How To Conquer Packing For A Road Trip With Kids
In the earlier post of this series, I shared how to best prepare your family for an upcoming road trip. You need to be mentally prepared for the meltdowns, frequent stops, emergencies and knowing that you need extra time for everything.
How you pack the car used for the road trip is utmost important.
You need to make sure everyone in the vehicle is comfortable, have their favorite items stored away safely, not having anything go missing in the middle of the road trip and be able to grab it quickly when an emergency arises.
- The next post in this series will be a DIY tutorial on converting a diaper box into a storage bin to store things in the car!
I searched online a lot, especially on Pinterest for creative tips/hacks to utilize in our car. We used our 2018 CR-V for the road trip. My favorite car this far. The back seat could fit two bulky car seats and I could sit in the middle between the car seats.
There were plenty of suggestions online about organizing the car, however, there were many that had to be purchased.
We had a lot of money budgeted for the trip so we wanted to make sure we don’t spend much on the car necessities.
Before you get started with packing, have the car checked and make sure it has everything needed to sustain a long distance round trip.
Recently had its oil changed? How are the tires? Are the regular maintenances up to date?
I recommend you to pack the car several days before. So, you wouldn’t be jamming the car at the last minute. Have the suitcases, toys & activities, and car necessities ready ahead of time. You should be fine doing the snacks the night before or the day of the road trip. I will cover the quick and healthy snack ideas and toy and activity ideas in this series, so stay tuned!
Since the messes are inevitable, I covered the back seat with a big beach towel. When we returned back home from the road trip, I removed the towel and simply shook it off outside. It saved me from having to vacuum the crumbs left behind by the kids.
I got this over the door shoe organizer and cut it in half. I put the bottom half underneath Ocean’s car seat to hide brand new toys in case of meltdowns. The top half with the holes was behind the driver’s seat originally, however we removed it at the last minute. It felt crowded especially when the driver’s seat is fully back closer to the back seat (Mr. Tropical is tall). I really wanted this one to work because I was excited about storing some of Coral’s toys there. However, it wasn’t happening because I didn’t want Coral to feel cramped.
I placed the storage bin converted from a diaper box in the backseat between both car seats. The storage bin held toys, books, coloring books, kids’ snacks, and empty snack containers. I loved the storage bin!
Creative ways to save space in the car and keep it organized:
- Put blankets, travel pillows, and flip-flops under the driver and the passenger seats. I also put our jackets down there so if you have some space, I’d suggest you to do the same. It helps to clear the floor in the car and having things in their place.
- If you are bringing a stroller, use a stretch cord with carabiner hooks to hold the stroller’s side upright against the backseat so you’d have more room and better access to your suitcases. This is one of my favorite tricks.
- I used carabiner hooks to attach onto the headrest an umbrella, a grocery bag with a bunch of plastic grocery bags in it and the diaper bag to make them easily accessible.
- I had a grocery bag readily available right by me and put trash in it. I toss the trash bag at every stop.
You should have these in the car if not already:
- car insurance info
- paper towels
- cleaning wipes
- hand sanitizer
- plastic grocery bags (for trash)
- ziploc bags
- first aid kit (I had band-aids, children’s meds, gauze, and Neosporin in a mini cloth bag)
- a flashlight
- gum and mint
- coins and/or dollars for tolls
- extra chargers for phones/cameras
In the diaper bag in addition to what you normally have in it:
- extra socks
- mittens and beanies (if it is cold where you’re going)
- pain meds
- several plastic grocery bags
- hand wipes
- extra diapers and wipes
- pen & paper
We brought three suitcases, one big and two small ones. Our vacation was a week and a half and we were a part of my brother’s wedding. The big one stored Mr. Tropical and I’s clothes while one of the small ones had the kids’ clothes. Another small one had our toiletries.
Since the stroller’s side is attached upright against the backseat, I was able to place the big suitcase on the floor in the back with one of the smaller suitcases atop. Then the toiletries one stood beside the big suitcase. We also took a case of water bottles. That’s all we had in the back.
I can’t really share about what was in the suitcases because we weren’t organized in this part. Whoops! So, pack the suitcases whatever you’d like or you could use these tips. If I was flying or just needed to reduce the number of suitcases to take along, I’d pack smarter!
I had the toiletries separately in Ziploc bags in case of spills. Since we didn’t fly, I took our full-sized shampoo/conditioner, soap, etc.
When in doubt, just pack it in!
What is your go-to packing for a road trip with kids tip for traveling?
Road trip with kids series:
- How to Best Prepare For A Road Trip With Kids
- How To Conquer Packing For A Road Trip With Kids
- DIY Convert Diaper Box To Storage Bin For Traveling In Car With Kids
- Quick And Healthy Road Trip Snacks For Kids And Adults
- Easy And Cheap DIY Car Trip Activities For Kids
- The Best Fun Road Trip Toys And Activities For Happy Kids
- Family Road Trip Checklist To Make Your Trip Enjoyable