Thinking about traveling with your family for a month or more can feel a little overwhelming, but today I’m sharing some roadtrip organization tips we’ve gathered from almost 1.5 years worth of extended family travel over 5 trips under our belts.
Staging Area: At some point I’ll do a post with preparation cheat sheets with all the different things you have to consider for an extended time away from home, but my favorite simple preparation tip is to have a “staging area” set up 1 week to a month before you leave. You can plan and write lists like crazy, but ultimately it feels a lot better to just start filling a designated bag over time as those random things pop into your mind. Then when it comes time to pack it’s already gathered.
Always an Overnight Bag: In addition to our extended travel trips, we also usually make a couple of shorter roadtrips each year, so I’m not sure why it took me until the last couple of years to start always packing an overnight bag. Even when we’re just going somewhere for a week, we often make an overnight stop on the way to, and/or from, and it is SO nice to think about it beforehand and have only the things we will use for that part of the trip in a separate bag. Most of the time we’re getting to our destination in the evening, and even when we’re not, it’s really nice not to have to worry about rummaging around through all of our stuff to find what we need for the first day.
Specific Bags for Specific Things: This probably goes without saying, but we try to be very organized about the way we pack. After rooting through suitcases and duffelbags hundreds of times in search of that one elusive item over the years, we find it easier to put all like things together, for the most part – all the shoes in one bag (or in our case, container), for example.
Totes/Laundry Bags: For our shorter trips we like to pack several small, individual duffelbags and put them into a giant duffelbag along with the shoes and whatever else fits in there. For our longer trips, though, (on roadtrips, not on planes, obviously) we have found it really useful to pack in totes or laundry bags – I think probably a combination of both is best. Then, once you’re at your destination, your luggage can double as storage and organization far better than the average duffelbag or suitcase could. Currently, one of our totes is being used as a laundry basket, one as storage for items we don’t need here (but will use in our other destination later this winter), etc.
Extended Stay Organization
Hanger Organizer: Wherever we travel, there is rarely a lot of closet space, so optimization is key, and hanger organizers do wonders. We just have plastic, but these metal ones look even better.
Pants/Skirts Hangers: This is another great way to optimize closet space.
Hanging Pocket Organizer: I honestly don’t even know how we came to have our hanging organizer, but we gladly use it every trip. Surfaces are usually at a premium during extended trips, so the more you can hang up for easy access, the better.
Necklace Hanger: Like any sane person, I hate tangled necklaces, and keeping things organized while traveling isn’t easy. Using a tie/belt hanger is a great solution, or a mere hanger is even simpler.
Little Drawers: Whatever makes it easy to keep things neat and tidy is my friend, and little plastic drawers are awesome for underwear, socks, tanktops, and more!
Under the Bed Boxes: There is little that’s more annoying than searching high and low for a missing shoe, and one of the hardest things to keep neat during extended travel seems to be the shoes. It almost always seems to be easiest to keep shoes lined up under the bed, but they inevitably end up getting kicked around. I highly recommend using a box or plastic container to keep things in order.
I explain a bit more about this stuff in the video above.
This purse/bag organizer wasn’t on the video, but with the hundreds of hours I’ve spent in the car, I can tell you that this would be an awfully handy thing to have, just to wrangle random stuff that floats around and gets lost – forget the purse.