Travel Tips to Organize Your Car for a Road Trip


Learn how to organize your car for a road trip! Plus discover planning tips, car storage hacks and travel tips so you’ll be prepared for the unexpected.

Going on a road trip can be a wonderful way to see new places and embrace your sense of adventure as you head to your vacation spot. Traveling by car isn’t always the easiest way to reach your destination. As you plan your route, organize your car for a road trip and prepare for the unexpected along the way, you’ll find quite a bit of work goes into organizing a successful road trip.

Before you read any further, grab a copy of our Road Trip Planner! It has all the following information and SO much more (like maps and packing lists). You’ll be so glad you have it.

How to organize your car for a road trip.

Wondering where to begin? Get our FREE guide, The 30-Minute Organizing Secret, and discover easy ways to overcome the chaos of clutter – even with kids at home!

Are you considering a road trip for your spring break travels or are looking ahead to ways to spend your children’s summer break? You’ll find plenty of helpful tips, tricks, and ideas here to help you plan ahead and organize your car for a road trip.

The easiest place to start is with the 5-Day Kickstart. You’ll reset your brain in just 5 days, so you can focus on planning the trip, not worrying about your unorganized car.

Getting Ready For Your Road Trip

A key to a successful road trip? Plan ahead! Don’t wait until the morning you’re scheduled to leave to get your family ready. If you wait to the last minute to organize your car for a road trip, you’ll be hopelessly behind and in for a stressful journey.

Instead, if you want to set yourself up for a successful and stress-free road trip, you should:

Know your route.

It’s always a good idea to know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. Use Google Maps or a similar tool to find the easiest way to get from Point A to Point B. Then, do some research to see where you can stop along the way!

After all, one of the best things about road trips is the fact that you can stop to check out fun local attractions. See if your route will take you past well-loved landmarks like the Cadillac Ranch or the World’s Largest Ball of Twine. Then make it a point to pause for a quick photo opp and stretch break.

Prep and pack in advance.

Packing for a road trip isn’t the same as packing for a flight. You still need to bring the essentials, like clothes and toiletries. However, you’ll also need to prepare for spending long hours in the car. You’ll want to bring along snacks, games, and other things to keep you comfortable and entertained on your journey.

Make your packing list at least a few days before your road trip begins. This will give you plenty of time to wash all of your laundry, audit your snacks and entertainment options. Plus you can pick up any last-minutes necessities from the store.

We have a few more tips than these, too! Check out these suitcase packing tips that will give you more room than ever.

Organize the car!

You’re going to be spending quite a bit of time in your vehicle as you head toward your destination. So it’s smart to spend some time setting everything up before you go.

Make sure things like drinks, food, toys, chargers, and pillows are easy to access. You’ll also want a way to securely store those items when they aren’t needed. Don’t be afraid to invest in storage solutions to maximize space, like trunk organizers and storage bags with handles.

How to get ready for a road trip and organize your car.

How To Keep Your Car Organized On Your Road Trip

You can spend hours organizing your car before your road trip begins. However, keeping it organized once you’re on the road is another story altogether.

Spending hours in a cluttered, disorganized vehicle is a quick way to ruin a road trip. Take steps to minimize your stress and make it easy to get and store the things you need with some car storage hacks.

Tips To Organize Your Car For A Road Trip

You’re going to have much more stuff in your car than usual when you’re on your road trip. Instead of letting yourself get overwhelmed by everything, control your clutter.

Keep your car organized with some of these helpful car storage hacks:

  • Take advantage of the space behind your seats. You can hang bags to collect trash. Find an organizer to keep your kid’s toys and games at arm’s reach. Or add hooks to hold your purse or other bags off of the floor.
  • Get creative when it comes to organizing your car with containers. Equipped with multiple compartments and handles, shower caddies can be a great way to organize your car for a road trip. Use them to store and organize everything from snacks and drinks to small toys, books, tissues, and other essentials.
  • Don’t let spare change fill up your cup holders or get lost between seats. Keep coins contained in an old Android mint container or plastic pill bottle. This way you’ll also be prepared for any tolls you encounter on your trip.
  • Bring binder clips! Binder clips can be used to close chip bags, keep receipts together, clip things to your visor, and organize cords and cables.
Vacation secrets to keep your car organized.

How To Prepare For The Unexpected On Your Road Trip

It’s easy to think that everything will go well during your travels, but don’t be fooled. There are plenty of problems that can strike while you’re on the road that can put a serious dent in your road trip plans. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prepare for the unexpected.

Don’t Let Car Problems Ruin Your Road Trip

Get your car tuned up before you go. Swing by your local mechanic and let them make sure everything is in good working order. Change your oil, rotate your tires, and take care of whatever routine maintenance you need to address before hitting the road for a longer-than-usual drive. Putting an unusual amount of stress on your vehicle can bring problems to light and can be an easy way to ruin a road trip.

Anticipate – And Plan For – Potential Problems

No matter how well you organize your car for a road trip, there’s still the possibility that something could go wrong on your journey. While you can’t possibly prepare for every single instance, you can take a few precautions to keep you and your family safe and ready for almost anything:

  • Keep an emergency kit handy. A well-organized car should always include a standard car emergency kit. Car emergency kits typically come equipped with roadside flares, jumper cables, and other tools that may be useful if you find yourself stranded on the side of the road. While you hope you’ll never need to use this, anything from a flat tire to a more serious concern can leave you grateful you had one stashed in the back of your trunk.
  • Bring a paper map and cash. There are still parts of the country where GPS won’t work well, or at all. You may also find plenty of situations, from tolls and parking fees to small rural shops, where you may not be able to pay using a credit or debit card.
  • Prepare for unexpected messes. If someone gets carsick or spills a snack or drink, you’ll want to be able to clean it up ASAP and minimize any long-term damage to your vehicle. A first aid kit, wet wipes, garbage bags, and paper towels are all smart additions to any road trip packing list.
  • Overplan. Be prepared for more than you think might happen. Use a travel planner to keep track of all your documents and contingency plans.
How to prep for the unexpected during a road trip.
Are car organizers safe?

Loose things in your car could become projectiles in a car accident. As you choose car organizers, make sure they are secure.

How do you know if you have too much stuff in the car?

You know you have too much stuff when there isn’t room to comfortably sit and move your feet in the car. Don’t be boxed in by totes and bags.

How do you prevent messes in the car on road trips?

Use spill-proof cups and eat snacks that aren’t messy. Don’t bring things that can spill on your road trip either.

Now You’re Ready to Hit the Road

Don’t let your next road trip become a source of stress! Instead, plan ahead to ensure a successful journey. Now you know how to adequately prepare and pack smart for your adventure.

You’re ready to organize your car for a road trip – and know how important it is to keep it organized as you go! Better yet, you’ll also be able to anticipate potential situations that could throw a wrench into your travel plans. With all these tips, you’ll be well on your way to a smooth and stress-free road trip.

Simple tips to organize your car for a weekend getaway.

Struggling to get motivated? Sign up to get our FREE guide, The 30-Minute Organizing Secret, and discover easy ways to overcome the chaos of clutter – even with kids at home!

More Family Organization Articles:


  1. That’s a good idea to use clips to secure your chip bags. That way you wouldn’t have to worry about them spilling all over the floor. I have been on enough road trips with the kids to know that if they pass around the bag with it being open, it will spill all over the floor.

  2. Wow, thanks for all these tips! We take a lot of family road trips, and I just never feel properly prepared. I always have that nagging feeling that I forgot something. After read your post, I realize that I need a car trunk organizer for organizing various things. Seriously, thanks for all these awesomeness.

    1. Hi Gio,
      We’re so glad these tips will be helpful to you for your next family road trip.
      Wishing you healthy and happy travels!
      Best wishes,
      Clutter Keeper®

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.