The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Sharon at Mom of 6.
You’ve made your travel plans, booked your hotel, ordered your tickets for the attractions you plan to visit, and now all that’s left to do is to pack up the kids in the car and get started on your road trip adventure! But how do you keep the car organized so that you can find exactly what you need when it’s time to check into the hotel? How do you keep the kids gear together and organized so that their things aren’t all over floor of the car during the entire adventure?
Well- as a tried-and-true road-tripping mom of six- I’ve got some tips for you on how to organize your car for a family road trip:
Packing Clothing, Toiletries, and Other Vacation Essentials
I prefer using a bin and bag system to pack and keep our car organized. Each bin can hold two shopping bags inside, and in each bag- I pack one day of clothing for my entire family. When we arrive at a hotel, I simply need to unpack one clothing bag, a bag containing pajamas, a toiletries bag, and possibly a swim bag. Now I realize that I drive a car that’s larger than most (but then again, the size of my family is larger than most!) but a bin and bag system can work in lots of different kinds of cars- especially SUVs and minivans. Simply measure the trunk space that you have to work with, and order bins that meet your size requirements.
Organizing the Inside of the Car
A few years ago I purchased these fantastic blue bins that fit between two kids seats, and can hold all of their gear. It has mesh pockets in the front that hold their water bottles, plus tons of pockets on the outside to hold small items. Inside of the bins the kids will pack their books. DVDs, paper and pencils, a deck of cards, craft supplies, and anything else they bring along to keep them busy while we’re on the road. In each row of seats I hang a plastic grocery bag that they can use for garbage, and I encourage them to keep their rows nice and tidy along the way. Underneath each child’s seat I have another plastic bin where I put a blanket, sweatshirt, hat, sunglasses, and where the kids keep their shoes while riding in the car. They can access anything that they need on their own before we hop out of the car at a rest stop or even to go hiking.
Organizing Vacation Paperwork
I keep a filing box in my car with a labeled folder for each section of our road trip. Inside of the folders I can file tickets, brochures, maps, hotel confirmations, and I can also file all of my receipts for each destination. That way it’s easy for me to check in once we get home and see how we did against our travel budget.
Car Cooler and Snacks
I like to use a cooler that fits on the floor of the car in front of the kids seats so that we can access food and drinks while traveling (it would be too difficult to do this with the cooler in the trunk of the car). I like to pack our cooler with a basic road trip breakfast- bagels with cream cheese, yogurts, small containers of juice, and then in a small plastic food bin (that I also keep on the floor)- I’ll pack cold cereal, granola bars, bowls, plastic spoons and knives, as well drinks that don’t need to be cold- like bottles of water or G2 for the kids.
Want to See Road Trip Organization in Action?
I’ve created a series of short videos for the Momof6 You Tube channel to show you how I plan, organize, and pack for a family road trip. Here’s one that shows you the bin/bag system (and you can see the “massiveness” that is my family car!)
You can follow our Great American Road Trip adventure this summer by reading our Road Trip Diaries on Tuesdays and Fridays over at Momof6!
If you get a chance, I hope you’ll stop by to see me at Momof6 – a place where I write about organizing your home, using a family calendar, creating household routines, hosting at-home birthday parties, and holding a DIY summer camp! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter (@sharonmomof6), and Pinterest!