Since I am on vacation this week, I decided to focus not on a room in the house but share how I prepare for family road trips. It takes many steps to create an organized system, but the leg work, in the beginning, makes travel so much easier. I promise the hard work pays off in the long run.
Whether you have kids or are traveling alone, these tips will work for anyone. Brooke, my mom, and I all use these, and they make packing an enjoyable process and get you excited about your adventure instead of stressing about how to prepare.
So, let's get packing so we can get on the road.
Six Easy Tips to Organize Packing
Tip One: Pull Clothes You Know You Are Going to Wear Early
If you know certain items you or the kids will wear, pull them to the side a week before you pack. For example, you don't want to put clothes in the kids' closets, and then they end up wearing them the day before you leave! Also, you do not want to be doing laundry the night before you go!
Tip Two: Create a Central Place to Pack
Find a centrally located place in your home that allows you to gather items and keep clothes organized. We have a large dining room table, so this is where I like to spread things out. If you plan on packing a week before you leave, a spare bedroom might be a better location so you can close the door and not have to look at the mess.
Tip Three: Make a List
I'm a list person! A list gives me comfort! I would suggest making a list of every place you will go to and what everyone will wear. This checklist helps you to make sure you don't forget anything. You can also give a list to your kids if they pack their clothes. Again, listing out items is a significant help, so the kids don't forget anything.
For a list: you can either make your list or head to Pinterest! Pinterest has a million checklists for any place you are going to help you pack. Here are a few links if you are vacationing soon.
Click the Picture Below for the Link:
Tip Four: Use Ziplocs
Now that you know what everyone is going to wear, and a place to organize the clothes. It's now time to pack! I would love to use the fancy packing cubes but packing for 14 days, and with four people, the cost of packing cubes would get pretty pricey. So, we use two-gallon Ziploc bags that work great for our family.
I put each person's clothes in a bag, label the front, and put a sticker on top with the number of the day.
Remember when I said the legwork is worth it in the end. Well, this is what I mean! When you are getting ready in the morning, you throw the kids their bags, and everyone can get ready in minutes.
You don't make a mess digging for clothes, the kids don't take forever to figure out what to wear, suitcases don't become a hot mess, and socks, undergarments, and small items don't get mixed up or lost.
It's a lot of work initially, but I promise you will love life when it comes to the many days you are traveling, especially if you are taking a long road trip.
Tip Five: Vertical Packing with Trunks
We usually take a long road trip during the summer, and we have found that trunks are the easiest to use for packing. When spending a long time on the road, you are in and out of hotels. We found that we can pack more items in the trunks, which makes for more accessible organization, and they are easy to stack in the car. You could also stack them on a cargo carrier if you have a small vehicle.
However, the best part is that you can vertically pack with trunks. You can see the stickers and days, so your luggage is neat and orderly throughout the entire trip.
Tip Six: Toiletry Bags for Each Person
We pack all our clothes together in trunks, but toiletry bags are another story! Everyone has their bag, so it's easy to take turns in the bathroom, and every organizes their all personal items.
Also, I don't use travel-sized soaps, etc., for road trips. Travel-sized soaps are about a dollar each. Add several days and four people, and the prices get way more expensive than just purchasing regular prized shampoos, conditioners, and soaps. So just put them in Ziploc bags, buy dollar luffas, and you are ready!
A Few Extras That Are Family Favorites for Road Trips:
Pack Snacks and Water
Packed snacks and water save a ton of time and money! If the kids get hungry, you don't have to stop, and you will save time! Before packing snacks, we would spend 20 plus minutes in convenience stores trying to figure out what snacks the kids wanted. It was a HUGE waste of time, and we ended up spending a ton of money too. So make a trip to the grocery store before you leave and pat yourself on the back when you give the kids a snack without having to stop!
Make It Fun
I make little gifts for the kids when we arrive at certain places to give the kids something to look forward to while on the road.
Here is an example:
I put a corny saying on a bag and then fill it with a small gift. So, for example, in this bag, I had Rolos. Silly and corny, yes, but is it something that the kids will remember, you bet!
Audible Books Will Be Your Best Friend
When you are driving many, many hours, it can get pretty dull! Cam and I always listen to audible books to keep us awake on long trips. We usually go with a mystery or suspense to keep us on our toes. It gives us something to talk about and solve while we are driving. The Silent Patient was our all time favorite.
Living in Texas, usually, the longest part is getting out of the state! One way to make it feel like we are making progress is I create a countdown of the hours for the places we are driving. For example, we are going to Memphis. So my first check-off will be for 9 hours. Then, as each hour passes, we mark it off, and it makes us feel productive!
Road trips are our absolute favorite during the summer. Nothing is better than seeing our beautiful country and the heritage and culture that makes the USA so wonderful.
I hope these tips help you to make packing for your next road trip a cinch!
We are on our way home. Pray for us; we have 15 hours in the car full of family fun! It's going to be tough! Lord help my soul!
If you have any tips or tricks with road trips, please DM me at @theoldrivernest or comment below. I would love to hear from you.
Happy Tuesday friend,