Packing for a family of six doesn’t need to be a scary thing. Since we are a larger family, most of our East Coast travel is in the car. Road trips are my preferred method of travel to begin with so I’ve had some practice in attempting to perfect it all. As soon as I have it down pat, the kids have grown to the next stage in life and I get to try all over again. While our road trips don’t require diaper bags, bottles and Binky’s anymore, if we’re not fully prepared, the teenage temper tantrum can make being together in a car for 12 hours feel like 12 days. Terrible two’s have nothing on a hormonal, hangry teenager!
As most parents of teens know, the first thing you MUST have are enough snacks. I picked up this utility tote from Hobby Lobby for $6.99 and used a 40% off coupon. Then I filled it up with my kids’ favorite snacks. I’m all about having my kids eat healthy but we change it up on vacation, most especially when we have long car rides. Of course I’ll have a cooler packed with waters and some fruits and veggies but this tote is your lifeline when things start to get a little precarious. I’ll be storing the larger tote in the trunk for replenishment and to keep the kids from overdoing it on the snacking.
Before we leave, each one of my children will get to customize their own “snack pack”. I found these awesome shower caddies with extra large suction cups on Amazon…I’ll link to them below. Each of the kids is going to fill his or her own caddy with the snacks of their choice. Our daughter made a sample of what she will be bringing… Kettle chips, Smartfood, Tic Tacs, a Nutri Grain bar, granola bar and an apple juice. This caddy fits a lot! For smaller kids you can add crayons and coloring books…not everything needs to be edible. Then each child will suction it to their window for the drive. This eliminates kids fighting over who got what, who ate it all, who is breathing loudly…just kidding about that last one…sometimes kids just like to argue for no real reason. This will hopefully take the heat off of any snack related quarrels. (Disclaimer: window locks will be on so the children cannot roll down the windows while the caddies are attached AND my car is very large…so the caddies do not impair the drivers view at all. You must check your state laws for items on windows and whether you can see clearly out of all windows in your vehicle before driving.)
Having a packing list is key for kids (and adults). I typed one up with the days we will be gone, the necessities each person needs (deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, medicine etc) and printed out for each child. Using this list, I’m still telling them what they need, but they get to pack the clothes they WANT (plus whatever I slip in. Mom101- post packing add-ons). Each child will check off the items they’ve packed as they go, and then I will scan to make sure no one has forgotten anything (underwear is something my family typically overlooks). Having the kids pack their own outfits (mostly), means less attitude from them while you’re away. Apparently when mom packs matching sibling outfits, that’s totally “cringey”. Oops. I fought that fight way too many times before implementing this list and while our pictures may not always look perfectly coordinated , the smiles are real and that’s what matters most!
Packing the car with six people and six suitcases amongst other things, has always been a challenge. Not necessarily because of the space, but because without fail, something happens. Usually it’s a power cord packed away in one of the suitcases…and heaven forbid the cell phone gets down to 6%. Without fail, it is always packed in the suitcase which is the hardest one to get to. If not that, then there was the time when we were going on a trip and my son declared two hours in that he forgot shoes. Wait, what?! Yep, he apparently walked out of the house barefoot and didn’t grab shoes. That was super fun. Packing shoes is now an item on the packing list- just in case someone walks out barefoot again. We learn the hard way sometimes.
This year we got an AAA emergency kit for the car. I’ve always bought seat belt cutters or those window breaker/phone chargers….but then I lose them. Or forget where I put them. So now it is all in a tidy blue case and ready to be stored in the back with the other emergency items…you know the teen snack box. Yes, they are each important in their own way.
So that’s it. We are packed up and ready to head out on our adventure. Put your seatbelts on…only 1230 miles to Tennessee. But the best news is: You are invited too!!! We are super excited to be traveling with AAA on this trip. You can read about our journey on the blog of course, but you can also get sneak peeks live and in action at
Spring Break 2019 starts now! Let’s go! #roadtrippinwithMelissaAAA