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)



___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.



___Dental Floss

___Lip Balm


___Hair Brush

___Shampoo and Conditioner (Mom packs big bottles for family for the trip)

___Face wash stuff

___Razor and extra blades

___Shaving Cream


___Hair Gel



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


___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


___Bug Spray

___5 Beach Towels

___Small table (the one from Costco)



___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 gear


___Soccer ball

___Frisbees for Frisbee Golf

___Cards (and book on card games)


___Liars Dice

___Baseball gloves and baseball

___Golf Clubs for Rob and Bob


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.