Family road trips are always a lot of fun, but many travelers choose to take with them either too many items or not enough. The secret is to discover a happy medium so that you neither forget something important nor stock up on everything but the kitchen sink.
There are always items you should take along with you – including paper towels, water bottles, and snacks – but did you know there are also things you should /span>not take with you when you’re preparing for a family vacation?
Everyone wants their next road trip to be productive and fun instead of uncomfortable and inconvenient. A little planning ahead of time can solve this problem and make your next road trip or vacation something you’ll never forget.
From foods to eat to items that may wreak havoc on your life and the life of everyone in the car, following are a few items you should actually avoid the next time you have a trip planned with your family.
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1. Certain Snacks
While it is good to take snacks with you on your road trip, you have to keep in mind that you’ll be eating more fast food than you normally would while you’re on the road, so try to limit your snacks to foods that are healthy for you. Consider bringing granola bars, bagged nuts, cheese sticks, and apple slices.
Also, you should stay away from foods that need to be cooked, cut up into smaller pieces, or that require any preparation whatsoever, because you simply won’t have the kitchen tools you need to make that happen.
In addition, bringing foods such as carbonated drinks and imported fruits could spell trouble for you along the way. Carbonated drinks get shaken up as you travel and could burst while you’re traveling, even while you’re still driving, and those bananas from Ecuador just might get taken from you if you cross state lines and there is any type of checkpoint.
2. Hair Products for Styling
Naturally, you want your hair to look good while you’re traveling, but if you bring too many products, it just takes up too much space and let’s face it, it is likely you won’t use every single one of these products anyway.
Stick to the basics – shampoo and conditioner – and leave the gel, mousse, hairspray, blow dryer, and curling iron at home.
When you think about it, most hotels have hair dryers in each of the rooms, and you can often get gel and similar products in smaller sizes once you get to your destination.
If you take along too many hair care products, it will fill up your suitcase rather quickly and cause you to have less room in the bathroom once you get to the hotel, so think “skimpy” when it comes to these products.
3. Magazines, Books, and Other Reading Material
Once again, books and magazines take up a lot of room quickly, and if you take more than one or two of them with you, you won’t have room to put them anywhere in your vehicle once you’re finished with them, even with an SUV or minivan.
Choose instead to bring some type of e-reader and read your books that way. Besides, e-readers give you access to thousands of books and magazines, so they can keep you occupied for quite a while.
In addition to taking up less space, e-readers are also a lot less heavy than paper books and magazines, so they’re easier to utilize when you’re trying to read on the road. In more ways than one, e-readers are a much better choice than regular books and magazines.
4. A Different Outfit for Each Day
This one is obvious because let’s face it, you simply don’t need a separate outfit for each day of the week. Many people bring three to four outfits, then use the hotel laundry room to wash their clothes so they can re-wear them.
Even large suitcases will fill up very quickly when you pack too many outfits for your trip. If your hotel has no laundry area, you can usually find a laundromat somewhere nearby, making it much easier to pack light when you’re preparing for your trip.
You can also plan to mix and match your clothing and bring just a handful of tops and bottoms. This means less room in your suitcase and a much easier time when you get back home and start to wash your vacation clothes.
5. Too Many Clothes Made of Denim
Everyone loves denim jeans, but you just don’t need to have three or four pairs of jeans, jean shorts, and a denim skirt. Denim is heavy and bulky and takes up too much room in your suitcase.
Instead, take one to two pairs of jeans and use the rest of your luggage space for more lightweight bottoms, such as leggings, shorts made of cotton or linen, and even khakis.
There is yet another reason not to take along too much denim. Hotel dryers tend to take two drying sessions to thoroughly dry several pairs of jeans, costing you both time and money.
Lighter-weight bottoms can usually be dried in the first go-round, making it much more convenient to take something lighter on your trip.
6. Shoes That Are Uncomfortable or Impractical
When you try on a pair of new shoes and think to yourself, “they’ll stretch out the more I wear them,” you should expect some disappointment. If shoes aren’t comfortable the first time you put them on, they likely won’t be comfortable after you’ve worn them awhile.
When you’re on vacation, skip the high heels and that brand-new pair of shoes you just bought and stick with shoes that are comfortable and practical. This usually means sneakers or sandals, and if you stick to just a pair or two, they won’t take up too much room in your suitcase. Just remember to bring only comfortable shoes, and only a few pairs at that, and your vacation should go a lot more smoothly.
7. Nice Clothes or Jewelry
Regardless of how safe you feel once you get to your hotel, it is always possible to have your jewelry or other expensive items stolen at some point. Wedding and engagement rings are fine, but make sure you leave that bracelet or ring that you spent five or six figures on at home.
Sure, it’s a lot of fun to wear this jewelry and show them off when you’re away from home, but the pricier items should always be left in the safety of your home.
Of course, you can always lock up expensive jewelry in the hotel’s safe, but then you wouldn’t be able to wear it, so save yourself a lot of worry and heartache and just leave items like this at home when planning your next road trip.
8. Items You'll Need “Just in Case”
When you’re planning a vacation or road trip, it’s very tempting to bring items that you think you’ll use “just in case.” These can include everything from hiking boots to raincoats and even items such as winter coats and bicycles.
If you don’t hike at home, don’t assume you’ll do it once you get to your vacation spot. If you dress for the weather or climate of your destination, you simply won’t need to bring extra outerwear “just in case.”
In fact, the “just in case” moments rarely, if ever, happen, so save yourself a lot of space and a lot of stress by simply packing what you need and nothing else.
9. Any Type of Drugs
If you take any type of prescriptions, they need to be in their original containers with your prescription information plainly visible on the label. They need to have your name that is clear to see, plus the pharmacy name and contact information.
Cops roam the highways all the time, especially in areas that are close to state lines, and you have to be able to prove the drugs are yours if you ever get stopped.
This is why you should never have a prescription bottle in your vehicle that has someone else’s name on it. This is illegal and you could get in trouble. Speaking of illegal, it goes without saying that no illegal drugs should ever be found in your car, so if you like to get a little loose every now and then, leave those things at home and forget about them while you’re on vacation.
10. More Than Two Electronic Devices
Everyone loves their tablets and cell phones, but if you also plan to bring your computer and your e-reader, you’ll find you just don’t have the time or the space to use them all.
Let’s face it, you’ll be busy when you’re on vacation, which means you’ll likely not spend a lot of time on your electronics anyway.
If you limit your electronics to just two devices, you can enjoy your downtime with them without spending too much time on them and possibly missing an exciting tourist attraction. Electronic devices have their place, but save them for the evening time when you’re in your hotel resting up for the next day’s activities and you’re looking for a way to relax.