As motorhome travelers and enthusiasts, we know how tricky it can be to pack before taking off on a big summer road trip. Really, packing comes down to efficiency, knowing what you need versus what you think you need. Here are some things to consider.
Pack Clothes Efficiently
Just bring the essentials. Seal up any extra clothes you bring by rolling them tightly, sealing them in a vacuum bag and storing them away in the under-the-bed or overhead drawers. Sealing excess clothing will shrink the space consumed by as much as 80 percent. Most vacuum bags are reusable and come with a hand pump so resealing is easy. Check out this list of 2018's best vacuum-sealable bags and boxes. Another compact (and thrifty) packing option is to use Ziploc bags. You'd be surprised what you can fit into a few of them.
What Food to Bring
One of the best things about RV Life is the opportunity to cook your own meals every day either on the stove or with a portable grill. This greatly reduces the cost of the trip as well - you don't have to eat at restaurants unless you want to. Loading up on the right types and quantities of foods can be tricky for the first timer, but we have no doubt you'll soon acquire your own regimen.
We've been keeping tabs on some healthy (easy-to-pack) road trip snacks and also have a few tips that might help. First off, the freezer is your friend. Freezing meat and other perishable foods is a great way to pull together a home-cooked meal for dinner. Just set it out in the morning, and by the evening, you're ready to go. As for on-the-go snacks, boil eggs to keep on hand in the fridge. Transfer a jar of almonds into a large baggie for a fast fix, or make jerky before takeoff. For a less hearty snack, we love string cheese, veggie or fruit chips, clementine oranges, guacamole and hummus dippers with tortilla chips, and granola. And with the craze of healthy milk alternatives, there's a wide variety of “milks" you can keep in your cupboard that don't require refrigeration and store easily. They also make single serve portions. Take a look at brands like Silk, So Delicious, Califia and Cashew Dream.
Where to Store Food
Choose easily stackable square or rectangular containers to avoid wasted fridge space. Once the snack contents of bulky boxes start to dwindle, they're left half-empty, taking up twice the space they're worth. Keep a variety of plastic baggies on hand, and replace boxes with a labeled bag to get more real estate out of the pantry.
Most of what we've talked about so far are items you could stop and pick up along the way. But what happens when you're in "Nowheresville" and suddenly there's no service for your GPS? There are some road trip items you should always have on hand, just in case.
1. Road Atlas or Map - An up-to-date map will be your saving grace if your trusty GPS goes out on the road. This spiral-bound Rand McNally Large Scale Road Atlas has large print and great reviews on Amazon.
2. First Aid Kit - It's always smart to have a small first aid kit in your glove compartment. You'll have the essentials like ibuprofen, bandages, alcohol swabs and antiseptic.
3. Toilet Paper & Paper Towels - There's nothing worse than needing these two items and not having them. To conserve space, keep compact back-up toilet paper stowed away (we like this Toilet Tissue To Go), and a stash of wet wipes to replace paper towels if there is an untimely spill.
4. Garbage Bags - Make sure you're stocked up with a roll of garbage bags. Having a hanging plastic bag storage container can be a useful backup plan as well. Just stuff extra grocery bags in and hang on the back of any door handle. Poof! You've got mini garbage bags tucked away without taking up too much space.
5. Reusable Water Bottle - Not only will this cut down on garbage/recycling that you have to carry around inside the coach, you'll also help save the planet.
6. Extra Cash - Call us crazy, but things happen. You could leave your wallet or purse at a gas station. In such an unfortunate situation, having some cash hidden away somewhere in the motorhome will be a life saver.
Preparation is key to a long road trip. No matter the destination, efficiency will be your best friend. But once you've packed up a time or two, you'll create your own checklist of “must haves" and “don't needs." Until then, use these tips to help guide you on your path towards becoming a veteran road warrior.