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Car Packing Tips for Taking Your Kid to College

2018 07 25 Mom And Daughter Packing Car For College And Smiling

By Madeline Klein on August 3, 2018 in Life Hacks

It’s that moment so many parents dread - dropping your kid off at college. Maybe you’ve been thinking about this moment for years, or maybe it is finally just hitting you how hard it will be to wave goodbye as you leave them at their dorm.

What may be even harder is the packing game you’ll play to fill your car with all their college necessities. Even if you’re just driving down the street, there’s a ton of gear to transport. We’re here to help with some car packing tips for getting your kid to college.

1. Only pack the essentials

It is all too easy to go overboard when packing your kid for college. Do they really need three trash bins and four lamps for a small dorm room? Probably not. Be a bit stingy when packing for college, and be sure they are only bringing what they need to. It’s hard to fit the family and all the college necessities in the car, so make sure what makes the cut for the car is essential.

Keep in mind that you can plan to make a trip or two to Target or Walmart when you get to the college. Both cater to college kids in the fall and will be sure to have almost anything you may have forgotten or were not able to pack.

2. Get rid of original packaging

You’ve likely bought a lot of brand new stuff to fill your kid’s dorm room. It’s okay, we all do it. But to fit everything you need into your car, you’ll want to get rid of the original packaging and boxes. Those late night Amazon orders can come in bulky boxes that make packing a car difficult.

Boxes are a weird shape that won’t have much give as you fit everything into the car. Instead, pack the actual items in the car and forget about the box. For breakable items like T.V.s, use towels and clothes to keep them secure, and you’ll be just fine without the boxes.

3. Strategically pack the car

Now that you know what is going into the car, you’ll need to make sure you can Tetris it all together in the trunk and backseat. You’ll want to put the most substantial items, like mini refrigerators, near the middle of the car and work your way out. This will help keep things from getting crushed, but will also ensure your car drives smoothly and you won’t have any issues with braking or an uneven car.

Unless you are flying, you will be able to fit more into your car if you skip the suitcases and pack in duffle bags or trash bags. Trash bags may not be the most classy, but they will get the job done and are flexible enough to make room for other items. Suitcases are typically more structured and don’t have much give when you’re trying to fit some weirdly shaped things in the car.

And, make sure that as you’re cramming in the bags of clothes and new sets of sheets that you keep that rear window clear. It is easy to forget that you actually need to see out of it!

4. Keep the essentials handy

Whether you have a long road trip to get to their new college or their dorm is right down the street, you’ll want to make sure you have your essentials out and handy. Things like phones, maps, and move-in directions should be kept in the front seat for easy access at all times.

If you have a long haul, don’t forget to pack a cooler with some healthy snacks too. Pack these snacks last, and find a spot that is easy to get to. Those delicious snacks won’t do you much good if they are at the very back of the trunk under a few duffel bags.

With a little prep ahead of time, you can help make sure your kid’s move to college is smooth and exciting, just like it should be. And don’t worry, you can make your way back to visit for the first football game. Tailgating for a football game is the best part of having a kid in college, right?

What college are you dropping your student off at this fall? Share it with us on social media. Tag @SayInsurance and use the hashtag #SayBackToSchool!

Madeline Klein is Say's Digital Content Producer. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism, emphasis in Strategic Communication. Her experience is in writing and digital media. Madeline loves using her creativity to write and design new and exciting pieces of work for Say!