Packing your car for holiday

Packing the car and setting off on holiday can be a chaotic experience, with a recent survey of more than 1,000 UK drivers by Toyota showing that almost 10% of holidaymakers have had to turn back because they’ve forgotten something every time they’ve gone on holiday. 


Packing your car for holiday image

So, what are we forgetting? The items most likely to be left at home are:

  • Sunglasses

  • Beachwear

  • Underwear

  • Shoes

  • Money

  • Mobile phone

The cause of our forgetfulness? Lack of organisation, with 32% saying that they didn’t write a list of items to pack.

In addition to leaving things behind, over-packing is a common problem. This could impact driving safety with belongings restricting the view through the rear window or side windows.  Many also admitted to not doing any safety checks before leaving, like topping up oil and water levels, checking tyre condition or even filling up with fuel.

Forgotten items, delayed journey starts, and a packed driving cabin can all lead to a stressful holiday journey, inevitably causing arguments. Unsurprisingly, navigation issues and getting lost tops the list of the main reasons behind a fight, followed by:

  • Getting hungry

  • Journey length

  • Kids making a noise

  • Choice of in-car music

  • Passengers not having enough room, or getting squashed

  • Running low on fuel

So, to help reduce your stress and ensure your holiday gets off to a good start, here are some tips for packing your car for your trip:

  • Children always want to help with packing but aren’t the most reliable! Compromise and give them a small rucksack each to pack with items such as colouring books and pencils, games, favourite soft toys or comforters. These can be kept in the back seat with them for the journey.

  • Lay everything out so you can see roughly how much space you’ll need in the car. Depending on the type of holiday you’re going on, you might need extra space for sporting equipment, bikes and extra luggage.

  • If you’re heading on an adventure holiday, remember to pack spare plastic bags or sheets to wrap up anything that gets dirty to protect the interior of your car.

  • Make use of all those nooks and crannies in your boot for extra storage, tuck coats and shoes into the wells and other gaps on either side of the boot, allowing maximum room for the larger, more rigid items.

  • Put any large, flat items that can take some weight on top of them into the boot first, like body boards. If possible, be sure to use one large suitcase or bag instead of lots of little ones. This way you know the location of where everything is packed and there’s less chance of leaving bags behind or misplacing items, as you only have the one place to look.

  • Bigger, heavier items should go next. It’s better if they are square or rectangular – suitcases and cool boxes are ideal. These will create a solid foundation for smaller, lighter items to go on top.

  • Finish with lighter or delicate items, including footballs and tennis racquets.

  • You could remove the parcel shelf to allow that extra bit of room, but make sure your view of the road behind isn’t compromised by avoiding filling the boot any higher than the level of the parcel shelf.

  • Make sure children have sunshades, headphones and blankets, so they are comfortable and can listen to audiobooks or music. These are ideal for long journeys as they are entertaining for both children and adults. Avoid books or any type of screen-based entertainment as these can cause travel sickness.

  • Keep a bag or rucksack in the front passenger footwell for essentials such as ID, money, mobile, torch, snacks and a first aid kit. Don’t forget hand sanitiser and face masks for all the passengers, as they’ll need to wear them when stopping at service stations.

  • Phones shouldn’t be used by the driver (obviously), but they can be placed in the centre console and charged while driving. Reservation details, directions, essential phone numbers etc may be on your phone, so it’s best to arrive with it fully charged.

+ More