The Ultimate Guide to Summer Road Trip Packing



This is not our first rodeo. In 3 days (yikes) we are hitting the open road on our fourth summer road trip. After years of working out the details of what to pack, I’d like to share it with you. It may seem like a long list but that is the beauty of a road trip…you can bring more stuff! We like to be prepared and we like to have fun.  Plan to do laundry so you don’t overpack.  I usually do laundry every 3 or 4 days depending on where we are staying.  It’s not like doing laundry at home.  After all the time together, It’s actually a nice little escape to the hotel laundry room.

We each back our clothes in individual bags or suitcases. The rest of the items on this list go in laundry baskets, milk crates or duffel bags. Remember that your list may be different from our list. Every year we make changes to the list and how we pack the van.  One year we went to Yellowstone National Park. I read that you need to be very aware of grizzly bears. So on the list that year was bear spray. You can get it on Amazon. And yes, I carried it on every walk in Yellowstone but never needed it. In the section labeled Fun Stuff, this is what our family finds fun. Think about what you and your kids like to do and that’s what you should pack. You get the idea, tailor the list to your likes and your destination.



Each person packs his or her own bag. The kids lay it out on their bed for final approval

  • 6-7 pairs of underwear/bras
  • 6-7 pairs of socks
  • 5-6 t-shirts or tank tops
  • 3 shorts
  • 1 jeans
  • 1 yoga pants or sweatpants
  • 2 bathing suits
  • 2 pairs of pajama
  • 1 pair of running/athletic/hiking shoes
  • 1 pair of water shoes
  • 1 flip-flops
  • 1 nice sandal if you want
  • 1 sweatshirt
  • 1 jacket
  • 1-2 “Nice outfit” sundress with light sweater for girls or shorts and collared shirt for         boys
  • 2-3 Exercise outfits (Ha! Just in case)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Belt (if needed)
  • Eva’s volleyball bag packed with all her uniforms, shoes and knee pads (we hit a                 volleyball tournament during our road trip, go Tstreet!)


Each person packs their own.  I double check the kids items before it goes into the suitcase.

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental Floss
  • Lip Balm
  • Moisturizer
  • Hair Brush
  • Shampoo and Conditioner (Mom packs big bottles for family for the trip)
  • Face wash stuff
  • Razor and extra blades
  • Shaving Cream
  • Deodorant
  • Hair Gel
  • Soap


This is what I like to start trip with and we replenish along the way. We usually make sandwiches out of the cooler during the trip and sometimes breakfast and then we will go out for dinner.

  • 1 case of water
  • 1 case of special drink (Gatorade, IZZI, etc.)
  • Fresh Fruit (washed and ready to eat in plastic storage containers in cooler)
  • Fresh Veggies (cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, snap peas, yellow peppers washed and ready to eat in plastic storage containers in cooler.)
  • Sandwich makings (cold cuts, condiments, bread)
  • Healthy Snacks
  • 16 bottles of wine (This number varies based on how many days we are on the road and how much fun we are having.)
  • Tiger’s Food (18 individual baggies)
  • Tiger’s food and water bowls
  • Peanut butter and Jelly

Car Supplies (accessible)

  • Maps, travel books and hotel confirmations (I like to print these because sometime on the road you end up someplace with without internet.)
  • Tiger’s leash
  • Tiger’s poop bags
  • Snuggle Blanket for each child
  • Giant Cooler
  • Cooler to fill with wine
  • Tiger’s kennel
  • Trash bags
  • Wet wipes
  • 2 Rolls of paper towels
  • 1 box of Tissues
  • 1 Box of Large ziploc bags
  • 1 box of sandwich size ziploc bags
  • 1 large plastic cutting board (I use this to make sandwiches in the car)
  • box of plastic silverware
  • paper plates
  • ziploc Tupperware containers


  • AAA & AA batteries
  • Wine bottle opener (very important to be easily accessible for the first night’s stop)
  • Two wine glasses/ or package of plastic glasses/cups
  • Flashlights
  • Emergency Road Side Kit
  • Tiger’s vet records (In case we board him one night)
  • Laundry detergent (I like the pods)
  • Stain remover
  • Laundry bag for dirty clothes
  • Rolls of quarters (this is for the laundry)
  • Lysol Disinfecting Wipes
  • First Aid Kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
  • 5 Beach Towels
  • Small table (the one from Costco)


  • GoPro
  • Selfie stick
  • Tripod (We never would’ve gotten that photo in front of Devil’s Tower without it.
  • iphone and iPad chargers
  • DVD’s (kids choose and pack)
  • Camera, lens, and chargers and extra memory cards if needed
  • Computer & Charging cord

Fun Stuff

  • Fishing gearV
  • Volleyball
  • Soccer ball
  • Frisbees for Frisbee Golf
  • Cards (and book on card games)
  • Scrabble
  • Liars Dice
  • Baseball gloves and baseball
  • Golf Clubs for Rob and Bob
  • Football

Personal Backpack

This is basically your carry on bag. Each person packs the things they may need in the car in their  personal backpack that stays within their reach in the car.   This includes all personal electronic devices, book, notebook, headphones, small toys, ect. This bag also includes a bathing suit and a change of clothes. Sometimes we pull into a hotel just to sleep and we don’t want to get all the bags out of the car. This way, each person walks in with what they need for the night.

Please leave a comment and let me know if you are headed out on the road and what you like to pack or how you pass the time on the road. And follow our family along the way on Instagram.