Grab Your Bag and Go: Tips for Frequent Road Trips

Updated on April 3, 2018
KT Dunn profile image

KT Dunn is a retiree who, with her husband, has traveled most of the US mainland and parts of Canada and Europe by car.

Packing for an overnight trip or a couple of days out of town doesn’t have to require a lot of thought. If you make such trips often, it pays to be prepared so that you can be ready to go in a very short time.

It can be very useful to keep a zippered overnight bag and a tote bag on hand stocked with essentials, things you may forget to include if you were packing in a hurry. A canvas tote will do for carrying bulkier things, but at times I like to carry a more attractive tote that can double as a handbag, and I sometimes carry a smaller regular handbag inside it.

Even though you may be able to purchase any forgotten items while on the road or once you reach your destination, it certainly is simpler (and cheaper) to have a backup along.

For most of my quick trips, an overnight bag and tote are all I need, but if I'm staying a little longer, a small rolling suitcase (about 21") can be a lifesaver. Obviously it holds more clothes, but it is also much easier to transport from my car to my destination when it's necessary to park some distance away. I can just anchor my zippered bag over the handle, sling my tote and handbag over my shoulder, and go.

To Keep in Closet:

1. A “ready” zippered travel bag with shoulder strap, containing extras such as:

  • Socks/pantyhose, underwear, nightshirt, T-shirt.
  • Foldable laundry bag.
  • Travel slippers (I like to use the folding ballet-style slippers that come with their own zippered storage pouch).
  • Jewelry and protective bags or containers.
  • Shoes and protective bags for them.

Plastic grocery bags can be used to store and carry shoes. Have an extra one or two along to serve as impromptu laundry bags or trash bags.

2. A “ready” tote bag containing duplicate products and equipment:

  • Spare curling iron or flatiron if needed.
  • Hair dryer (if an essential for you) in the case of a hotel or guest bathroom that doesn’t have one or has one that doesn’t function properly.
  • Brush/comb.
  • Mirror.
  • Sweater.
  • Rain jacket.
  • Umbrella.
  • Any extras that won’t fit into your toiletry bag.

3. A “ready” cosmetic or toiletry bag, again containing some duplicate items, and you can then throw in a few daily used items or more expensive products that you may not care to purchase in duplicate. Those little refillable plastic travel bottles are suitable for many purposes, but sometimes it's easier just to pack the original bottle, can, or tube. Foldable hanging toiletry bags are really useful. My favorite type is this one by NeatPack, because it’s convenient to be able to store upright bottles and hang it on a towel bar or hook. Use it for:

  • Makeup
  • Lotions
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Nail care products
  • Razor
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss.

4. An inexpensive folding garment bag (or more) for hanging suits or dresses.

Other Organizers

Makeup and Jewelry

Mesh snap bags or other see-through organizers are useful for transferring makeup, jewelry, small bottles, etc., from drawer to travel bag and back again.


I don’t know about you, but unless my shoes are brand-new, I can never get them clean enough to feel comfortable popping them into my suitcase. I like to use plastic grocery store bags to to put shoes in. I tie the handles together so I can then either pack them in my bag or carry them separately. I keep a couple of pairs of dress shoes and casual shoes bagged up in the closet and ready to go.

To Keep in Handbag or Tote:

1. RFID wallet/passport holder.

2. Battery charger/charging cord for phone and/or camera

3. Frequently used over-the-counter medication, such as for headaches (be sure to store properly and check dates).

4. Handbag organizer insert. A wide variety of these are available, and they can be quite helpful for transferring contents from one handbag or tote to another:

To Keep in Car:

1. Kleenex, paper napkins, wet wipes.

2. Granola bars or other snacks with low perishability that can be stowed in the console compartment.

3. First-aid kit.

4. Road maps (still useful to help get the big picture).

5. Emergency rain gear, such as inexpensive foldable plastic rain ponchos and/or extra umbrellas.

6. Blanket/travel pillow.

7. Trunk carrier or box(es) to corral loose items (handy for groceries too).

Other Travel Tips

  • Rolling the clothing rather than folding it really can save some space and help eliminate wrinkles, at least for some types of garments. This article from Travel & Leisure includes a video demonstrating rolling and folding techniques.
  • If you book hotel rooms online, consider using Ebates and any hotel chain rewards programs you may qualify for. These can add up quickly with frequent travel.

Have a safe and pleasant trip!

© 2018 KT Dunn


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • KT Dunn profile imageAUTHOR

      KT Dunn 

      15 months ago from United States

      There are many RFID products available, and I have no particular recommendation in mind. As an alternative, some people say that aluminum foil works well, too.

    • profile image


      15 months ago

      Can you suggest a product for shielding my wallet from any electronic scanners as I carry tap pay cards? For carrying makeup and cosmetic I use Fabric bags from Yazzii. Their products are quite durable and look good too. The handbag inserts is a good idea too. Will try to get them from Amazon before my next trip :)

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      As I travel often, my small overnight case is often left loaded with a lot of items on your list. It certainly saves time.

    • KT Dunn profile imageAUTHOR

      KT Dunn 

      2 years ago from United States

      I did that too years ago, but much of our traveling these days is related to family and friends in a nearby state. Over time I've developed a routine that allows me to be out the door in less than an hour. :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      2 years ago from USA

      I used to travel frequently on business, often with minimal notice, and this type of go-to bag would have been excellent for that. I did have a written checklist to save time in packing each time I traveled.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)