Road Trip Prep

Road trips are certainly fun especially for families. Before hitting the road some planning should be done to make sure your trip goes smoothly. Obviously you need gas in the tank and clothes to wear but there are a lot of other things to consider when planning a road trip. After countless road trips as a couple and a few road trips with our kids, here are some key things to do before you head out for your trip.

Trip Prep

Make all reservations including the hotel, attractions and depending on the trip, dinner reservations. Plan for downtime in between activities especially when traveling with kids. Remember there is nothing wrong with using a day or two just to relax. If it is a short trip, a good way to include some downtime is to travel really early and ask for access to your hotel room early. If the room is not ready, the hotel can store your luggage while you and the family enjoy some downtime on the grounds, pool side or grabbing a bite to eat.

Family Prep

Make lists. I usually make a separate list for each member of the family. The list includes outfits for each day, shoes, undergarments and personal toiletries. Make a list for the car including easy access items, snacks, change of clothes for kids and electronics.

Car Prep

Having gas is probably the one thing no one forgets but before you get on the road do a quick inspection of your car. Check tires, fluid levels and that all lights are functioning. Depending on the distance, you may want to get your car serviced before you go. Fill up for gas the night before and do a quick check to see where cheap gas is located on your road trip route.


Pack bags with whatever you don't need to use before your trip. I like to pack at least 1-2 weeks in advance this way I am not searching for items last minute. For items you still need to use before the trip, make a separate list a few days before the trip and stick it somewhere you can easily see so you can pack everything up the day before you leave.


Plug out non-essentials, clean out refrigerator and make sure security measures are in place. Request a mail hold or ask a trusted neighbor to collect your mail. A neighbor will be good for watering plants or garden. If you have pets, take them with you or arrange for them to be cared for by family or at a pet hotel. Don't leave pets to fend for themselves.

Have Fun

All the pre trip prep will make for a smooth road trip and some well deserved fun. Planning ahead will eliminate the stress of rushing and hopefully mean you did not forget anything. Get on the road and go.


Do you have any tips for prepping for a road trip. 

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