Organizing Your Next Road Trip

Being organized will make a family road trip an amazing and memorable experience. When everyone knows the route, schedule, activities, and food, the trip will go as smoothly as it can. Here are some ideas to help get organized for the family road trip.

Map out the Route in Advance

Map out your route to help plan your trip. Understand where there may be traffic jams, construction, and road closures so you can plan for detours. Print your map, even if you are using GPS there may be areas without service. The kids might also enjoy a copy of the map to follow along. Plan for frequent stops to swap drivers and get some exercise. Consider worksheets, stories, and games that are themed around the geographic location you are traveling through. It will add value to the travel experience.

Schedule Car Activities

Have a schedule for activities in the car, stops along the way, and arrival time. A schedule will help ease anxiety and limit the “Are we there yet?” questions. Break the schedule into one- or two-hour segments for making stops, meals, and changing activities. Have a variety of activities for the kids to complete amongst themselves, independently, and as a family to make the time go by. Ongoing activities and competitions such as a license plate game, road trip treasure hunt, and bingo allow for some friendly competition. Independent activities can include simple crafts, coloring books, activity sheets, and reading for nice, quiet time.

Plan Snacks and Meals

Create a plan for snacks and meals for the trip. Healthy food options that are well thought out will keep energy up and appetites satisfied. Kids like to eat often, so allow them choices for healthy snacks every hour or so. Schedule in special treats too so they have something to look forward to. Fresh veggies, fruit, veggie chips, granola bars, finger sandwiches, and cheese and crackers, are great choices to help you avoid expensive stops for unhealthy fast food. A road trip meal plan will also keep the captain’s and co captain’s energy levels maximized. A little preparation before the trip will keep everyone nourished.

Organize Car Ahead of Time

Organize the car at the start of the trip. Have a place for food, activities, personal items, and emergency items that may be needed while in transit. Overnight items can be packed a little deeper in the vehicle. We suggest having items needed for any overnight stops on the way packed in a separate bag or area for easy access.

When the trip involves daily travel to new locations and lodging, consider separate bags of clothing for each stop to reduce the need to completely unpack and repack. Have the kid’s activities and materials organized for each child to prevent panic and frustration as they will know where everything is. Have your personal items organized too such as cash, water, snacks, sunglasses, umbrellas, and maps. You will want to have extra water, plastic bags, wet wipes, medication, and emergency contacts available. For the return trip, keep the same level of organization to reduce stress and keep the vehicle tidy.

Have fun planning your next family road trip. The more organized the plan is, the more enjoyable the experience will be.