I’ve always loved road trips, mostly because they meant adventure and doing something new & exciting! It also meant spending time with family, and since for me family is very important, I always looked forward to road trips.
When you’re a kid, you just get your backpack ready, hop into the car, and ask your mom for all the snacks. But when you become the adult, or even the mom, suddenly it’s not that easy anymore! You have to prepare the car, the snacks, the luggage for the trip and much more.
Since most likely YOU are the adult now, you have to know how to prepare for road trips. And this where I come in. I’ve gone on so many road trips in my life (both as a child and as an adult), that I already know all the best tips & tricks to make it a good and entertaining one.
So here is how to prepare for road trips. Discover the best tips & tricks to organize your car, snacks and luggage for the big trip. It will make your life so much easier if you do these things!
How to Prepare for Road Trips – Your Car
The car is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle when it comes to road trips.
You need to make sure that:
- The car is clean, inside and out;
- The car is equipped with everything you need.
The first point is pretty straightforward: make sure the car is clean. Take it to a car wash and also make sure the inside is clean, too. Vacuum the floors and the seats and wipe down the handles and board with a wet wipe. Trust me, it sucks to start a new adventure in a dirty car, it will ruin your mood.
The second point is also vital for the success of the road trip. If you want to know how to prepare for road trips, you firstly need to know what to have in the car. So here is my list:
- Car maintenance & repair items. Make sure you have a spare tire (if you have space for it), a first aid kit, a small extinguisher, and other necessary tools.
- Full tank of gas. You can fill up a day before, to have a head start, or right when you leave, in the morning. Your choice.
- Cleaning & Organizing items. This is vital especially if you have kids (or messy adults). Make sure you have wet wipes, tissues or towels, and some disposable bags to act as trash bags.
- Music. The easy way out is to listen to the radio. Or you could prepare a playlist, or some CDs that you could play in the car during the road trip. I suggest making a playlist, or using the Spotify / Apple Music pre-made Road Trip playlists, they’re great.
- Entertainment. If you have kids or even if you get bored quickly, you will definitely need entertainment. This could mean books, toys, tablets, you name it. If you have time beforehand, I also recommend looking up online some car games, like guessing games or story-making games, especially if you’re more then two riding.
How to Prepare for Road Trips – Snacks
This deserves its own category: SNACKS. My favorite part of road trips. When I was a kid, I used to look forward to road trips, especially for all the snacks my mom would pack for me. She would even ask me beforehand what I wanted. It was heaven. (if you have kids, please do the same for them, it would make them so happy)
My go-to road trip snacks are:
- M&M’s. Grab a big bag of it, it will be devoured in an hour max.
- Chips or Popcorn. Salty snacks are also good because they usually fill you up quickly.
- Jelly beans / Sour Patch Kids / Haribo. Something chewy and sweet / sour. Both kids & adults will enjoy it.
- Soda / Juice. I love to enjoy a good, ice Coke when road tripping. My partner usually goes for apple or peach juice. If you have kids, you could get them apple sauce pouches.
- Fruit. I know I should firstly recommend fruit, but I admit I rarely pack it for my road trips. But when I do, I go for bananas and apples, they are easier to eat and dispose of.
I recommend buying them beforehand, in your last grocery run before leaving for the road trip. It’s much cheaper to buy snacks from a Costco or a Safeway, then from the gas station.
How to Prepare for Road Trips – Luggage
If you want to have a relaxing, entertaining road trip / vacation, make sure you pack accordingly. There are some things you need to know on how to prepare for road trips in terms of packing.
Here are my best tips & tricks for packing for road trips:
- Plan your outfits. This is the best and most efficient advice I can give you. It will save you time (when on vacation), space (no unnecessary items in your luggage) and energy (to figure out daily what to wear, instead of what to do that day). Have an outfit per day prepared, taking into consideration what you will do that day. If you will hike, have a hiking outfit. If you will go swimming, also pack your swimsuit.
- Pack light….and smart. Mix and match your clothes so that you don’t have to pack too many clothes. For example, pack a pair of jeans that can be worn in 2 or 3 different outfits. That way, you save space for more souvenirs and shopping, or to have a smaller luggage to begin with.
- Always pack 1-2 extra tops, in case you spill something on you or you get sweaty.
- Have a car outfit. What I mean is to have a specific outfit just for the car riding part. When you get there, you can change your top or your whole outfit. You feel better and refreshed. I go for sweatpants and a t-shirt (or jeans and a t-shirt), and when I get to the hotel, I change into another top (or directly into pajamas, depending when we get there).
- Each person should have its own luggage or packing cube. This way, you will stay organized, and each person is in charge of their own bag. If you have small children, I recommend having separate luggage for them, you will probably need it.
- Use a packing cube or bag for dirty laundry. This will be a lifesaver when you get back. While on vacation, put all your dirty clothes in that cube / bag. So when you come home, you won’t be overwhelmed with unpacking. You will just need to dump the cube’s / bag’s contents in the washing machine and you’re done.
And this is how to prepare for road trips. Make sure your car is stocked and ready to go. Then all you need to do is relax and enjoy your vacation!
Let me know in the comments what you like to snack on when you are road tripping, I need new ideas!
p.s. If you’re looking for Staycation Ideas, check out 13 staycation ideas when you can’t travel internationally!