This article contains Amazon affiliate links. Should you choose to click on a link and make a purchase – we will receive a commission. However, while we use this service to help fund our efforts – we will only suggest items which we think are valuable to our readers.
Oye – this is a big one for me. When you have two young kids, a messy husband, and multiple hotel stays during one trip – things can easily go haywire. And when things go haywire – stuff gets lost, misplaced and mom gets stressed. Over the years of road trip traveling we have almost perfected our methods of staying organized while on the road. Today I am going to share my 5 BEST secrets with you in the hopes that at least one of these trips will save you from you kids loosing their shoes, all of you loosing pieces of your clothes and most importantly – you loosing your freakin’ mind.
How to Stay Organized on the Road When You Travel with Kids
Take Along a Portable Pop Up Hamper
One thing I hate is a pile of dirty clothes being thrown to the hotel floor – only to be moved back into my suitcase with the rest of my clean clothes when it’s time to pack up. I mean – yuck!! Who wants that?? Not this girl. To fix this problem I purchased a small pop up hamper which folds flat to pack in my suitcase and then pops open upon hotel arrival to keep clothes neat and tidy until we make a laundry run – which we commonly do on the road at the hotel laundry. In between laundry days we simply toss the hamper into the trunk with the other luggage – it keeps things separated but organized and secure.
Seriously guys – this was one of the best couple of bucks I’ve ever spent. I purchased this small pop up hamper at Target in the dollar section and have used it time and time again during trips. You can also purchase one similar to mine on Amazon.
Keep a Family Travel Tote
We have a plastic travel tote that we take along with us on trips which houses our extra shoes, sunscreen, swim vests – generally all of the things our family uses on a trip collectively, minus our clothing of course. We found that keeping everything in a tote together was easier than trying to find out who’s suitcase the sunscreen was packed in. The tote also makes a great “catch all” for the things we buy or gain along the way.
Keep the Car Clean
This is another big one for me. When you spend as much time in the car as we do – having food wrappers and papers pile up is enough to drive anyone crazy. Not to mention the bad smell that can start developing from the food. Agh! The best way to stay happy on the road is to keep either a collection of throw away bags for discarding garbage in or a reusable one that gets dumped at every stop to fill up the tank. Keeping things picked up in the car also makes it easier to find what you need when you need it.
Keep Receipts/Confirmations in One Place
Staying on top of receipts and hotel accommodations on the road could be a nightmare if you didn’t have a go to spot for collecting them. Personally, I like to keep a folder with all of my printed out confirmation numbers, hotel locations and phone numbers together inside. Given the chance that we are running late for check-in (which happens almost every stay), I like to have easy access to the hotels phone number to call and give them a heads up on our arrival time. Did you know that if you check in late – some hotels will actually give away your room? Uh yeah.
In that same folder I keep a zip close plastic bag to keep receipts in. When I get home, I simply write on the bag the trip/date and all of the trip receipts are then filed for easy access should I need them. Easy peasy!
Plan Ahead for Outfits
This might be taking it too far – but yep, I’m going to go there. I actually will lay out each days outfit on the floor prior to leaving home, complete with top, bottom, underwear, socks (or whatever else I will need to complete that combo) and then roll the entire thing together. I then pack each outfit in my suitcase rolled up. When I need an outfit, I can simply pull that entire combo out and put it on. This saves me from not having enough underwear or forgetting that I needed “the right bra” to wear with the top I packed. I hate to admit it, but I have also gone as far as to label each outfit with a sticky note for which day I am planning to wear it.
Bonus: Get the Kids Involved
Before any trip we allow our kids to select items they’d like to bring along to keep busy – or a special stuffed animal from home. To limit the amount of extra’s they wanted to bring, we purchased one canvas box (similar to these) and collectively they are allowed to fill it up. If it doesn’t fit in the box, it can’t come along. This box is then placed in between their seats on long car rides allowing them both access to games and toys to keep busy. While this typically only works for road trips – when we fly they each get a small carry on backpack to place items in.
There you have it – my best tips for staying organized on the road. I am sure there are many other great tips out there, and if you have a tip to share please share it in the comments below. I am always looking for another way to keep my sanity – er, keep organized on the road!