|Summer Spontaneity: My Must-Have Trunk Trinkets|

I wish I could say that I pack light, but I would be lying to you. Goodness, I just got back from a trip to Miami last week and I had, not one, not two, but three bags in tow. (In my defense, it was my sister’s bachelorette party and I had one entire duffel dedicated to decorations. The extra baggage wasn’t an issue until Southwest lost it on the way home.) I digress: Even on a daily basis, my work satchel is usually overflowing and my weekend purse is weighted with a Kindle, book, (in case the Kindle dies) wallet, tissues, camera, notebook… you get the idea.

I like to think that I pack in pursuit of preparedness- I never know where I might end up. Especially on weekends where the breeze is blissful, the sun is splendid, and the open road is right beyond my cute little NoVa cul-de-sac, my car and I are always conspiring ways to turn a few hours into an adventure.

I started packing my trunk with fun, practical trinkets when I was in high school- As soon as I got my license I made sure to always have a deck of cards, some jumper cables, and a change of clothes in my vehicle. As I got older, I added to my little car bin: One time I ran out of gas and needed to walk about a mile in the rain to get a can, fill it up. An empty miniature version sits in my car, to this day, as I was borderline traumatized by the experience. When I was 21, I added a 6-ft folding table to my trunk for drinking game festivities. I bought a wiffle ball and bat one year, a frisbee another, for impromptu recreation.

Now 31 years old with a husband and two dogs, my car is usually used for date-day transportation and road trips, up and down the East Coast. The folding table now collects dust in my garage with the exception of cookouts and holidays; the football that I kept in the trunk for a few years is deflated elsewhere. But I still do have a car bin in my GMC Terrain and love that whenever I have a soft spot for spontaneity, I am ready to roll. Shenandoah National Park is only a few hours from my house, Gravelly Point Park is less than 30 miles away… I’m a sucker for farmers markets and if emergencies do arise- Hey! I have a gas can!

In all seriousness, I think that these car kits are a summer necessity and I have put together a list of just what is inside my little wicker carrier. Yes, I am still a child at heart, so some of the toys are mine, to ease road trip restlessness. But I am interested to know if anyone else does this, and what types of items are stowed away for summer fun!


  1. Games- Cards, UNO, Etc. My family members and I are big card and Skipp-o players, take them along with us on overnight trips as well as coffee shop excursions.
  2. Picnic Blanket I got this one on Amazon and love it- I was looking for the iconic checkered pattern but there are many other styles to choose from. And its cheap!
  3. Reusable Bags-  You can get these pretty much anywhere, but they are great for so many uses- trash, (they are washable) wet or dirty clothes, farmers market or grocery finds, etc. They fold up so compactly too!
  4. Picnic Set Some people opt for the traditional wicker baskets and I do see those from time to time at flea markets and second hard stores. I won my kit at a golf tournament many years ago though, and found a comparable one on Amazon. Whether I”m just using a single bowl to get the dogs some water or presenting an entire cheese and wine spread, these are must-haves for the car.
  5. Jumper Cables- Because you don’t think you need them until you need them.
  6. Bug Spray, Sunscreen, First Aid Kit, Tissues
  7. Clorox Wipes 
  8. Rec Activities- Football, Kite, Frisbee, Etc.- The above mentioned items, my kite, and Skipp-o was all purchased during one Target trip. They even have some great road trip workbooks, Scrabble and coloring books, etc. in their $5 section at the front of the store, for a limited time.
  9. On The Road Stimulation- Bingo Cards, MadLibs, Books, iPad, etc.
  10. Bathing Suit Trust me: This happened to me last week. I was the only one with my legs dangling in the pool, pants rolled up, because I didn’t get the memo. You NEVER know when someone’s going to have a pool. Don’t be that fish out of water. (P.S. I have the one in the link and LOVE it.)

Of course there are so many other things that come to mind- I can’t tell you how many times I go into a restaurant and its too cold; I’m left wishing that I had brought a jacket. On every road trip, I bring my TRTL neck pillow (a game changer) and a throw. When my husband is playing heavy metal to stay awake at 1AM and I just want to read, I always crave ear foamies. Water bottles and snacks are always key.

What types of essentials do you carry with you in your car? Tell me about them- I’m an eager wanderer in pursuit of preparedness.

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