Headed for Myrtle Beach? Pack the Car Like a Pro

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If you're driving to Myrtle Beach, you definitely want to have enough room in the car for everything you need on vacation, but also enough room to travel in comfort and bring home some souvenirs from the beach. But don't worry. Smart planning will make packing the car a cinch.

Bring just what you need
Let's face it, you can simply leave some items at home. You won't need cold-weather items such as heavy coats or shoes — average temperatures in Myrtle Beach are in the high 80s from May through September. And you may not need to bring clothing for every day of your trip. Many Myrtle Beach hotels offer laundry services or facilities so you can wash clothes and bathing suits while you're here. Just check with your hotel before you pack.

Rent or buy when you arrive
Leaving bulky items such as beach chairs sand toys out of the car will save a ton of space. Beach chairs and umbrellas are available to rent up and down the Grand Strand, so you don't need to bring your own. You can also buy inexpensive chairs and umbrellas at one of many retailers in the Myrtle Beach area, then donate them to another user when you leave.
As for beach toys, several local discount stores sell inexpensive sets of plastic toys, so you don't have to take up space in the car with your own from home. Water toys are available this way, too — look for boogie boards, inflatables and more at Target, Walmart or one of several local toy stores.

Pro packing  
As for actually packing the car, there are some guidelines for getting everything to fit comfortably. First, make sure you clean out unneeded items from the car (but leave your emergency kit inside). Remember that whatever you put in first comes out last, so leave items you may need on the road to pack last. Big and heavy items should be at the bottom or back of the cargo area or trunk. Consolidate younger kids' items into a shared suitcase to conserve space, and pack an extra outfit for each of them in a separate bag within easy reach in case a change of clothes is needed on the road. Pack car snacks in a rigid cooler, not a bag, so they won't get crushed during the drive (plus it will help them stay fresher). Make sure you have paper towels, and plastic garbage bags within reach in case of mid-drive messes.

(posted 3/31/14)