There’s something about summer, the lure of the open road and the promise of a change of scenery that makes us want to load up the car and just go someplace. If there’s one time you really want to be organized, it’s when you’re traveling. Traveling requires more organization than we may possess in our daily lives, so cut the stress by following an organizing checklist for inside the car.
Planning & Prepping
- Make sure your car is good condition – oil checked, tires inspected and filled – test the air conditioning and wiper blades.
- Driver’s license, passports, insurance card, ownership and registration, and contact numbers for roadside assistance should be readily accessible. Make spare copies and leave with a travel companion.
- Spare tire and jack – are in good shape and are easy to access. An emergency car toolkit should include an orange flag or pylon that you can use to signal for help if needed. Learn how to change a flat tire.
- Spare set of keys – in case they get locked inside the car or drop out of your pocket. (Even if you have to call a locksmith to open the car, you’ll be able to drive when it’s unlocked.)
- Plastic grocery bags for garbage – always!
- Backpacks can hold a lot of gear. Each young member of the family can have their own for a blanket, sweatshirt, hat, sunglasses, spare shoes. They can access anything that they need on their own and have a place to wrangle their souvenirs.
- A file box with a labeled folder for each section of the road trip.
- A traditional map or print custom maps for your journey at GoogleMaps or MapQuest Route Planner. AAA will also provide route maps for members.
- (GPS) A Global Positioning System – some travelers say they wouldn’t leave home without one!
- APPS are available on smartphones to find everything from restaurants, hotels, parks, other points of interest as well as weather reports and plenty of games, quizzes and puzzles for young ones.
- Book the hotel ahead so you don’t have to find a place at the end of the day. Find hotels with generous cancellation policies.
- Music – An iPod playlist or CD collection if you’re traveling through an area where radio signals might be sketchy.
- Audio Books, DVDs and a laptop.
- Spare batteries, charging cables and electricity power converter for electronics.
- Healthy Snacks: fruit (apples can keep well for a long time), pretzels, granola bars, crackers and nuts, along with a few fun treats. A trip to the grocery store along the way can help you save money too, because the costs of dining out can add up.
- Beverages: A soft-sided cooler packed with water bottles and low-sugar soft drinks.
Toiletries Within Easy Reach
- Tissues, paper towels, cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer and a roll of toilet paper, in case the rest stop isn’t well-stocked.
- Prescription medicines as well as basics like pain relievers, antacids and remedies for motion sickness.
- Sunglasses and sunscreen.
- A first aid kit with antiseptic and band-aids for minor cuts, cortisone cream for insect bites, and bandages.
Clothing & Comfort
- Wear comfortable clothing – no items which restrict or bind.
- Wear shoes that are easy to take on and off and socks for cold feet.
- A sweater or jacket over a T-shirt for instant respectability in public areas.
- A small blanket if you disagree on the temperature setting within the car.
- A pillow from home for an unfamiliar hotel bed.
- Think twice before posting about your trip on social media if your house is currently empty!!
Thanks to Professional Organizers in Canada for this article.