • Too many toys for the baby (Everywhere we went, people had things for the baby to play with. We even received several toys as gifts and were hauling about ten different toys around by the middle of the month!)
  • Food (I know you want to eat healthy, but it’s just too difficult in transit. Definitely go buy groceries before settling into your location, but we threw out the sweet potatoes, avocados, and other random food items we thought we might eat while driving.)
  • More than one purse (You may want to match your outfits, but it is not only inconvenient moving things from purse to purse, but you’ll risk losing or forgetting something if you spread your possessions out and around too much)
  • More than two sets of jewelry (The fact that these are usually small and easy to lose, keep life simple with preferable just one set)

An overview of our trip is that we drove over 1,200 miles and stayed in six different places and spent no more than one week at each place. A trick that I learned later on was to pack a combination of my clothes and the baby’s clothes in one bag rather than divide them into two separate bags. We found ourselves (rather, just my husband) hauling too many bags into each location, just to spend two or three nights and use only two or three outfits from each bag. I had to reorganize the way I packed the bags after a couple of times of feeling like we wasted effort unpacking and packing every piece of luggage between the car and the room. So as a suggestion, if you are packing for three people, instead of packing one suitcase for dad, one for mom and one for baby, consider packing a little of each person’s clothes into one suitcase by length of stay. For example, I should have packed suitcase #1 with a week’s worth of clothing for all three of us.

Another tip I learned was to put the dirty clothes in a separate bag or pile. Since we didn’t bring a laundry basket, I had to use a sheet or large bag to carry the clothes to the laundry room, but it was much easier organizing the dirty clothes from the clean clothes by separating them as we wore them. Once they were washed, dried and folded, I put them back into the suitcases.

The hardest thing about traveling this long and moving around so much is eating healthy. I don’t have any wisdom to share regarding eating healthy except that cooking for yourself is the best way to control what you eat. We didn’t feel right telling our hosts that we wouldn’t eat the meals they prepared even though they contained a lot of carbohydrates and sugars. So now that we’re back home, and it’s the beginning of the new year, we’re back on track and hoping to lose the weight we put on by eating Paleo again!

Happy New Year, and God bless you!

Previous Tips & Tricks:


6 thoughts on “Tips & Tricks #5: HOW TO VACATION BY CAR

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