Travel Packing Tips: How to Pack Your Trunk Like a Pro

Have you had problems packing your trunk in the past? Couldn’t figure out what to put in first, second or third? Just threw it all in there and hoped for the best (and the worst happened instead)? Although it would seem pretty simple, there’s a lot more to it than just stuffing your bags in your trunk. Things get crushed, or you can’t fit it all, or you have to “repack” ten times until you get it right.

With these travel packing tips, it should be a one-shot deal and much simpler! How is it done?

Step One
Take all of your bags, coolers, other items and put them around the back of your car. Just pile them there and don’t leave anything out if you plan on putting it in the trunk.

Step Two
Organize your items into groups as follows: heavy items, awkwardly shaped items (anything not box-shaped/square/rectangular), medium weight items, lightweight items, malleable items (like blankets, pillows, duffel bags, things you can squish), and any items that must be easily accessible (your roadside emergency kit, for example).

Travel Packing Tips

Step Three
Put your awkwardly shaped items in first (unless they are delicate/easily damaged). You’re going to have to pack around these items, so it’s a good idea to have them first. Put them all in one area of the trunk.

Why one area? Awkwardly shaped items take up more space as they can’t be stacked the way that square/rectangular shaped suitcases can be. Keeping them together means that only one part of your trunk is underutilized (where these items are), rather than having multiple parts being effected by these items and limiting how much you can fit in your trunk.

Then add your heavy items to the trunk. Pack everything tightly as you go – there should be no room between each bag. Push all heavy items towards the back of the trunk, forming one flat layer of heavy items.

Step Four 
Next add your medium weight items, and then any awkwardly shaped delicate items. Try to keep these items in the same area of the trunk as the other awkwardly shaped items.

If you’re seeing any “holes” developing where you will never fit one of your bags, use a malleable item to fill that space. In my Honda, there are a few weirdly shaped parts of my trunk where nothing but malleable items fit. Your trunk probably has spots like that, too.

Step Five 
Now it’s time to add the lightweight items (still packing tightly) and then use the rest of your malleable items to fill in the “holes” where you couldn’t stack easily. This will often be where your awkwardly shaped items are.

Step Six 
Your final step is to add the items that must be easily accessible including your road-side emergency kit, first aid kit, your flashlight, and a blanket if you’re not keeping one in the car’s passenger area.

Keep in mind any other things you will need – either keep them in the passenger area or at the very top of your packed trunk. You don’t want to have to dig through this perfectly packed trunk over and over – that would defeat the purpose of this method!

The only exception is the spare tire if it is kept in the floor of the trunk – in the case of a flat tire you will have to dig it out, but it’s not worth trying to keep it on top for your whole trip – all the work of trying to fit it in over the course of your trip wouldn’t be worth any potential benefit you’d gain.

Congratulations, you are now a trunk-packing pro!

Print this article out and use these travel packing tips throughout your road trip (as you will need to unpack and pack over and over) – at least for your first trip. After that, you shouldn’t need notes being the amazing packer you’ll be; it will just come naturally to you!

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