I have partnered with the J.M. Smucker Company to create these tips about how to pack for a road trip. They sent products and coupons and compensation was received. The honest opinions are our own.
Spring is here and that means it’s time to start planning for spring break and summer vacation! After a long winter it’s fun to day dream about packing everyone up and getting away for a few days. A family road trip is the perfect solution. No need to worry about outlandish prices for flights, getting to the airport 2 hours early to go through security, or sitting in a seat so small only your 3-year-old would be comfortable.
The beauty of road trips is that they can be well thought out or spur of the moment. The downside to them is getting everything to fit into the car. We consider ourselves very lucky because we have an ace up our sleeve in this area – Dave. He is amazing when it comes to packing a car. I don’t know how he does it but he makes it work, every time!
In fact, I always say that I wish there was a game show where contestants are challenged to pack enormous pile of miscellaneous items into a small car. I’m certain Dave would win!
Treat It Like A Puzzle & Keep In Mind There Will Always Be More
I like to pile everything up in our living room, and if it’s nice, outside near the trunk so I can assess everything we are bringing. Then I look at the size and shape of the trunk and treat packing like a puzzle, figuring out where each piece will best fit where. I also always keep in mind that Tesa or the kids will run out and say, “Here’s one more thing!” at least 5-7 more times.
Use A Layering Approach
Everyone always says put the largest things in first. While I sometimes agree with this theory I also make sure to use every nook and cranny. Trunks often have a lot of space tucked away in the sides and back. Before I put in a large suitcase, I will stuff something small off to the side in the back corner and if there’s room for more than one, I’ll make sure they are packed in tight together. This way I’m utilizing all of the space rather than blocking those empty areas with the large items.
Go In Knowing You Won’t Get It Right The First Time
Packing well takes more time than you would think but everyone is always surprised at the amount of stuff we can bring on a trip, so I feel it’s worth it. I go in knowing that I most likely won’t get it right the first time. Usually I’ll have to take things out to rearrange a number of times before it all fits just right. I make sure not to get frustrated by going back to thinking of it as a puzzle and staying patient. I know it may take time, so I plan accordingly. I find that the more time I have to pack, the less frustrated I get and then we don’t have to leave anything at home and spend money on buying it at our destination.
Pack Things You’ll Need First, Last
It’s important to make sure you pack the things you’ll need first, last. This way you can grab them out of the trunk when they are needed. If you have a stop or two on the way to your destination, the overnight bags for the hotels need to be easily accessible. No one wants to stand in a hotel parking lot with all of their things scattered about trying to find a makeup bag or the bag that holds the kids’ swimsuits for the hotel pool. So while it’s important to use every nook and cranny as mentioned above, even more important is this tip. It will keep everyone happy and make your trip less stressful and more fun.
The Inside Of The Car
Since Dave packs all the luggage, tote bags, sports equipment, sleeping bags, and more, I handle the food and entertainment.
Pack Convenient and Delicious Road Trip Snacks & Meals
If you have kids then your know they are always hungry. The best way to keep everyone happy is to pack snacks and even some meals for your road trip. Sure, you can stop along the way, but you also know the kids are going to what to eat between stops and constantly stopping not only gets expensive but makes getting to and from your destination take even longer. Snacks must be convenient, not messy, and delicious – that’s why we love Uncrustables.
Uncrustables are premade sandwiches that you store in your freezer.
There are a number of varieties including:
- Peanut Butter & Grape Jelly
- Peanut Butter & Strawberry Jam
- Peanut Butter & Honey Spread On Whole Wheat
- Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
- Peanut Butter & Raspberry Spread On Whole Wheat
- Peanut Butter & Grape Spread On Whole Wheat
- Reduced Sugar Peanut Butter & Grape Spread On Whole Wheat
We have been buying Uncrustables for years and Kora & Logan are always so excited to see a box or two in our freezer.
Within 30 minutes or saw they are thawed and ready to eat – perfect timing, because that’s just when the kids will start yelling they are hungry. They are always excited to see them in their lunch bags and everyone is all smiles as we get closer to our vacation destination.
Pack The Backseat Full Of Favorite Toys & Games
I always have Kora & Logan pile up all of their favorite toys and games before we hit the road and make sure to bring them along with us. We look for travel versions of their favorite games.
They have a magnetic hangman game that they love and it’s wonderful because the pieces don’t end up scattered about the car or lost. They all stick to the magnetic case and provide lots of fun and laughs. They also enjoy the Find It! games. They are tubes full of plastic sprinkles that hide all kinds of little trinkets that you try to find as you turn, flip, and rotate the tube. There are many different versions so if they solve one you can always pick up another – I’ve even seen DIY versions on Pinterest made with rice, what a money saver!
As for electronic games, like Simon, Bop It etc. they don’t bother either Dave or I but if they do get too loud we put a piece of duct tape over the speaker. It makes a world of difference! And while we like the Simon games, we don’t allow them to play anything with flashing lights at night. There are lots of great games out there that will make road trips fly by and before you go I suggest searching online for printables for the classics like Road Trip Bingo, The License Plate Game, the ABC Game, and more.
If you are headed to a theme park, be sure to pack some Uncrustables. They will defrost as you are riding roller coasters and watching parades. Pull them out when the kids start saying they are hungry, not only will the kid be thrilled but so will you wallet. Uncrustables are a real money saver compared to overpriced theme park food.
We are looking forward to our next road trip. We have plans to head to Charleston, South Carolina this summer and Dave will be packing the car with suitcases, I’ll be packing lunchboxes with Uncrustables, and we’ll all be ready to bring back with us smiles and fun family memories.
- Visit the Smucker’s Uncrustables website
- Like Uncrustables on Facebook
- Follow Uncrustables on Twitter
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