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Packing Up the Family for a 17 Hour Roadtrip
October 4, 2012 at 12:00 AM

Fall break is already closing in on the calendar, and little do my kids know it, but we’re preparing to take all six of us on an epic 17 hour road trip to Walt Disney World. My two oldest girls (ages eight and five) are madly in love with all things princess, so we decided now is the time to strike while the magic is hot, hoping to get the biggest bang for our magical buck.

 We’re trying to stay as frugal as possible when it comes to our expenditures, so naturally we’re going to hit the road in the minivan instead of buying six plane seats.

I’m doing my best to pack smart and efficiently. Carefully considering all our needs, so we don’t overpack or forget any essentials.

Packing six people (one of which is a baby) for a week’s vacation is no small task. Over the past couple years, I’ve learned that in order to pack successfully, you simply cannot do it the night before. Organization and preplanning is key.

When it comes to packing for a large family, here are a few tips and tricks that have worked well for me:

Make lists. I try to break my trip up into categories, and then make corresponding to-do lists. A list for what we’ll need in the car. A list for each person. A miscellaneous lists, such as what electronics and other supplies I don’t want to forget.

Piles, piles, and more piles! After I have my  lists started, I get to work and making piles based off the lists. Each of my children have a different colored polka-dot duffle bag, and I start about a week ahead of time piling their clothes on top of the bag.

I figure out what’s included and what’s not at our destination. For instance, does the hotel/resort provide beach towels? Do I need to bring my own pack n’ play or booster seat? All these things make a huge difference in trunk space if I don’t have to lug it along!

Borrow what I can from friends and family. We have a DVD player in our car, but own very few DVD’s. Instead of investing in expensive movies for the trip, we borrow! Same goes with beach chairs, camping supplies, ect.
Keep the itinerary as flexible as possible. Especially when it comes to traveling with small children, I start the trip out assuming my schedule won’t go as planned.

I’ll admit, we’ve been plotting and planning this trip now for the better half of a year, and I know I’m just as excited as the kids are (or will be when they find out). Packing up a big family for a week is no small task, and it’s almost made my head spin!

But at the end of the day, I know all my hard work will pay off, and we’ll make some fantastic memories.

What’s your best advice for packing up the family for a road trip?


  • Madelaine
    October 6, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Good luck!!

  • daerca574
    October 6, 2012 at 10:48 AM

     make sure there is plenty of stuff to do in the car and don't forget to bring extra batteries for toys!

  • TheBabyFactory4
    October 6, 2012 at 12:53 PM
    Make a list of everything you need. We just did a 13hr trip with my 4 over the summer. Pack whatever you can ahead of time and put it in one spot. Then make a list of what can't be packed until the last minute so.I wouldn't forget
  • alliesmom112
    October 6, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    we make a 13 hour trip every Christmas. We always make sure that dd has plenty to keep her entertained. We leave in the evening so she can sleep a good portion of it.

  • meglennox
    October 6, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    i make lists and then the day before i'll make piles on my bed. a pile for me, a pile for hubby and a pile for each of our three boys.   

  • Madelaine
    October 6, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    Long trip!!!

  • MamaBear2cubs
    October 6, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    Pack lots of snacks and games.

  • KristinRox
    October 6, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    Id make sure there is tonnes of stuff to keep the kiddos occupied. 

  • KristinRox
    October 6, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    I agree about the pit stops. They totally help you get from point A to B without much of an impact. 

    Quoting Bob192:

    Have lots of stuff for the kids to do in the car, take lots of snacks, and make pit stops even when you don't have to.

  • KristinRox
    October 6, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    I also have a tote for camping. I put it in the van and then we are good to go. The tote makes for easy access and it protects the clothing from getting wet or dirty. 

    Quoting natesmom1228:

    Make sure everything is ready to go. We usually go camping and I have a camping tote that I just need to put in the car and off we go.


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