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Summer is here, and hitting the road is on the agenda for many families this year. We are one of those road-trippin’ families, and we’ve had some major highs and major lows to our family travels. One of the biggest failures we’ve had came from packing our vehicle incorrectly. What do I mean by that? I’ve got the answer for you, so keep reading for some of my best packing tips for road trips.

Best Packing Tips for Road Trips

First of all, let me just say that these tips are my best tips. I’m always looking for feedback and ways to tweak my process, but these are what works for my family. If this doesn’t work for you, that is ok. I’d love to hear what does! Feel free to adapt them for your crew as necessary, and please let me know what you do differently so we can all learn from each other!

Let Kids Help

Now that my girls are old enough to help me pack, I let them. I’m still in charge of overseeing the packing because goodness knows six-year-olds are bound to forget something. However, letting them take charge of their belongings goes a long way to encouraging their independence. One day, I will not be packing for them, so I need to teach them while I can. One of the ways we do this is by using zip-top bags with an outfit for each day inside. It seems like a lot of work on the front end, but it helps mom see what’s clean and what isn’t by the end of the trip!

Organize Snacks

Great snacks are essential to road trips, and my kids are no different in that regard. We try to maintain a balance of treats in our lives, and that balance extends to road trips. Dividing up snacks like,  into portioned containers helps keep our car cleaner and the constant snacking at a more manageable level.  Another big tip is to choose drinks that are small and resealable. This also helps cut down on messes in the car.

Pick the Right Entertainment

Next, I work with my girls, again, to pick out their entertainment. Now that they’re old enough for school, I am doing my best to keep up some semblance of learning during the summer (some being the key word here). The best way I know to do this is to let them pick out workbooks and reading books related to their skill levels. I also include coloring pages, colors, stickers, and other fun items that engage their fine motor skills. Once we’ve exhausted all those efforts, we turn to our stash of DVDs. Bringing electronics? Don’t forget the charging cords!

Bonus Tips

These next few tips are a conglomeration of random hacks I’ve accumulated through the years. Neil and I have been traveling by car since our early years together, so we’ve adjusted our Road tripping looks different when you add kids to the mix!

  • Have a trash receptacle of some kind inside your vehicle. There are plenty of cute Pinterest ideas out there! My easy hack was taking some leftover Velcro and attaching our small trash can to the tray between the front seats, making it within reach for everyone in the vehicle!
  • Baby wipes aren’t just for babies! They clean spills, remove stains, wipe hands, windows, seats, you name it! I’ve been keeping a pack in my car since 2011!
  • Invest in a seatback organizer! I didn’t realize how much we needed ours until the “Mommy, I can’t reach it!” cries were banished.
  • Making multiple stops? Pack one big suitcase for the main destination and pack a smaller suitcase for overnight stays. Make sure you pack it last so it’s easiest to get to!