Road Trip Ideas

Are you one of those “Need to Plan Ahead”- type of people?
Then, you are in Great Company!!! 😀

I, personally, don’t like to get on the road for a full-day of activities without knowing that I’m fully prepared for ‘almost’ anything. I stress the word: Almost  

And, although, I love the thought of taking the kids Apple-Picking and on other adventures, I love being prepared more…
I love making lasting memories and staying sane. Road Trips are a great bonding experience, made better when you are prepared.

So today, I’m sharing the checklists we use before heading out the door on a day trip and beyond. Added Bonus – I offer affiliate links to some of our favorite things and a Free Printable Checklist to help you better prepare for your next One-Day or Multi-Day Road Trip. 

This post contains affiliate links. What’s that??? Read all about it here

What to Prepare Before the Road Trip

This is a good time to implement the whole family in the prepping aspect. The outing is a Family-Fun day, so the whole family should chip in helping to plan for the trip there. You’re not only making them a part of the process, but you’re also teaching them life lessons they will need for the future when they have their own families.  

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: I don’t just use one list. For trips that are longer, like to Sullivan County or lower Westchester County (from Ulster County), I use several lists in order to better organize myself:

List #1: Items for the Car/First Aid Kit
List #2: Food Items 

This has been a true lifesaver for me and keeps me sane throughout the process. For a copy of my own personal lists, Click the link Below to sign up and download them for free. 

Before you Pack for the Road Trip

Have your children help in cleaning out the car of the non-essential items. That’s usually the folding chairs you use for soccer, the mounds of reusable shopping backs and any garbage that has left behind (garbage, etc). You want it to be a clean slate before you introduce more things into the car.



Use a large plastic container or pail from the dollar store as a trash can.
Put a plastic shopping bag inside as a liner and you can easily dump out the garbage and replace the liner at a rest stop or at your destination.



You can also grab a shower caddy from the Dollar Store, so each child can have a place to store their own stacks.
There is no confusion about who eats what and it minimizes the fighting for the ‘last one’ of an item.
They can also keep wrappers and empty containers on one side of the caddy and eliminates mess in the car. 

Then, Download and update any essential apps you need for the trip. Cell service while driving can be inconsistent, so it’s always a good idea to have everything uploaded before you leave.  Also, don’t forget to back up your pictures and clear your photos in order to make enough space for the new memories you’ll want to be capturing on your outing. 

Some of my favorite photo backups include: (affiliate links included)


Google Photos: I love this App’s ability to upload every picture you have on your phone and it creates albums for you depending on the when the photographs were taken.

Amazon Photos: If you are a member of Amazon Prime, then this App is another must-have! Just like the Google Photos, this App will upload all your photos, divide them by date and you can then make albums for each occasion.

Other helpful apps for a successful road trip: 

Accuweather: This App helps you keep track of the weather not only for each day but by the hour too.

Road-trip-ideas iExit: This App helps you decide where to stop while traveling. The summary will show you which stop is ahead and what is at each exit (restaurant, gas, rest stops).

Google Maps: I use this App every day when navigating my way from one place to another. I like that it now offers an ‘Alerts only’ option so that you can keep the App running in the background when knowing the route and it will alert you only if there’s traffic and when wanting to re-route you.

Car Hacks for a Successful Road Trip

I ask each person/child (over the age of 5) to grab a reusable shopping bag or one of their own backpacks and pack things that they think they will need personally. It’s a great way of learning responsibility and they can’t be upset when something gets left behind because they are responsible for their own items.

Alida from The Realistic Mama has a great blog post listing some amazing Car Hacks I wish I would have thought of myself.

For instance, Silicone Cupcake liners in cup holders minimize messes. Also, a lightweight cookie sheet makes an excellent travel tray.

You can read her post and see the additional hacks here: 10 Car Hacks Every Mom Needs


Activities to do Before and other the Road Trip Hacks

Have your children ever made their own edible snack necklace?  It is such a fun activity. What’s better than adding cheerios-type cereals and pretzels to a long string???

Shelly from DIYmamablog recently wrote a great blog post about making the Necklaces. This is sure to be a big hit with the kiddies.
You can read her post by clicking this link: Snack Necklace


Another fun activity is to create an I-Spy Bottle. Collect little trinkets, add them to a wide-mouthed bottle, add rice and hot glue gun the lid shut. Then, create a checklist (either with a picture of the items or text) and have the kids cross off each item they find.

Jessica from Living Chic on the Cheap has a great tutorial on her blog showing you how to make one!
You can read her blog post by clicking this link: Make Your Own I-Spy Bottles


The Krazy Coupon Lady has a great post listing some inventive Road Trip Hacks that I’m sure will be a lifesaver for any parent of small children.
You can read the entire post by clicking this link: 11 Sanity Saving Road Trip Hacks

Now Let’s Talk About Road Trip Snacks

I am all about healthy eating. I believe that packing healthy snacks from home is a better way of handling a road trip than stopping for unhealthy and expensive snacks, especially for a Day Trip.

I am also a firm believer that everyone should have their own stash of stuff. It could be the same snacks but portioned out in Ziploc bags or containers so you don’t run into the problem of, for instance, a child who loves popcorn eating the whole big bag on the trip and not leaving any for others. Trust me, I’ve lived it. 

Besides offering you a list of ‘Road Trip Fool-Proof Snacks’ in the Free Download Road Trip Planner, I will include some things not to add to your Road Trip Shopping List.

Some ‘Not Road Trip Friendly’ Snacks Include:

  • Bananas (too slimy)
  • Muffins (too crumbly)
  • Watermelon (too juicy)
  • Juice Boxes (too messy)
  • Crunchy granola bars (too crumbly)

Snacks should, ideally, include items from a variety of food groups:

  • Proteins – cheese, sliced turkey
  • Fruits/Vegetables – including dried fruit (raisins, etc), fruit purees (applesauce, fruit pouches), individual salads
  • Carbs – crackers, pretzels, rice cakes, popcorn

I hope this helps you Plan the Perfect Road Trip. 

Don’t forget to CLICK the link in order to get the FREE complete lists of:
What to Pack, First Aid Essentials and Snack Food Ideas

While You’re Here: Grab Part 1 in the Series!!!

Until the Next Adventure…


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