Tips for a Family Road Trip!

Our family of 5 is heading out for a big road trip later this week, y’all!  family-road-trip4
I am a big fan of a good, old-fashioned road trip across America with my family.  If we only had my mom’s baby blue Cadillac and my Sony Walkman, then it would really feel like the old days. 😉 Surprisingly so, my kids have really grown to love our trips as well!


So, today, I am going to share a few of my tips for a successful road trip!   Check it out!



We’ve been making these family trips for 13 years now, and I feel like I have tried every way of packing to make things roll smoothly.  I pack for myself and all 3 kids, because I don’t like to be surprised by the fact that they brought no underwear but enough pajamas for 12 weeks. 😉  Robert packs for himself  🙂 

So, about 5 years ago, I went to Walmart and picked up 4 $10 large duffel bags.  They aren’t special or anything, but these are the key to our packing routine!  Suitcases are bulky and take up more room in the car, so this keeps everything organized without taking up a bunch of space!

  • Duffel Bag 1 contains EVERYONE’s pajamas and gallon baggies full of clean underwear.  So, when it’s time for shower or baths at night, we only have to access ONE BAG and not dig through individual suitcases.
  • Duffel Bag 2 contains EVERYONE’s outfits for our daytime activities.  (This year, I needed 2 duffel bags for this because Jackson is taller than me, and his clothes take up more space now! :))
  • Duffel Bag 3 contains EVERYONE’s extra items which can include swimsuits and shoes.
  • Duffel Bag 4 contains EVERYONE’s toiletries separated by person and in gallon baggies.  I also include a change of clothes for everyone if we will be stopping at hotel mid-way through our drive.  So, when we stop, we only have to unload this  one duffel bag!

Here are our duffel bags for this year!

 I pack 2-4 days ahead of time so I don’t get overwhelmed by the task!  I don’t think you have to do this, but it just works for me! 🙂 

In the Car

  • Each kiddo gets one backpack full of fun things to keep them busy in the car.  🙂 This can include small toys, bracelet looms, Slinkys, Silly putty,  crayons, books, etc.  I always make a trip to the Dollar store and slip a few new things into their backpack as well just for fun!
  • Break out the fun snacks!  We eat pretty healthy around here, but this is when I let them have fun!  I still pack lots of healthy snacks, but I throw in things that my kids don’t get on the regular like candy, poptarts, etc.
  • We geek out.  On car rides, we let the kids geek out on their ipads, handheld games, and such for longer than usual.  We watch movies, youtube videos, and whatever it takes to get us through the car ride.   I am just more lax on this rule, because you have to be realistic about the amount of creative and stimulating things you can do while strapped into a car seat for X amount of hours. 🙂
  • We always bring a pillow and a blanket for everyone. Car rides are just cozier this way! 
  • Trip Journals.  We are starting Trip Journals this year!   I am giving them to the kids to write or draw about the fun parts of our trip!   I can’t wait to read what they share!

Other Tips

  • Rob likes to drive, and I don’t love to drive.  So, he keeps his eyes on the road while I am the designated snack distributor, technology adviser, and all around car concierge.   This works for us, but you could easily share or swap these responsibilities. 🙂
  • I bring lots of books for myself and usually my laptop.  I can get A LOT done during a car trip!  Normally, I never sit still, so I love being stuck in one spot with a cozy blanket!
  • Don’t forget to bring trash bags, a roll of paper towels and toilet paper, baby wipes, and hand sanitizer.   You never know what you are going to encounter on the open road. 🙂
  • Dress comfortably.  We all wear our comfy clothes on a road trip, and this just makes the trip so much more enjoyable!


There you go!  We are ready for a fun road trip, now!  I mean, your family looks like that family in the convertible during a road trip, right? No?  Don’t worry, mine doesn’t either. 😉

What are you road trip tips?  Share them in the comments section!  Can’t wait to read all about it!  Happy Wednesday, y’all! XOXO Narci






Categories: Uncategorized

24 replies

  1. Narci, I’m so glad you’re starting trip journals! Every year since I was 3, my mom gave my sisters and me a new journal for our family vacation. We would get postcards and save silly stuff like the napkin with the name of our favorite restaurant that we ate in, our gelato spoons from our trip to Italy, etc in the book. Each day we’d write down whatever we wanted to remember from that day + mementos and let me tell you…those journals are some of my sisters’ and my prized possessions!


  2. Narci, these tips are genius! We’ve been road tripping for years and I am so excited to employ some of these ideas! The packing/duffle bag idea is so smart!


  3. Enjoy your road trip! I also like the trip journals, such a great idea! I have a question, what about your dog?


  4. Pingback: Weekend Wrap-Up |
  5. Great idea about the duffle bags-hadn’t thought of the space saving! Loved the post. My husband and our seven year old twins have our second road trip of the summer tomorrow. I grew up in Arizona but all our family lived in Florida so we had lots of cross country trips growing up. Wonderful memories I still think about often. Thanks for sharing!


I love to hear from you! Leave a comment here! :) XO Narci

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