10 Packing Tips for Family Road Trips

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Do you love to road trip, but dread packing? This post is for you. 

We are headed out of town soon, and I am getting a jump start on packing. We are packing for 6 people this road trip- 4 kids, 2 adults. We will be traveling across country for 10+ days. We are making numerous stops along the way, all of this plays an important role into how I plan out my packing.

10 Packing Tips for Road Trips

If you are in the midst of packing, here are a few tips that help me make sure to keep everything in order while remaining sane.

Road trip packing is much different than if you are flying by air. When flying, there are much stricter luggage restrictions – but that being said, you also don’t need many of the things needed when packing for a road trip.

1. Make a Packing List

family packing list pdf help pack for road trips

This seems like an obvious thing to do, but how often I forget to do it! Make a list of things that you need to pack, check them off as you go. Lucky for you, we have a free printable: Packing To Do List. Download it, use it – you can thank us by telling someone about our website.

2. Pack as You Do Laundry

Our trip isn’t for several days, but I am in the midst of laundry hell. Instead of putting the clothes up, I am organizing outfits for the trip and plan to just start packing. The kids can wear whatever is left in the drawers.

3. Bring Versatile Clothes & Shoes

Rather than being super picky about outfits, bring things you can interchange. For example, for our daughter I am packing black leggings and jean shorts with a plethora of shirts that match both. This will allow her to wear her shorts or leggings more than 1 time with a different look each time.

As for shoes, we limit the kids to 2 pairs. I would just have them bring 1 pair, but it NEVER fails we can’t find a shoe and that pack-up pair becomes essential.

4. Reuse Plastic Bags to Help Organize Clothes

I use Target bags to organize my kids clothes before I stick them into a suit case. Depending on the situation, it maybe for “DAY 1″ – this will include all of the kids clothes for that day. This is super helpful when trying to unload the car and decide what can stay in the car and what needs to go into the hotel. Instead of bringing all of the luggage, I can just bring the “DAY X” bag.

Bring a few extra plastic bags to help with misc items like wet swim suits.

5. Packing Toiletries

Confession. Anytime we go out of town, I make a stop at Dollar Tree and pick-up toothbrushes and toothpaste. It’s 4 toothbrushes for a dollar with travel covers, and then another puck for toothpaste. Super cheap, worth the money – as it guarantees the kids will have toothbrushes.

While at Dollar Tree, I also pick-up freezer bags (16 for $1). I place anything that may spill into a freezer bag before putting into our toiletry bag.

6. Medicine

We always make sure to travel with medicine for any common needs. Therefore, we always carry: children’s Tylenol, Tylenol, chewable Pepto Bismol and Relpax (for migraines).

For prescription medications, using the daily pill sorter to keep everything organized. This one is neat – it allows you to sort your medication day and night, perfect for packing and keeping organized (so much better than all of those bottles!).

Don’t forget to pack a small first aid kid that include band-aids and Neosporin.

7. Pack a Collapsible Hamper

I had a collapsible hamper a few road trips ago, and just shoved it into the car – not thinking much about it. Little did I know, that thing would be a God send when it came to knowing what clothes were dirty and which were clean. If you are on the road for a large number of days, like we will be – and chances are you will need to do wash – well all you have to do is take the hamper to the laundromat. So simple and easy, wish I had known to do this sooner. (I prefer a hamper that zips at the top – this keeps clothes from spilling out.)

8. Use Pillowcases for Storage

With 4 kids, each has to have their own pillow when we road trip. We allow them to bring a small blanket (typically these are throw size blankets) to have in the car and take into the hotel room. We have them pack these in the pillowcases which makes for easy transporting.

9. Keep a List of Electronics

This may sound silly if you aren’t traveling with kids – but if you have kids – this is almost a necessity if you want to keep everything in order.  Make a list of all electronics that you are taking, as you are packing.

In the car, we don’t limit the kids screen time. Each has a tablet, the older ones have laptops and smart phones. There are cameras and cords and all of that is just for the kids. As we go in and out of hotel rooms and family’s homes – it’s essential to make sure we aren’t leaving anything behind.

Having a list handy of all of the electronics will help make sure that nothing is left behind.

10. Packing Snacks and Drinks

Snacks and drinks on road trips go hand-in-hand. Pack these ahead of time if you want to save money. Those gas station prices are ridiculous!

Before each trip, I buy the kids a box or Capri Sun Flavored Water. I also have a bag full of snacks, both healthy and unhealthy. We start with the healthy and then when the kids get out of hand, we bribe them with the unhealthy.

We do try to stop at a grocery store a few times during long trips, where I replenish the snack bag.

So there are my 10 tips for packing for a family road trip. Any others that I remember as I continue to pack-up for our next adventure I will add to the blog.

Until the, I’d love to hear from you.

What Packing Tips Can You Share in Regards to Packing for a Family Road Trip?

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