A few days before you leave, pull together everything you'll need for your trip. Pack only the essentials. Even though you're driving and not flying, you don't need to take your entire house along for the ride.
Here are a few tips on what to bring:
- Pack light. Leave the big, bulky suitcases at home. Pack your clothes in smaller, soft bags. Only take pieces you absolutely know you're going to wear. Bring a few basics -- black pants, white shirts, sundresses -- that you can combine to create a much larger wardrobe. Don't bring clothes that wrinkle easily or need to be dry cleaned. Plan to do a load or two of laundry along the way.
- Downsize. Don't bring your full bottles of shampoo and body wash. Buy the travel sizes to save space. The same goes for toothpaste, makeup and hair styling products. You can always buy more on the road if you run out.
- Bring along some entertainment. To avoid boredom, pack music and reading materials. If you've got kids in the car, travel games, movies and handheld video games can be real sanity savers on those long stretches of road.
- Pack a few munchies. So you don't have to stop at restaurants every few hours, fill a cooler with water, juice boxes and healthy snacks (such as grapes, baby carrots and crackers) to keep you from getting hungry.
- Carry your own clean-up supplies. Bring along a roll of paper towels and wet wipes to clean up spills before they ruin your car's upholstery, as well as a trash bag to hold your garbage and a laundry bag for your dirty clothes.