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Packing for a Road Trip (with FREE Printable)

Tonya Prater, Owner

The thought of packing for a road trip can be overwhelming. We have some tips to help you as you begin to plan and pack.”A car driving along a road flanked on both sides by tall trees.

The thought of packing for a road trip can be overwhelming.

We have some tips to help you as you begin to plan for a road trip- whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a cross country trek.

We even created a packing list to ensure you don’t forget anything you need plus, we took a few photos of our minivan to show you how we pack things when we travel.

Packing for a Road Trip

Before we set out on a road trip, my husband always gives the van a quick inspection. That means he checks the oil, washer fluid, coolant level,  and tire pressure. And just to be safe, he packs a few tools, jumper cables, extra oil, washer fluid, and a tire pressure gauge. These items take up more space than I’d like, but they have come in handy in the past. We keep them stored in a crate in the back of our van.

Read this post to help you prepare for your trip: Is Your Vehicle Road Trip Ready? Important Road Trip Maintenance Tips to Know Before Your Trip Starts

Packing the back of the van

The glove compartment contains our insurance cards, registration for the van, and a first aid kit and any medications we may need in a hurry.

I also store a couple of plastic bags here too. I pull one out as we begin to accumulate any trash and when we stop for gas we can throw it away. This one-step helps to keep our vehicle clean on the road.

Read more tips to keep your car clean on a road trip

Glove box packing

I like to keep our electronics handy. That means the GPS, dashcam, and battery charger are all easily accessible in the center console if we need them.

Because we can’t always count on the GPS to get us where we need to go most efficiently, we also keep a current roadside atlas handy. It easily fits in the mesh pocket behind the driver’s seat, so it is easily accessible for the passenger should they need to provide directions.

I also keep a copy of my favorite road trip book with the atlas to give me ideas on the road. In the past five years, I’ve not left home without it. 

Always pack an atlas

Because I sometimes work on the road, I like to keep my laptop, notebook, and camera handy. They fit easily in a tote on the floor of the passenger seat.

Tote with laptop

Snacks are kind of a big deal to my husband, so we make sure they are easy to reach. I store them in a tote between the two back seats. I also store a gallon of water in or near the tote.

Packing snacks

A smaller tote fits behind the front passenger seat with a light blanket, toilet paper or tissues and sanitizing wipes to help clean up messes or spills.

Tote behind seat

Disinfecting wipes are perfect for a road trip

I pack a tumbler with a lid and straw that I can easily refill, rather than packing a bunch of water bottles that need to be thrown away.

Organizing the console

Our luggage and any items that we don’t typically need while we’re driving go into the back of the van.

Packing for a road trip

Of course, this is a totally different set-up when we’re van camping, but that’s another post entirely. 

Grab Your FREE Packing for a Road Trip Printable 


Packing for a Road Trip Printable


Simply click on the picture to print.

Need Ideas of Where to Go on Your Road Trip? 

Since we love a great road trip, I thought I’d share a few suggestions on where to go on your next road trip. 

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And Let’s not forget a few Travel Tips for your Road Trip

Roadtripping with Teens: What they Consider Essential

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7 Ways to Occupy the Kids on Road Trips without Electronics

12 Tips for Driving in the Snow

What items do you consider essential when packing for a road trip?

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Tips for Packing for a Road Trip with a Free Printable. #GiantEaglePerks #ad

Gayle McCusker

Wednesday 1st of November 2017

Happy November! I so enjoy your tips and always find some new ideas to try. Thank you❤

Tonya Prater

Monday 6th of November 2017

Thanks so much for the kind words, Gayle! I'm glad that you find my tips helpful. Protection Status
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