Maximize your space while road tripping

road trip tips 4

When it comes to taking an extended road trip, it’s crucial to maximize your space. Take only what you need and keep your things organized and properly stored so you know where to find them when you need them.

For my four-month journey through 46 states, I had the luxury of having a huge conversion van, with four regular seats and a bench seat in the back that folded down into a bed, under which I could store all kinds of belongings.

conversion van back seat

Most road-trippers won’t have that much space; however, they also won’t be on the road for that long, so the amount of crap they have to bring is also a lot less.

See previous Road Trip Tips:
#1: Tips for sleeping in your vehicle while traveling
#2: Three must-have gadgets for the budget road tripper
#3: How to eat healthy food on a budget while traveling

Here’s how I arranged the inside of the van. I kept one of the middle-row high-back seats so I had somewhere to sit upright, aside from the front seats. But I removed the other, opening up a big space for storage.

Clothing-wise, I brought the bare minimum – seven tshirts, one or two long-sleeved shirts, a coat, and a few pairs of pants. They all fit inside a big plastic storage bin. I kept the electronics and food in a small plastic dresser.

conversion van inside

Shoes and additional food went under the front of the bed, while dirty laundry, a suitcase (which I ended up not even needing) and gallons of water went under the back of the bed. I was surprised how much I was able to fit. I actually could have taken a lot more if I wanted.

It’s weird, because during the whole four-month trip, I never felt like I was missing out on anything. Once in a while, I wished I had a particular piece of clothing with me, but overall I didn’t miss everything I left behind. That’s yet another reason why I keep trying to become more minimalist.

I’ve also taken road trips in a tiny pickup truck with just the two seats in the front and very little storage. The same principle applies, though – prioritize your needs, maximize whatever space you have based on those priorities, and know where you’ve packed everything so it’s easily accessible.

Inside the Historic Paoay Church and Ruins in the Philippines

Have you ever had any road trip issues related to insufficient space or packing too much (or not packing enough)?


  1. I’ve been thinking about renting a camper and driving around the US so this totally gives me an idea of what it would be like to live in a camper. Being a girl, packing has to be the hardest thing to do. One thing I was wondering about is if you can park a camper van anywhere? Do you have to have a permit or are you required to park at a mobile/camper park?

    1. Hmmm, it might depend on how big it is and whether there are any local ordinances, but I would assume you can park it on the street like any other vehicle.

  2. Have to applaud you on packing light and being very organized. I am less decisive when it comes to clothes, so I end up mostly carrying lots of clothes when traveling (working on choosing right clothes for travel XD)

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