Top organizing tips for a road trip



road trip

Planning on a road trip?

If you’ve got a road trip in your future, our top tips for an organized road trip can make your next road trip simple and stress free! These tips are pretty specific to our type of road trip – meaning we generally stay at an Air BnB and are pretty low key about our travels though being foodies – finding great places it eat is one off our main goals. Our family does several road trips a year so this is what we’ve learned!

Our top tips for an organized road trip....

Create a travel bag!

This is a generally a good size tote with a flat bottom that stays packed for our road trips with what we consider to be essentials. I love our Scout bag which is the perfect size for our car and holds everything we need. I keep it on an upper shelf in the laundry room and pull it down a few days before our trip. If you have kids, creating a separate ‘fun’ travel bag is key as well – when our daughter was younger, her bag had new books (and some old favorites), crafts, and toys that were doled out over the course of the trip.

What lives in the bag?

Some things just stay in the bag all the time and some things we add as we get close…

Scout travel bag
road trip
Erin Condren planner

Create a checklist

Use the notes app on your phone (or old school paper like this amazing Erin Condren planner) with everything you need to make sure you bring no matter how obvious. I usually share the digital note with my husband so he can add or check off as well. There’s always so much to do before you leave so a checklist means that not only do you get the satisfaction of checking it off, you are sure to have everything you need with you. Though, in our experience, except for key things like glasses, prescriptions, etc. you can buy pretty much anything you need on your travels. Your checklists can also include research and events! My current list includes a trip to NYC with shows we want to see and places we want to eat along with my packing list and reminders to confirm our reservations and double check dates.

Pro tip: Prep everything ahead of time! I usually start prepping up to a week or two in advance especially if I need to get something dry cleaned or ordered. A few days before we have our travel bag out and stocked and the night before finalized and zipped. We’ve got our bags packed and queued up in the hall, the car full of gas and clean, devices are all charged up, and our last minute essentials waiting for us. We like to leave early so even our travel day clothes are set out.

organizing for a road trip travel bag

Planning is key....

Travel with a capsule wardrobe

I only bring a carry on size suitcase  (love my Away bag!) or large duffel and really streamline my wardrobe by limiting to one base color (black) and limiting my shoes which is really hard as you can imagine but generally it’s a 3 pairs: flip flops or Birkenstocks, tennis shoes, and a nicer slightly dressier shoe. Since we typically only stay places we have laundry available, we can wash what we bring and rewear. I also have to get out of my head that wearing the same outfit to multiple restaurants is not a big deal! Honestly, there’s no one who would ever notice this – it’s just my own vanity. I tend to streamline my personal care and makeup into 2 small travel bags that can tuck in my luggage or travel bag. The hardest thing for me is when I shop while we are gone but since we are in a car – it’s not that big of a deal!

Pro tip: pack items that don’t wrinkle much and can be layered as much as possible – road trips aren’t the time for fussy clothing or lots of wardrobe changes!

And finally...

Plan your itinerary...but don't overcommit

organizing for a road trip travel bag
Away luggage
Scout travel bag
Scout bag
Maraca sound machine
sound machine
travel steamer
travel steamer

An Organized Road Trip

Road trips can be a blast if you plan ahead and get your ducks in a row!

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