“Just pack your bags and go!” is something you’ll often read, but why the “just”? Packing your bags the right way is an art form; we’re here to help you master it.
After weeks of debating on whether or not to do a road trip, you’ve finally booked. Congrats, you’re officially an Indie! But now reality strikes: “I need to prepare everything! What do I need for a road trip? What should I pack? And how? I cannot take a lot of things… BUT WHAT ABOUT MY SLIPPERS?” – Hey, relax! We’re here for you (and, fortunately, for your comfy slippers too)!
Here, you’ll find the essential tips for packing for an amazing road trip in Europe, divided into three main topics: preparation, items, and advices. Make sure you have your checklist in hand and get ready to pack like a true road trip king.
1. Check the weather
Even if you’re going to travel in an extreme season, like summer or winter, it’s better to check the weather first to make sure you’re going to pack exactly what you’re going to need.
Check several weather-prediction sources to cross information and don’t forget to check the local climate of the places you’re going to visit! That way, you won’t miss any important thing when packing. And that leads us to the next tip.
2. Make a list
This step is only basic homework. To make sure you don’t forget a thing, start writing down everything you can remember you’ll need. And after packing every item (and checking it on your list), take the checklist with you. That way, you’ll always have a record of what you took on your road trip, making sure you won’t forget a thing along the way.
Bring comfortable clothes in which you feel good anywhere you go. If you believe for a second you’ll not need one specific piece of clothing, then don’t take it – chances are you won’t use it at all. Take extra underwear, at least two pairs of trousers, a considerable number of t-shirts and a good warm jacket. Be sure to also pack a hoodie or two just in case.
And, of course, if you’re travelling on winter days make sure you take additional warm clothes. On the other hand, if summer is your chosen season don’t forget your bathing suit or swimming trunks.
4. Plastic/paper bags
These are essential and almost everyone forgets about them. Of course they’re important for dirty clothes, but what about garbage? Take plenty of them for your trash – so later you can put it in proper garbage cans – and for recycling, because in the end we’re all responsible for our planet, where we want to continue to live amazing adventures for years to come! Nowadays, you can buy biodegradable trash bags in nearly every supermarket.
It’s crystal clear that your campervan is packed with A LOT of water. But, just in case, (and especially if you want to go hiking for a full day or two) take some bottled water with you – it’s always better safe than sorry. And if you want to have a sip during the night and don’t want to get up, what’s better than some refreshing H2O right next to you?
You’ll be on the road for long periods of time. Yes, you’ll have a few stops, but if you want to save some money, it’s way cheaper – and did we mention healthier? – to buy some snacks before hitting the road, than buying them on service stations. So be prepared: buy some nuts, fruit, energy bars, a few packs of natural juice and an extra goodie or two for re-establishing your sugar levels.
“It’s a road trip! Why would I need to take games with me?” said no one ever. You’ll have the time of your life exploring and living adventures, no doubt. But if you’re not travelling during summer, chances are you’ll find a bit of rain. In that case, why not take the most out of the cosiness of your campervan?
Take a board game with you, or even some playing cards, and have a blast with your family, friends and/or your other half while hearing the comforting sound of pouring rain falling outside.
8. First aid kit
This tip is mandatory not only for road trips, but for any kind of travelling in general. Having the probabilities in mind, it’s almost certain nothing bad will happen. But if you catch a cold or get a minor cut, it’s always important to have a quick solution.
Be sure to have gauze pads, tweezers, alcohol swabs, antibiotic ointment, anti-inflammatory ointment, bandages, medical tape, elastic bandages, pain relievers, antacid (for heartburn), repellent and sting and bite treatment.
9. Travel umbrella (small size)
If you’re going to spend some of your road trip days exploring a city or town and if there’s the slightest possibility of rain, don’t miss the opportunity of having a small umbrella with you.
10. Extra backpack
You’ll have your campervan next to you most of the times. But not always. If you’re going to hike all day in a Natural Park, or explore a city or town, you’ll need to take the basic stuff with you: water, some snacks, photo camera, etc.
Put an extra backpack on your list to be used in those situations and enjoy the freedom of movement wherever you go without sacrificing your basic needs.
11. Roll clothes
Going straight to the point: folding is overrated. You’ve known this ever since your mom forced you to fold every single one of your t-shirts, just because – and don’t you dare protest! But this is actually true – folding is not the most effective way to pack/store clothes – according to a great deal of backpackers.
By rolling your clothes, you’ll be more space-efficient – they’re more compact – more organized, and you’ll get fewer wrinkles, which is great for long periods of travelling.
12. Fill dead spaces
You’re done packing and decide to close your bag. Great! But the zipper barely closes. At least if your packing skills were more space efficient… Well, now they can be! And it’s quite easy.
Use dead spaces to maximize the room you have in your bag. For example, put your socks or other small items inside your shoes. If you stuff them, you’ll have more room to pack more things or just to avoid a major armed battle with that zipper – you’ll thank us later, soldier.
13. Self-service laundries
All of us, during a road trip, wished to have more clothes or at least to wear our favourite pair of jeans again – but they’re too dirty for that, even for crazy adventurers’ standards.
But if you get by a town or city with self-service laundries, by all means take the most out of them. Wash and dry what you please and then continue your smell-free journey.
14. Use a small bag for all your electronics
Gadgets, batteries, chargers, cables… They can be a mess! But they don’t have to. Just organize them in a small bag. That way, you’ll never lose track of them (everyone that lost a cable or a charger during a trip already knows the feeling) and they will always be easily accessible.
15. Prevent liquid leaks
Having a liquid leak inside your bag is the last thing you’d want on a road trip: all your precious clothes covered in perfume, shampoo or skin-care products.
To prevent that, put all these items inside one or more ziplock bags. Then, roll a piece of clothing over them, to protect them against unwanted impacts. Simple, right?
After all this, what are you waiting for? Select the dates, create an itinerary, choose your campervan and go Indie throughout Europe (at least once in your lifetime)! Only after packing your bags, of course!