How to simplify a road trip
Before I started my weekend adventures I was quite a bit of a hermit/ introvert. I was perfectly happy staying at home with a good book all weekend. I would go on road trips maybe once or twice a year and that was enough for me.
In 2016 my life took a huge turn and I decided that I needed a change, and that I needed to change if I wanted to be happy with myself and my life again. It was a huge turning point for me.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with cuddling up with a good book and some hot chocolate, but I had done so much of that, that I desperately needed a change. I had been hiding from the world because of my anxiety and , as a result, my life had become so monotonous and depressing that I realised my approach to life just wasn’t working anymore.
That’s when I realised that I wanted to see more ,do more and experience more. I wanted to enjoy life again and get excited about the world around me again. And since I get to live in such a beautiful country I decided to start right here in Cape Town, South Africa. I made a point of doing something fun each and every weekend (which is how this blog started) and now, most of my weekend road-trips include climbing and camping trips around the Western Cape.
This really took me out of my comfort zone since I’m not really good at camping and hiking, but I absolutely love being outdoors and I love road trips. So I decided to ditch the guesthouses for a tent and I started camping more. This worked out well because it was much cheaper and this allowed me to travel more often.
The thing is, while camping is cheaper and you get to experience nature more, it’s also a lot tougher. When I first started going on these road trip/ camping weekends, getting ready was a bit of a nightmare. I didn’t want to leave my creature comforts behind and I never knew what to pack and what to leave behind. And when I did pack, half of what I wanted to take along was either in the wash or didn’t look good on me anymore. This was so incredibly frustrating. And when we were finally ready to pack the car I had so much stuff that it would take forever to pack it all.
When we finally hit the road we would have to worry about buying food for the trip along the way or eating out. And when we got back there would be a ton of housework for us to do because we didn’t get around to doing it before we left, not to mention all the washing we would have to do after the road tripping weekend. This was not a nice way to end a lovely mini vacation.
After a couple of years of weekend road trips and mini vacations I can proudly say that I have finally streamlined the process so that It’s barely any stress on me anymore. I pack a fraction of the amount I used to take and I come back to far less housework and chores than before.
The best part is that my pre-trip stress is practically gone.
Basically, my new routine involves taking things step by step, planning things out and splitting tasks up so that I don’t get overwhelmed. I also work ahead of time so that I don’t end up packing the night before. This alone has made a world of difference.
Here is what I do to make the pre- road trip preparations so much less stressful.
Do washing a week before the road trip
This is one of the major life savers when it comes to packing. I’ve started doing all my washing, including towels, at least a week before I need to pack for my road trip. Then I go through my cupboard and put items that I don’t enjoy wearing anymore, or things that don’t look good on me anymore for whatever reason into a storage box. Basically anything I haven’t worn in a while goes into this storage box that I keep under the bed. For instance if it’s summer, I put winter stuff in there,
Then, and only then, do I start assembling outfits for the road trip. I try to pick items that make me look good (though I don’t always get this right) as well as stuff that’s just comfy to wear.
This helps in so many ways. First I get to pack my favorite things so I’m comfy on the road trip, and secondly I don’t have to do any last minute mad rush washing just so I have something good to wear, only to find it doesn’t fit anymore. Lastly it also gives me a chance to sort out my cupboard while I’m at it.
Do a light clean of the house a day or two before we leave
This involves cleaning out leftovers in the fridge, sweeping the floors, taking out the rubbish and changing and washing sheets.
These little things will mean you get to come back to less housework, and believe me after a fun time away from home this makes a world of difference.
The last thing you want to come home to after a lovely road trip is rotting leftovers stinking up the fridge or rubbish stinking up the house. Coming back to a clean home means you can easily ease back into your routine again.
Pack perishable groceries
If you are going on a road trip and you have to buy food on the way, it really helps if you pack things like cucumber, lettuce and tomato in a cooler bag with some ice and take it along and enjoy them on the trip. Basically, all the perishables you have in the fridge.
Doing this will mean you will have to buy a little less and these items won’t rot in your fridge while you’re away. It’s such a waste of money when this happens.
Plan your wardrobe
Plan what you are going to pack very very carefully. It helps to know what the weather will be like at your destination before you go on your road trip. Check the weather report to help you pick out appropriate clothing.
But, no matter what the report says, make sure you are prepared for anything too. I tend to pack for all seasons even if it’s super hot where I’m going. Of course I’ll pack more summer clothes in summer, than winter clothes, but I will take along some thermal undies and a jacket and closed shoes just in case. I am determined not to let the weather ruin my holidays away.
This is what my road trip packing list usually looks like:
2 tops and 2 pants for winter-like days
A skirt and shorts and 2 tops that go with them
A dress for summer-like days
Some loose fitting relaxed clothing for the evenings
2 sets of Active wear
A light jacket and a hoodie
Pjs and undies (plus thermal stuff)
I find that this is a golden formula and prepares me for almost anything. I can be flexible and don’t have to let the weather determine my activities for the day. I have also never been short of anything when I stick to this packing list.
Once your bags are packed and your house is a little tidier, It’s time to focus on yourself.
A day, or even the night before, before any kind of trip I like to take some time for myself. I take a nice hot shower, wash my hair, shave my legs do a nice home facial and even paint my nails.
I find this helps me relax and get into the holiday feeling. It also feels nice to just pamper yourself. The bonus of this is you looks great for your trip too.
Pack 2 days ahead of time
Packing well in advance means that you have some time to remember things you may have otherwise forgotten, like your toothbrush or shampoo. As the road trip draws nearer you can just pop these items into your bag as you remember it.
When you are packing it helps to fold your clothes as tight as you can. Simply shoving them in your bag means you will waste a whole lot of space, and when you are road tripping it’s all about saving space, especially if you have a small car.
Packing tight means you will be able to fit everything into a tiny bag and have more space for a few luxury items like your pillow or more food.
These are the 7 things that I have started doing to easily simplify my pre-road trip prep process and they are really working well for me. I find that I’m not as anxious as I once was, I enjoy wearing what I’ve packed and I don’t forget essentials anymore. The best part is that I feel comfortable and confident when I’m on holiday because I got to pamper myself before the trip too.
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