Vacation car doubles as traveling suitcase

Recently my partner and I went to Nova Scotia, which is over 8 hours away by car.  Since we both love nature and scenery, we decided to drive.  We were also visiting New Brunswick, and planned a whirlwind tour that involved staying in a different hotel every night for 10 nights (except for a 2-night stay in Halifax).  My partner is a cyclist and so we brought our bikes too, along with cycling and hiking paraphernalia, pillows and a sleeping bag (we were sleeping in a non-heated geodesic dome one night!  So cool!)  and a cooler for snacks/drinks.

I am pretty good at packing cars, but my partner has a true gift for spatial awareness, and so that job is left up to him.  I don’t interfere, I just bring the bags out that I want packed and he takes care of the rest.  It’s certainly not a 2 person job!

So, the biggest question besides “what should we pack for a time of year when temperatures could be in the 50’s (40’s at night) and 70-80 during the day (don’t ask me what the Celsius version of those are!  I had enough mathematical challenges converting km to miles and US $ to CAD$!), and possibly rainy?”, was how to pack bags that didn’t need to be lugged into our hotel room each night and repacked?

It took a few days to get the routine down and settle into where in the car to put bags, but I found that if I kept my toiletries and undergarments/pj’s in one backpack to bring inside, and my clothes in a separate duffle (packed in sections by shirts, pants etc), that I could just pull out what I needed each night from the duffle and leave that in the car.  We had a combined bag for dirty clothes and would bring that as well.  We also brought some laundry detergent pods in case we found we needed to wash anything (assuming we could find a washer/dryer where we were staying).  I had a separate bag with my heavier coats/glove/hats/cycling gear since we wouldn’t be accessing that as often.

Every few days we sort of cleaned out the car to resettle things (we bought souvenirs along the way and needed to put them in a safe/non-breakable place), and I used our 2-night stay in Halifax to bring all the bags in and repack since we had accumulated multiple maps/brochures etc.  Overall it worked well, especially once we had the routine figured out!

Let us know in the comments if you’ve had to live out of your car for an extended time, and any great ideas/solutions you came up with!

About Melissa Belliard

Melissa is committed to helping her clients find the organizing system that works for them, with compassion and creativity. She has been helping her friends and family get organized for years, and loves decluttering closets and cabinets, especially for empty nesters and folks who are downsizing. Melissa brings her 16 years of experience as a Human Resources professional to her work, including compassionate listening, leadership, and creative problem-solving skills. Melissa is also a part-time massage therapist, and has raised two great kids. She loves being out in nature, listening to music and dancing, as well as bringing women together in community.

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