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Hit the Road: Jonathan & Julie’s Packing Essentials

Packing Essentials

Our car is officially part of our relationship. It took us from Maine (Julie’s home) to California (Jonathan’s home) on a month-long honeymoon, then back again a few months later when we accepted work at the Stonewall Jackson Inn. Since then, it’s been up and back to New England, down to Florida, and remained our steady companion on days off and adventures away.

We’ve gotten quite good at packing it.

So, we thought we’d share some of our road-ready packing tips for getting you there and back again with ease. Here they are — we’d love to hear some of yours in the comments!

1.) Keep a pouch packed with duplicates of travel-sized toiletries. The goal here is grab and go! Julie’s essentials: floss, toothbrush, tooth paste, bandaids, Q-tips, hair ties, bobby pins, safety pins, deodorant, lotion, razor, makeup, sunscreen, and soaps because I have my favorites.

2.) Have a place in your car — the glove box, center console, door pocket — for emergency items. Chapstick, lotion, Wisp toothbrushes (my can’t-live-without: you don’t even need toothpaste, or water for that matter), first aid items, hair ties, gum. And maybe chocolate. There are such things as chocolate emergencies.

3.) Buy your snacks, prep them ahead of time, and make them easy to grab. We like to re-purpose a long box (thank you, Amazon Prime) so it sits right there in the back seat, middle hump where we can both reach our favorites. Jonathan’s go-to faves: sunflower seeds (for stay-awake munching that doesn’t fill you up — needed for late-night drives), BBQ chips, and celery sticks. Julie’s faves: fruit snacks, Trader Joe’s cheddar puffs, Chex Mix, and Raisinets. Wash and chop the fresh produce so you won’t have any extra waste along the way. And don’t forget a few paper towels.

4.) Prepare a trash receptacle. This could be a plastic bag or a box or something fancy schmancy, but put it somewhere you can reach. It will keep your car from looking (and smelling) like a road trip casualty when you roll back into the garage.

5.) A gallon jug of water. Unless you trust the gas station fountain to deliver clean, fresh-tasting H2O (I didn’t think so). You definitely want to stay hydrated, especially if you’re consuming dry, salty snacks along the way.

6.) Line the floor of one side of the backseat with plastic bags. If it’s muddy or rainy or you make it to the beach and the beach sticks to you, consider this your safe dump zone for all things yucky.

7.) Find something to listen to. If your husband prefers sports talk and you prefer the latest tunes (us? couldn’t be…), audio books are a great compromise. Libraries are a great resource, or you can download your top picks. Actually, we love listening to a good clean comedy routine, too. Brian Regan and Jim Gaffigan are total winners. (Here’s our favorite Jim Gaffigan bit.)

8.) A good book. You never know when a quiet moment (or waiting line) is going to pop up, and I don’t know about you, but I’ll take any chance I can get to make some progress on my latest read.

9.) Your scheduler. I always think I can get away without it, then I get a call and wish I had it handy. Also, it can be a fun practice to record your daily doings, so when you’re looking back at pictures and re-telling the stories from your trip, you’ll have a record of what happened when.

10.) Postcard stamps and your address book. So maybe you’re gloating in your escape… it’s forgivable.

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