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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- Jumper Cables- Because you don’t think you need them until you need them.
- Bug Spray, Sunscreen, First Aid Kit, Tissues
- Clorox Wipes
- 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.
- On The Road Stimulation- Bingo Cards, MadLibs, Books, iPad, etc.
- 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.