Packing the Car For College

Whether you are driving to a local school or making a cross-country trek, you will need to be prepared for your journey.

The excitement of finally packing up your favorite belongings and new coordinated bedding, shower caddy, etc. for the trip to school comes with the stress of not wanting to forget anything.

If you’re driving, here are a few tips to add to your checklist:

  • Make sure you have your navigation necessities covered. Depending on the length of the drive, map out some interesting places to stop and sightsee to break it up and enjoy the last of your vacation. Don’t be afraid to try some hole in the wall restaurants instead of chowing down on fast food for every meal. Use apps like Waze to your advantage to avoid lengthy traffic jams and maybe even try the scenic route if you have the chance. National and State Parks/Monuments always make for a nice stop to stretch your legs on a trail or learn about your new region at the visitor center.
  • Be sure to book hotel rooms prior to the trip. You don’t want to have to drive an extra 50 miles to get to the next hotel with vacancy.
  • Double check that you packed that aux cord if you do not have Bluetooth. Music, podcasts, and audiobooks help to pass the time. Remember to have those car chargers handy and playlists loaded.
  • It’s recommended to have your car checked before you leave. Get some roadside service (AAA). Even if your trip is short, it’s good to have essential items handy (jumper cables, flashlight, first aid kit, and snacks). You might just make a friend on move-in day who needs some help!
  • Don’t pack too much, you need to be able to see out the back. You definitely want to make sure you and your stuff arrive safely. Utilize all of the small compartments in the car. Trunks of newer cars have small secret cubbies for extra small items like those awkward closet hangers. If needed, add a roof rack instead of overstuffing and vacuum bags can be extremely useful if the car is small. Put the heavier boxes and items on the ground in the middle of the car to reduce unsafe sagging in the back, but beware not to weigh your car down TOO much; you don’t want your car handling or fuel economy to suffer.
  • Also, touch base with roommates before packing large items or planning a shopping trip. You probably don’t need two microwaves or area rugs. You don’t have to make all of your dorm room decoration purchases before you drive. You can always buy more stuff later, so if anything, make sure you aren’t over-packing when it comes to dorm decor. A friendly reminder that you have to clean it all out at the end of the year.
  • Take some time to think about what you will realistically use in the first few months, you can always buy more underwear or have your parents/guardians send you supplies. Evaluate items like bulky sweaters. Can you wait until you go home for winter break to bring them back to school with you?
  • Make sure your personal belongings are covered with your GradGuard College Renters Insurance plan.