Packing for a Road Trip- The Inside of the Car


How to pack the inside of your car

Once you’ve figured out what to pack in terms of clothes, shoes, toiletries, and everything you’ll put in the trunk/luggage area of your car, the next place to tackle is how to pack the inside of your car…. so that you’ll have what you need to keep the kids entertained, snacks and drinks to keep everyone happy, and a way to keep it all organized throughout the trip. And for me- it’s when the inside of the car gets all messy, dirty and disorganized on a road trip that makes me crazy- so I’ve worked hard to create a system to keep things neat and organized so the kids can find what they are looking for, and have a great time during all those hours that were spending on the road. So here is how to organize the inside of your car when packing for a road trip:

Kids Car Organizers

Inside of the Car Organization blue bin Packing for a Road Trip  The Inside of the Car

Kids Car Organizer (affiliate link) Packing for a Road Trip  The Inside of the Car

These blue bins are totally awesome- it has lots of compartments inside, so one bin can easily be shared between two siblings. You will need to have an extra seat between the two kids in order to use these bins- and they are secured using the seat belt which means they won’t move around or fall off of the seat. Each bin has two cup holders and it also comes with a lid that can be flipped over and used as a food tray, which is a really nice feature.

Under The Seat Bins

Inside of the Car Organization Under seat bin Packing for a Road Trip  The Inside of the Car

Underneath each child’s seat we use a plastic container to hold additional travel gear such as a nice cozy fuzzy blanket that they can snuggle up with in the car, a pair of sunglasses, a sweatshirt, and it’s where they can also store their shoes (which they love to take off when they get into the car) as well as the extra pair of shoes that they have with them on the trip. This bin keeps all of this clutter off of the floor and makes it just so much neater on the floor of the car.

A Great DVD Holder

Inside of the Car Organization DVD Holder Packing for a Road Trip  The Inside of the Car

I love these over-the-headrest, velcro-strapped DVD player holder. It is easy to shift the location of the DVD player if I want to move it from the driver’s headrest to the passenger’s headrest, and when sitting in the passenger seat, the smooth strap doesn’t bother my head. And the design of the holder also makes it easy for the kids to access the DVD player, switch out movies, etc.

A Place to Put the Garbage

Inside of the Car Organization Garbage Bags Packing for a Road Trip  The Inside of the Car

Each row has its own garbage bag- it’s just a plastic shopping bag from the grocery store- and this really helps keep the car neat. I love that the kids don’t keep passing their garbage up to me to throw away for them- they can take care of it themselves! And when we arrive at our destination in the evening, they can pick up any little wrappers or anything that’s on the floor around them, and put it in a garbage bag and then dispose of bag as we walk into the hotel, making the car nice and neat to start the next day.

Backpacks to Carry Items Into the Hotel

Inside of the Car Organization Backpack Packing for a Road Trip  The Inside of the Car

Each row also has a backpack that we keep underneath the seat, and when we arrive at hotel for the evening each child can pick up their own electronics, their chargers, their headphones, and anything else that they want to carry into the hotel, and they can put it into the backpack, zip it up, and then one of the kids carries the backpack into the hotel. The next morning when it’s time to check out of the hotel, they are responsible for finding their own electronics, headphones, and chargers, and putting all of it back into the backpack to return the items to the blue bins once we get back into the car.

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

How to Pack for a Family Road Trip

The Best Car Coolers for a Road 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 Packing for a Road Trip  The Inside of the Car

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Beth July 31, 2013 at 1:15 pm

I really like that the straps in to the seat, I worry about things sliding or flying around if we had an accident. We keep a small trash can tucked in between the seats with extra bags inside, each gas station stop we pull out that days trash and voila a clean bag ready for the next leg of the trip. I’m really enjoying your road trip diaries and look forward to the next report.
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2 Sharon
Twitter: sharonmomof6
August 1, 2013 at 8:04 am

Thanks so much for all of your comments Beth! Having a garbage bag for each row of kids is a lifesaver for me, and really helps to keep the car neat!


3 cami January 29, 2014 at 12:37 pm

I used your tips on our recent road trip to florida (from new jersey) and they really helped keep me sane and organized.


4 MrsAiselet February 9, 2014 at 9:16 pm

I found your blog while searching Pinteret looking for vacation packing tips. WOW! Thank you for taking the time to review, comment, and give advice on getting ready for a family road trip with a big family! I have a family of 6 and due to budgets driving is the best way to vacation I’m planning our 2nd family vacation now I wish I had found your blog 2 years back when we drove down to Disney :) thanks again I am using your tips :)


5 Sharon
Twitter: sharonmomof6
February 11, 2014 at 8:49 am

Thanks so much for leaving a comment! I love to plan and take road trips with my family…. we are in the midst of planning a trip to Florida now! I will actually be launching a new site next month that will focus exclusively on family road trips- so stay tuned! :)


6 Nicole Stanley April 21, 2014 at 6:05 am

Nice post!!It takes planning and a sense of humor to make road trips fun with kids.You have shared nice tips and tricks on how to pack wisely.thanks!
Nicole Stanley recently posted..Brakes


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