I have a system…it’s our system and it seems to work for us when we travel on our road trips. Take what you can from this and tweak it to suit your own family. Remember any good road trip includes some sort of squabble, but these long journeys are what builds the bonds (the good and bad) between you and your family. Make the best of it and don’t let imperfections in your plan ruin your day.
Question: Why would I not use a suitcase? Answer: Just because it’s in one bag doesn’t mean it’s easier…
We’ve done the whole one suitcase per family, one suitcase per person in the family, etc. What happens is we fill the car, it looks super clean and tidy. Twenty minutes down the road we need something from inside the suitcase… One of them, but which one? Even if you know which suitcase, you have to flop it out somewhere and dig through everything. If this happens enough times you are not putting things back in carefully and half of your stuff ends up in the backseat of the car. This is our solution.
Car Door Storage
What we each have in that glorious spot in each of our door is up to us, but this is how our latest trip panned out:
- Papa had his snacks, wallet, and extra water in his
- I had my snacks, my extra drink, flush-able wipes, hand sanitizer, wallet, and any park map that we were in at the time.
- My daughter had headphones, snack, extra drink, and her Switch.
- My dogs side of the car had a collapsible water bowl, her leash, poop bags (in an old baby wipes Ziploc), and a little bag of dog food.
In The Car
In the car we had:
- Neck pillows
- Reusable water bottles
The Hotel Bags
3 Bags of any size that consisted of:
- two days of clothes for each of us (3 in our family, hence 3 bags)
Because we use these bags we don’t have to fumble around looking for things in our suitcases. When we arrive at our destination we each grab our bag and head to the hotel. We really only need to do one thing…dump the contents in a drawer, grab our swimsuit and head to the pool. When we are done swimming we just grab the laundry bag that is usually in the closet and toss our dirty stuff in. Typically we leave our swimsuits to dry until morning and put it back in the hotel bag for our next destination.
We use the under bed storage containers and mark our name on our specific box.
Each box contained:
- A warm jack
- Water socks
- Flip flops
- Baseball hat
- Extra snacks
- Our hotel bag
My daughter’s box had her headlamp, switch, and an activity book as well.
We each had our own backpack filled with 4 outfits for our destination. I would suggest that the backpacks are packed further back in the trunk because you won’t need them until you reach your final destination. However, in our case we were able to use the “frunk” and the trunk of the Tesla Model 3.
When we were packing, we knew we would have access to a washer and dryer so with the 2 outfits that we had in our hotel bags and our original travel outfit we were able to bring 7 total outfits.
- Two pairs of shorts
- 2 pair of pants
- 1 dress or skirt
- 1 long sleeved top
- hiking outfit
- 3 t-shirts
- The fanny pack for our daughter was the BEST thing EVER! (purchased at the 99 cent store) If you can find one click below for one on Amazon.
We use it whenever we have to walk anywhere. It eliminates almost all of the whining. We put snacks, juice and sometimes a tiny toy in it. That way she has the power to not only pack what she wants in it but also the ability to get it at any point in our journey.
- Second Best thing ever, the white three-ring binder, aka portable dry erase board. This along with some random printables with twistable crayons, post its, stickers kept my daughter busy for three 8 hour days in a car! Let’s be clear, my daughter loves YouTube…while I do try and stay away from electronics I’m not superhuman! Mommy needs a break sometimes too!
- Books. My daughter’s favorite right now is ‘Pig the Winner’s by Aaron Blabey.
We had many fun times along the way, but my favorite story is when we made the longest stretch of our journey to a hotel that wasn’t disgusting but looked a bit like the clean version of the Bates Motel (the movie ‘Psycho). My 5 year old daughter opened the door to our room and with a joyful tone in her voice said “This is the most beautiful room! …I think it’s the best one yet!” Her enthusiasm for everything in life is what made this whole journey worth it. It doesn’t matter where you go or what you do, being together is the best part of their day.
Enjoy your Journey!