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11 Road trip car packing mistakes and how to fix them

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road trip

Are you planning a road trip  with your family soon and wanting to make sure that you are as prepared as possible? 

Here I am going to share with you the mistakes that I made on our last unexpected road trip, so that you can learn from my mistakes. 

We went on a 5 hour trip that turned into an 8 hour road trip last week and just for some context it was myself, my husband, my 6 year old daughter and 11 year old son. During this trip I realized that I was not very prepared or organized and there were quite a few things that I wish that I did differently. 

In this article I am going to share with you the mistakes that I make and what I will definitely be changing on our next road trip in June later this year. And I hope that this article helps you be prepared on your next road trip as well. 

Let’s get into it !

1. Bring a variety of medicines 

Okay, so we all know that we should bring some medicines on any trip and I did. I packed Advil for us adults and kids Motrin. 

What I did NOT think  I would need is allergy medicine. 

A few hours into the road trip my daughter started sneezing like Crazy, nose running and everything. We had no idea why and she was miserable. 

When we got to Georgia we realized it was pollen season. With all of the yellow pollen everywhere! (ha,ha!), so we stopped by the store, purchased allergy medicine and she immediately started to feel so much better. 

What I will do next time

  • Bring a variety of medicines 
  • Allergy
  • Motrin
  • Tylenol
  • Antacids
  • Car sick medicine 
  • Everything, just all of the medicines! (ha,ha, well in travel size of course)

2. Not bringing blankets and pillows 

When you are in a rush you don’t really think of things like blankets and pillows. 

However, during the trip my kiddos definitely got tired and one of the things that my daughter had a problem with was getting comfortable. 

I feel that if we had blankets and pillows it would have helped them be more comfortable to relax and sleep. Even if you are a passenger seat rider, like I was, you can benefit from pillows and blankets. 

What will to do next time:

  • Bring pillows and blankets ( you can purchase those $3 pillow and $3 rolled blankets )
  • The kiddos can pick out a character blanket and soft plushy to cuddle with.

3. Only packing a few snacks and not lunches 

Packing your own lunches can save you time and money. 

I packed a few snacks, like 2 or 3 for each kid and a couple of waters, that was it. 

What was I thinking! 

We ended up having to stop to buy food at chick- fil-a, which was yummy but not very frugal. 

What to do next time: 

  • Pack sandwiches
  • Wraps  
  • Chips 
  • Protein bars
  • Fruit 
  • More drinks 
  • A little candy 

The goal is to not have to buy food during the road trip, because we will probably be eating out a few times when we get to our destination. 

4. Not bringing a portable vacuum

Kids can be messy, very messy at times. When you are on a road trip there will definitely be some sort of mess. 

When we were driving, I would look in the back and there were just crumbs everywhere, on the seats and on the floor. 

What to do next time:

  • Purchase a cheap vacuum 

5. Not bringing more games and activities 

There are so many games and activities for kids of all ages that are compact and will keep the kiddos entertained.

I only brought coloring pages and crayons, which did not last very long. My kiddos ended up getting bored very quickly. 

What to do next time:

  • Head to the dollar tree, Target dollar section and Walmart dollar section and find a variety of activities for my kiddos to do so that they do not get bored. 


6. Only bringing tennis shoes(sneakers)

Having shoes that you and your kiddos can easily take on and off will make things so much easier when getting in and out of the car. 

While we were on our road trip my kiddos would take their shoes off in the car then if we had to get out, we had to sit there and wait for them to tie their shoes( if you have younger kids you know that can take a while) or we would tie it for them. 

What to do next time: 

  • Purchase cheap flip flops, slides or slip on sandals for everyone

7. Purchasing shower caps to go over our shoes 

I know that this sounds weird, but trust me it is a genius idea.

Picture this!

It’s raining and you stop on your road trip to stretch or a bathroom break and your kids steps in mud. Then get back in the car and now your car (or rental car) has mud all in it. 

On our road trip, it was pouring down rain and my son’s shoes got wet and muddy. Which I didn’t really mind, I think he was more worried about getting the car dirty than I was. If we had something to cover the shoes, it would have just helped keep things clean. 

What to do next time: 

  • Purchase shower caps for $1 at Walmart or the Dollar Tree 

8. Not having a trash can

Another mistake that I made was having bags for trash or bringing a small trash can for my kiddos. During our road trip we were scrambling for bags to put trash in. 

Also having a small trash can in the back seat floor to make it easier for the kids to put their trash in. 

What to do next time: head to the dollar tree and purchase a trash can and trash bags or get a hook and put a shopping trash bag on it.

9. Not Bringing the kids favorite books 

Having your kids favorite books is another great way to pass time and keep them from getting bored. 

My kiddos are not the biggest book readers, but they do have their favorites that they love and can read all day. I wish I brought books on our last road trip, not only for on the road but also for bedtime when we were at the house. 

What to do next time: Have the kiddos pick their favorite books to take on the road trip

10. Not checking to make sure the kiddos had things to watch on their tablet

Making sure that your kiddos tablets are working and have shows or games downloaded will ensure that everything is working properly. 

We did not have a hotspot in our car, so we downloaded shows for the kids to watch. When we were in the car we realized that the shows were not working for some reason, however some of their games still worked, which was great. 

What to do next time:

  • A few days before we leave the house ensure that everything is working properly on the kids tablet 

11. Not having a first aid kit

You never know when your kiddo or you may need a first aid kit. Maybe you make a pit stop and they trip and scrap they’re knee, you are going to want a band aid handy for those things. 

Even though we did not need a first aid kit, I feel that we should have made a small first aid kit, just in case. 



When things are not organized, it can be stressful when you need something or your kids need something and you can not find it. Keep things organized and try not to pack too much stuff. 

You know the saying:

A place for everything and everything in its place!