Best Family Road Trip Organization Tips

Happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July week! Since the 4th of July was mid-week, it did feel like the celebration carried through all week long. Anyway, today, I am back with Keri for another Clear the Clutter Challenge! We are talking about family road trip organization and the timing is perfect for all of our summer time travels! I will share my favorite mom hacks and tips with you today!

Family Road Trip Organization

This past week we spent time at the lake and while we were only an hour away from home, we still had to pack up like we were taking a longer road trip. Is it just my family or does yours also pack a ton of stuff when you have to drive for more than an hour away?! Fortunately, we have our road trip packing techniques down to a pretty well oiled machine.

Designate a Staging Area in the Home

I usually start packing for a trip a week before we leave. I’ve talked before that I try to do laundry just one day a week. So, after laundry day I start setting aside clothes for a trip. Once something is packed and ready to go, I put it in our designated area of the home for luggage. We start storing everything in our living room corner. Everyone in the family knows about this spot and they all add things to the pile as the week goes on.

It is great to have a visual of everything that is packed and I can get a sense for what is missing. Plus, when it is time to leave, my family knows exactly where to go to help with hauling stuff to the car.

Decide on a Packing Method and Stick to It

There are several different ways to pack for a family. I know some people prefer to pack all of their family members stuff together while others prefer to pack for each family member individually.

Our family usually packs all of the kids clothes in one suitcase and my husband and I in another suitcase (or two!). There isn’t a right or wrong way to do this as long as you decide on a packing method and stick to it. It makes it a whole lot easier if you have a set method that everyone knows. Then you don’t have the issue of no one knowing where anything is located once you get to your final destination.

We have our road trip packing method pretty routine that we have designated bags for certain items. Everyone knows which bag is our swim bag, which coolers we bring, and the specific suitcases for everyone in the family.

**We also have the kids pack ONE back pack full of whatever they want to bring. We just make sure we know what goes inside (for the little ones at least) because we have been in the situation that a favorite stuffed animal was left behind.

Stock up on Essentials

I was certainly not always as organized for a road trip, but after three kids and miles and miles on the road, I’ve learned a few things. We always bring garbage bags, paper products and first aid on our trips!

You can never have enough plastic bags on a road trip. We use them to collect garbage and throw in dirty shoes or clothes. I also always have paper towels, tissues, baby wipes and band aids in our car! We’ve learned the hard way on not being stocked up on these cars.

Make Ahead Snacks

I have shared my love of making snacks ahead and a family road trip is a perfect reason to prepare snacks! I always bring some snacks that we don’t typically buy (think treats!) as well as a lot of our snack favorites.

Healthy Snack Ideas for Family Road TripsThis was our road trip haul for our spring trip to Washington, D.C. We usually stay in places that have mini fridges, so the left over cold foods are able to be used throughout the trip.

One of the best road trip inventions is these Snackeez cups. Have you seen them? You fill the bottom with a drink and the top portion with a snack. We have had several of these over the years.

Kids Travel Cups SNACKZ6-2 Snackeez Drink and Snack Holder

The snacks stay near the driver’s co-pilot, usually me as my husband likes to drive.  We always keep a cooler with drinks and cold food and and then a bag filled with dry goods.

Happy Kids = Happy Drive

While the journey can be just as fun as the destination, sometimes traveling with young kids is more about survival than enjoying the journey’s moments. So, we have come to realize that allowing kids to have all the things to keep them occupied and happy is what is necessary. The kids end up watching more movies and playing more games on their devices that we would allow in a typical day. But, the kids know this is a travel exception!

How to get organized for a family road trip

The kids being occupied often mean my husband and I can actually catch up and have a conversation or two.

Mom Hacks for Family Road Trips
Sometimes napping is the best road trip activity!


We make sure to have several rest stops along the way so that everyone can stretch their feet. Sometimes we allow them to pick out a treat, if it is a very long road trip.

Post Road Trip Organization

All good things must come to an end and that means you come home from a trip sooner or later. Be sure to check out my post on things I do immediately after I come home from a trip!


Road trips are family memories in the making, so the good and the bad are all part of the fun! How do you get organized for family road trips?

Next month, Keri and I will be back to talk about Kids Clothes Organization! For more Clear the Clutter inspiration, be sure to join our Clear the Clutter Facebook Group!




  1. July 9, 2018 / 11:04 am

    I love those Snackeez cups and wish they had been around when my kids were little! Guess I’ll have to get them for road trips with my grandson. Great tips!

  2. July 10, 2018 / 7:31 am

    These are fabulous tips! Thanks so much for the ideas for this.

    • Jaclyn
      July 11, 2018 / 8:24 pm

      Your welcome Shan!

  3. July 10, 2018 / 7:38 am

    I also prefer packing ahead of time and have a designated spot in the house. It makes packing so much easier!

    • Jaclyn
      July 11, 2018 / 8:23 pm

      The designated spot really helps us! We have forgotten less stuff by using this process.

  4. July 10, 2018 / 7:44 am

    Great tips and I love the sound of those cups! My nieces and nephew could really use those, I think. My family always let us take a backpack of things we wanted when we were traveling by car too – and I pretty much do the same thing now just with more “grown up” accessories. LOL 🙂


    • Jaclyn
      July 11, 2018 / 8:22 pm

      I pack my own grown up back pack too!! We all need a bag of our own “stuff”.

  5. July 10, 2018 / 8:29 am

    We have a road trip coming up! The hardest thing for me is that we usually pack individual suitcases, but then we have to drag everything in to each hotel we stay at. It would be better if we could pack by the day or something!

    • Jaclyn
      July 11, 2018 / 8:20 pm

      I’ve seen that idea of packing everyone’s stuff in one suitcase for each day or a few days. I wonder if it would be easier?!

  6. Rebecca
    July 10, 2018 / 9:16 am

    I remember road trips w/ the littles. It was a week of planning just to pack. Now we travel in only carry-on luggage and take minimal items as adults. So quick. Nice read and organization tips.

    • Jaclyn
      July 11, 2018 / 8:19 pm

      Yes I am always starting a week in advance. The preparation is sometimes just as long as the actual trip:)

  7. July 10, 2018 / 11:00 am

    I have 4 littles and it is such a CHORE to pack for a trip! Even just a day trip! This is a really great list of suggestions! Thanks for sharing.

    • Jaclyn
      July 11, 2018 / 8:19 pm

      I totally agree that day trips can often require just as much stuff. Especially when a trip to the pool or beach is involved!

  8. July 10, 2018 / 11:58 am

    Fabulous tips – and we might be going on a trip in September so I will be saving this to reread as we get closer to that date.

    I also like to keep a stash of items always ready to go in a bag (napkins, plates, tablecloth, etc). One less thing for me to prep (especially for day trips).

    • Jaclyn
      July 11, 2018 / 8:18 pm

      That is a GREAT idea to have a stash of paper products in a bag! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Kimberly
    July 10, 2018 / 12:22 pm

    Great tips! I am always the one to pack the night before our trip and forget something haha.

    • Jaclyn
      July 11, 2018 / 8:18 pm

      Oh yes there is so much stuff to pack that inevitably something always gets forgotten!

  10. July 10, 2018 / 12:26 pm

    Such great tips! Road tripping with kids is no joke! Make ahead snacks are definitely a life saver!

    • Jaclyn
      July 11, 2018 / 8:17 pm

      It really is no joke! It is certainly more like a trip than a relaxing vacation..ha!

  11. July 10, 2018 / 12:40 pm

    I LOVE the idea to pack some healthy snacks in there. That is definitely something I plan to do. I always have all of the salty things but zero fruits and veggies.

    • Jaclyn
      July 11, 2018 / 8:17 pm

      I have a hungry captive audience so it’s easier to get them to agree to the healthy stuff:)

  12. July 10, 2018 / 1:41 pm

    These are some really good tips for road trips! I’m the worst about getting everything organized to go anywhere and I invariably always forget something! Those Snackeez cups are the BOMB, by the way! I see some of those arriving at my door ASAP!

    • Jaclyn
      July 11, 2018 / 8:16 pm

      Yes the Snackeez cups are pretty amazing! Certainly keeps my car a little cleaner on long trips:)

  13. July 10, 2018 / 8:42 pm

    All of these are great. The snack prep is a must, stopping to grab snacks are so expensive. I like the idea of having one spot as the designated area.

  14. July 11, 2018 / 7:50 am

    We just went on a large family vacation of 24 people last month. These are great tips! I totally agree with stocking up and planning early!

    • Jaclyn
      July 11, 2018 / 8:14 pm

      Wow that is quite a vacation!! I can only imagine how much planning was required.

  15. August 1, 2018 / 1:45 am

    Hi, These are some really good tips for road trips! Road tripping with kids is no joke! Make ahead snacks are definitely a life saver! I have 2 little’s and it is such a chore to pack for a trip! Even just a day trip! This is a really great list of suggestions! Thanks for sharing.

  16. August 13, 2018 / 5:52 pm

    I love all these tips (especially the snacks, first aid, and snackeez) and will be putting them to use next month when we travel!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.