5 clever tips to save space when packing for a road trip

Car Advice    Zia Xin

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Road trips are a must-try for any driver who loves to travel! It's a great way to explore new places, and a one-of-a-kind travel experience that you can't get locally. But most road-trippers face a big problem—how to pack efficiently? You'll have all your luggage with you, and probably accumulate more as you see new places and buy lots of stuff. What most people do is carry the luggage with them in the car, and try to enjoy their road trip when they're squashed up with suitcases on their laps. But that doesn't have to be you. If you know how to maximise your space and pack the right way, you can have plenty of space and still bring the stuff you need! Here are the smart tips that will help you.


1. Soft-Material Luggage

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First of all, ditch the hard-shell rectangular suitcases. They may be a popular choice of luggage for flying overseas, but for a road trip, they're just unnecessarily rigid and heavy. Soft bags made of fabric, like duffel bags, are much better for packing as they're more flexible and can be squashed up to make more space or to fit into awkward gaps if necessary. On top of that, they're much lighter than normal hard luggages, so the load will also be easier on your car. When you're driving long distances, every bit of weight saved is important, especially if you're in a rental car which may be quite old. Fabric bags are definitely the way to go when you're on the road!


2. Smaller Bags

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Many travellers bring massive bags when they go overseas, thinking that they're saving space because there's only a few big bags instead of many small ones. When you're putting the luggage into your trunk, you'll realize this is a bad idea. Smaller bags actually are more efficient, because they can be stacked, and can fit closely, using up every square inch of space you have. Large bags are more rigid, and when they're stacked, there's likely to be small spaces in between that could have been used by smaller bags. Plus, small bags can be stashed under seats and kept beside passengers' feet, making full use of your car space.


3. Vacuum Packs

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Sometimes you really just need to have your outfits with you, and try as you might to cut down, you still find yourself with loads of luggage. One clever trick you can try is using vacuum seal packs! These will compress your clothes, reducing the space that they take up so that you can bring more. Take note that whatever you vacuum seal will be tightly wrapped in plastic and you won't be able to access them unless you open the entire pack up again. This may be a better idea for dirty clothes then—you can wrap away all your worn outfits, and open them up for washing when you're home again!


4. Luggage Arrangement

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Even the way you arrange your luggage is important when you're maximising space! You should always stack your bigger and more rigid luggages in the middle of the trunk, and then fit your smaller bags around them. Don't overlook tight spaces like the corners of the trunk and the gaps between big luggages—they can be used for more compact items like backpacks and shoes! Try to arrange your luggage so that every tiny space is filled, but make sure to leave your essentials near the top so you can access them easily. When you pack strategically, you use your full storage capacity, which allows you to pack more!


5. Overhead Carriers

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Finally, if after all this you still can't fit all your luggage into the car, you can think about investing in an overhead carrier. With an overhead carrier, you can fix all your bulky luggage to the outside of the car, freeing up so much space in your trunk! It may seem risky to strap your precious clothes to a car roof, but a good carrier is designed to keep your bags secure, so don't worry! The important thing is just to choose one that's suitable for your car size and model, and install it properly. If you're worried about safety, you may want to consult your mechanic/manufacturer just to be sure. If you get it done right, a carrier can save you a lot of space and trouble!


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