With vacation options limited by COVID-19 restrictions this year, the AAA already estimates that more families than ever will hit the road this year for a summer break that’s a little closer to home. Road trips are fun (for the most part) but when traveling with your kids in the car, things can get messy! Your road trip will be more enjoyable if you can keep your car organized!
Here are some basics to get you started, that as a professional home organizer I find invaluable when on the road for longer trips.
Having a variety of storage options is a must for a small space such as the family car. Adding bins underneath seats or around the back of head rests will create options for all types of objects. Pick storage options that are not only practical, but that can be removed easily. Any bulky containers or items that can limit seat space should be avoided.
One prime area for extra storage, even in a smaller vehicle, for backseat passengers – probably the kids – is the back of the front seats. Organizers like these can hold all kinds of things and help not only keep your car more organized but also allow kids to get what they need ‘next’ without bugging you too much.
Minimize Unnecessary Items
Just like you would with your closet, switch out items you store in your car with the seasons. For example, keep beach toys in the trunk during the summer, but take them out when the weather turns cold.
Be Prepared for the Unexpected
Be sure to keep emergency items in your vehicle at all times, and make sure these have a designated spot! One of the easiest ways to do this is to make, or purchase a travel first aid kit.
Most people get premade first-aid kits to save time and money compared to buying individual supplies and assembling a kit. Another reason to choose a premade kit is to ensure you don’t overlook any important supplies or tools.
Which kit should you get? Consider the following:
Group size: Kit-makers usually estimate the number of people a kit will serve. Kits for bigger groups simply include more of supplies you use up, like bandages and pain meds. Medical tools like thermometers, tweezers or splints remain fairly constant from kit to kit.
Trip length/distance: Same thing; you’ll usually find an estimated number of days in a kit’s product description.
Trip activity: Kit-makers might, for example, include a fully waterproof pouch that makes a kit suited to paddling. Smaller, lighter kits are appropriate when you’re planning light-and-fast pursuits like trail running. Bigger, more comprehensive kits make sense for activities like car camping.
Comprehensive kits: Even if you don’t know how to use everything, it can be valuable to get a kit with advanced tools and supplies because others in your group or area might have greater medical knowledge.
Next consider the following additions, regardless of the kit you choose:
Trip risks: Example: If you’re headed where poison ivy and ticks are concerns, consider adding a poison ivy treatment and tick-specific tool to your kit.
Special needs: For example, if you require prescription meds or an EpiPen, you should add them to your road trip first-aid kit.
Another important – but easy – way to keep your car organized is to keep a grocery bag in it at all times to collect accumulated garbage and then dispose of it all very easily when you hit a rest stop. And don’t forget poop bags so you can clean up at rest stops if your traveling companion is a pooch.
For road trips, allow each child to pack a small bag with only a few items to keep them busy on the trip. Having a place to keep their toys or electronics will keep them from getting lost. Switch items out when you stop to use the bathroom or when a child is losing interest and getting rowdy while on the road.
If you are travelling with fur kids – aka pets – they will need their supplies too. Ideally they should be restrained, either in a crate or a pet seat, and all their essentials should be stored in a single bag.
Make Organization Pit Stops
While taking breaks on your road trip, take a moment to tidy up between stops. Toss out any garbage, put any loose items back in their designated spots and encourage the others in the car to do the same. This way your vehicle won’t look like a disaster area on arrival at your destination or when you get back home.
Bring Busy Items
Probably the best way to keep your car organized during a road trip is to have something for children to do while you drive If they are busy doing something else, then they will be less likely to make a big mess in the car. Encourage them to bring a pillow and blanket from home so that they can take naps on longer car rides. Coloring books, tablets and book also make for hours of busy work. If you are tr avelling with pets on board ensure they have a toy, or a favorite blankie, to keep them occupied as well.
Should you find children losing interest in items they brought from home, consider making a stop to a department or craft store while on your way to pickup a few small new things for them to do. This might also give kids an incentive to be on their best behavior and pickup after themselves!
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