Even on a good day, packing your car can feel like a game of tetris. Kids? Check. Shopping? Check. Kitchen sink? Check! But on a bad day, when your flight departs in mere hours, the rain is pouring down outside, and you’re not quite sure where you’ve left your keys, it can be like trying to fit an elephant into a refrigerator!
Wherever you’re off on holiday this Christmas, whether for a few days or a few weeks, packing the car before heading to the airport can be a challenge. And although it’s tempting to bring everything, it’s not always possible (or even the best of ideas). So whatever your destination, here are our top five tops to show you how to pack a car like a pro.
If your car is full to the brim, we’ll help you cut down on the overflow. If your packing is already light and down to the absolute minimum, these tips will help you keep your boot tidy and organised.
Step one: Plan ahead
Take some time to get ready before you pack, and you’ll thank yourself later. Start with the right car – if you’re trying to pack six suitcases into a Nissan Micra, it’s not going to work! Depending on the trip you have planned, you might need to rent a larger vehicle for more boot space or consider adding on a roof rack.
Next, sort through everything you plan on packing. Can you cut down somewhere? Whether you’re going overseas or interstate, be realistic about what you need to take. Start with the most important things and work your way down. If you haven’t read a book in awhile, you probably won’t read five hardbacks while you’re away. Neck pillows might seem like a great idea while you’re up in the air, but will you really want to carry it around afterwards?
Do a practice pack. A test run through will save you a tonne of stress if you’ve got multiple suitcases. You’ll learn to fit awkward items, and it will help you to decide if you need a bigger vehicle or a roof rack, when there’s still time to acquire one.
Step two: Clean your car!
Give your vehicle a thorough clean out before you pack, ideally a day in advance. Remove any rubbish and unnecessary items. It’s worth giving the boot, glovebox, door and centre console compartments a good checkover, to make as much extra space as possible. Why not give your car a vacuum while you’re at it – it’s always nicer travelling in a clean car, and it’ll keep your luggage in a tip top state.
Step three: Prioritize by size
Before you start putting your suitcases and bags in your car in any old order, think about which items will need more space and which you’ll need to access quickly. Large cases might need to go into your car a particular way, so make sure to save space for these ahead of time.
Similarly, some items might need to stay near the front or the top of the boot for easy access. Think about your carry-on luggage, boarding passes, toiletries, and a change of clothes. The last thing you need on your way to the airport, when your phone battery is down to ten percent, is to have to dig out your charger from the bottom of your suitcase.
Step four: Pack smart
When it comes to small items, it makes sense to make the most of the space you have. Packing your suitcases the smart way can help you cut down on the overall number of bags you need to bring, and keep your possessions safe while you’re getting from A to B.
Use lightweight suitcases and bags. Rigid boxes, cases, and packaging will be hard to fit into your car boot’s nooks and crannies, and leave precious space in the corners. If you’re not carrying anything too precious, consider packing up a duffle bag or backpack instead.
If you can, roll your clothes. Folding might seem like the obvious way to go, but rolling is the most space efficient. If you’re not too worried about wrinkles, roll your clothes tightly before putting them into your bags.
Wrap your valuables. Clothes can keep your valuables safe just as well as bubble wrap, but they waste far less space.
Step five: Use all available space
If you’ve followed all the steps above, and your car is on the edge of capacity, check again to see if all available space has been filled. Here are some spots you might’ve missed:
- The glovebox, the door and the centre console compartments
- Underneath the front seats, (for flat and non-breakable items)
- By the passenger footwells (but not the drivers!)
- The space around the spare tyre
If we can emphasise one thing when packing your car, it’s to plan ahead. Like all areas of holiday planning, the earlier you start thinking about logistics, the better. Traveling to and from the airport with a lot of luggage can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to ruin your trip away.
No matter how you’re planning on packing, we hope you have an awesome holiday. If you happen to be flying out of Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane Airport, there is a long term parking at Sydney Airport that you can use. Also we’d love you to check out Flyparks before you leave especially if you aren’t from Sydney. We have some great offers on airport car parking, which can save you a lot of time, hassle, and money.