How To Pack A Small Car For A Road Trip (Road Trip Organization Hacks)

Last Updated on October 22, 2022 by Rose Morah

If you are looking for hacks to maximize the packing space of a small car when going on a road trip, this article has got you covered!

We have listed some clever ways of packing a small car for a road trip and how to keep everything in the car clean and organized.


Remember, the journey is more enjoyable when you have enough space in the car, and the car looks clean and organized.

How to organize a small car for a road trip

The following are tips and hacks to stay organized throughout the whole trip:

1. Create room for the cooler

If you will be carrying a cooler, then the backseat is the best place to pack it in a small car. But if you are traveling solo, you can place it in the passenger seat for easier access in case you need to get something.

This minimizes unnecessary stops along the way to get drinks/fruits from the cooler, especially if you had kept the cooler in the trunk.

2. Keep the emergency kit where it can be easily accessed

The emergency kit can be stowed in the glove apartment, under the trunk floor, or at a place where it can easily be accessed when needed.

3. Have a multipurpose trash can for your car

A multipurpose trash can makes the car look organized. This is because you can use its additional feature, such as its pockets, to store other things, therefore, maximizing the space.

4. Start packing on a clean slate

In order to maximize the space in your small car and keep it organized, fast remove everything you consider unnecessary from the car trunk and the cargo carrier then start packing on a clean slate.

You may also like:

How To Prepare And Plan A Road Trip With Friends (Complete Guide).

How To Pack For A Cross Country Motorcycle Road Tour.

How to get smart with space when going on a road trip in a small car

1. Only carry what you need

Carrying only what you need ensures that you pack light.

Note: Having a packing list guides you on what you need and what you should leave behind.

Pro Tip
The items you need to include in your packing list depend on the destination, how long you will be gone, and the activities you plan to do on the road trip.

The following are a few tips to help you pack light:

  • Don’t carry too many clothes. You can just carry a few clothes and then make use of the hotels and the local Laundromats to clean the dirty clothes.

  • Carry clothes with lightweight fabric that will easily dry fast in case you wash them at night and when you hang them to dry.

2. What you constantly use should be at the top for easier access

This way you don’t have to stop regularly and unpack everything when you need to access it.

See also: How To Calculate The Average Cost Of A Road Trip.

3. Get a good car roof cargo carrier

A car-roof cargo carrier helps provide additional space in a small car when going on a road trip.

A good example is this spacious car-roof cargo carrier that goes for $101.99 on Amazon and can be used to carry your road trip essentials. The stuff that you would have squeezed in your trunk can be carried in the car-roof cargo carrier.

It can hold your suitcase, a couple of duffle bags, blankets, and a lot more. I also love the fact that it stays secured by the straps. It thus does not shift its position, hence convenient when you’re going on long road trips.

This means you will get some extra space in the trunk for food, beverages, a cooler, and so on.

4. Make use of a car trunk organizer

A car trunk organizer helps keep your stuff well organized in the small car and prevents it from sliding around the cargo area.

Shop on Amazon for $21.44.

I’d also recommend the following car trunk organizers:

Shop on Amazon for $16.79.

This one has a cooler.

Shop on Amazon for $35.99.

Those are my road trip organization hacks that help me create more space when going on a road trip in a small car.

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