How to Pack for a Road Trip


How to Pack for a Road Trip

When you are traveling by airplane you have to pack using sturdy luggage pieces such as suitcases and duffel bags that will withstand of the wear and tear that can happen during baggage handling. But when traveling by car I find that I can be much more organized and efficient if I pack for a road trip using a system of bins and shopping bags to hold all of our clothes, toiletries, and other items that we will need for our adventure.

Road Trip Bins How to Pack for a Road Trip

While I drive a rather large-sized vehicle and have room for lots of bins, I also need to take a lot of stuff with us on a road trip for our family of 8! But a bin and bag system will work in any sized car if you find bins to properly fit your space (and they especially work nicely in minivans and SUVs).

Start by measuring the trunk space you have to work with, paying particular attention to the depth of that space, and find bins that will fit your needs. I found these 6-packs of Sterilite bins at Walmart.com (which is where I’ve always found the best pricing on organizing bins). Because I didn’t have enough room to fit four of these bins across the back of my car, I also purchased him some smaller-sized bins to maximize my space and allow me to keep everything neat containerized and organized.

In each bin I can fit two shopping bags worth of clothing or other items that I want to take on this trip. And within one shopping bag I can pack one day of shorts and tees for my entire family. One bag will hold everyone’s PJs, one bag will hold a pair of jeans for each person (in case it gets cold), or all of our rain jackets, a stack of sweatshirts, etc. The idea is to compartmentalize my packing and know exactly where everything is, so I can find it immediately when I need it.

Packing Toiletries

Another tip that I have when it comes to packing toiletries is to not put everything into one large toiletries bag. Separate your items into two categories- items that you’ll need every day, such as shampoo, hair combs, toothbrushes, etc,  and items that you’ll need to take with you “just in case” like first aid items and some medications. That way when you arrive at a hotel you only need to take in the bag of items that you know that you’ll need that evening, and the rest of the toiletries can stay in the car until you need it.

Want to See Road Trip Organization in Action?

I created this YouTube video that shares exactly how I plan and organize our family road trip…. check it out:

If you’re planning your own Great American Road Trip the summer you might want to check out these other posts that offer tips and advice for planning road trips:

How to Organize a Family Road Trip

Are We There Yet? Mapping the Trip

Please be sure to stop by here on Tuesdays and Fridays to check out our Road Trip Diaries and follow our road trip adventures this summer!

Sharons Signture How to Pack for a Road Trip

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Erin {Home Everyday} July 17, 2013 at 11:11 am

Your tips are always so amazing and easy to follow. Thank you for sharing this. We are planning some road trips this Fall and I need to pin this!
Erin {Home Everyday} recently posted..I Was Tired of Being a Taskmaster So I Made a Chore Chart


2 Beth July 17, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Having the tubs is a good idea. I don’t think they will fit in our tiny car, but keeping the swim stuff seperate in a bag ready to go first is trick I learned a few years ago when we would get to our destination before the room was ready. I look forward to hearing about your road trip.


3 The Mommy July 21, 2013 at 8:23 am

Great idea! We rarely road trip with all 4 kids, but when we travel (we’re heading to Disney later this summer), I pack an outfit for each child (including undies and socks) into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. You can squish all of the air out (which does kinda wrinkle everything, but still) and they can pick a bag with their name on it and get dressed! Voila! I also make sure to put pj’s on top so they can get ready for bed while I set everything up for the next day.
The Mommy recently posted..Swimming Lessons


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