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Road Trip Organization Essentials

Tips and products to ensure a smoother, saner ride

by Brad

This time of year, many people begin gearing up for road trips and day trips. But whether you're a college kid looking for adventure or a parent just hoping to drive your kids to the park and back without having a complete mental breakdown, one of the most important predictors of how well your experience goes is your organization plan.

To help formulate that plan, here are a few basic pointers and product suggestions...

- Keep clutter out of the driver's area

A distracted driver is a bad driver, so make sure you have everything youl need before you pull out of the driveway. The person driving should have frequently-used items (phone, sunglasses, etc.) close by, while other items should remain clear of this area.

Helpful products include: Grey Driver Cup Organizer (pictured above), MagGrip Car Vent Phone Mount, SmartGrip Pad, Rubbermaid Vent Caddy, Rubbermaid Seat Wedges, Drop Stop Seat Gap Filler

- Stash your trash

Designate an easily accessible place where all passengers can dispose of their detritus. (Isn't "detritus" a fun word?) And when you stop for gas, remember to empty out the trash container to prevent it from overflowing.

Helpful products include: TrashStash Car Trash Bag (pictured above), Rubbermaid Pop-Up Trash Can

- Commute in comfort

Make sure that whatever your passengers bring to entertain themselves (small toys, games, electronic devices, snacks, etc.) and remain comfortable are not only within reach, but organized. That way, if Junior wants his tablet to watch the same TV episode for the 46th time, or if your grown buddy Jason wants his teriyaki beef jerky, they can find it.

Helpful products include: Express Portable Car Seat Organizer (pictured above), SwingAway Compact Organizer, Eagle Creek Ebony 2-1 Travel Pillow, Black Tissue Pocket Seat Organizer

- Keep it cool

To help all passengers remain cool and hydrated, water bottles and insulated cooler bags are a must-have. Plus, if time is of the essence, bringing cold snacks and lunches with you is a great way to save money and avoid making unnecessary stops. Or if you're just out and about running errands, coolers and insulated bags are also ideal for keeping groceries cool on the trip home.

Helpful products include: Built NY Prime Lunch Bag (pictured above), Built NY All Day Lunch Bag, 3 Sprouts Lunch Boxes and Water Bottles, Lunch Pak Ice Substitute, Icy Cools Reusable Ice Cubes, Black 20 oz. Wide Mouth Hydro Flask, 25 oz. Camelbak Chute Water Bottle

- Compartmentalize

In the event that you're packing camping gear, picnic gear, clothes, or other items, be sure to keep those well-sorted as well. Reusable Storage Bags and Pack-It Sacs are ideal for keeping everything from face masks and hand sanitizers to chargers, earbuds and drawing supplies organized.

Helpful products include: Stasher Silicone Reusable Storage Bags (pictured above), Eagle Creek Translucent Specter Pack-It Sac Sets, Eagle Creek Tourismo X-Ray Specter Pack-It Cubes, Eagle Creek Black Pack-It Cube Set, Eagle Creek Heathered Blue Packable Daypack

- Don't neglect the trunk space

Just because something is stashed in the trunk doesn't mean it shouldn't be organized. Keep shopping bags from falling over and small items from bouncing around like a pinball, by implementing some small dividers or storage crates. It's a small touch, but it can make a world of difference--especially when it comes to curbside pickups.

Helpful products include: Rubbermaid Wide Cargo Bin (pictured above), Folding Trunk Organizer, Collapsible Crate with Handles, Accordion Cargo Organizer, Rubbermaid Cargo Bin, Large European Commercial Crate, Black Ultra Storage Trunk with Wheels

- Prepare for the unexpected.

Thankfully, most road trips do not involve being stranded in the desert, talkative shower curtain ring salesmen, or driving a truckload of nitroglycerin up a treacherous mountain road. However, unexpected and inconvenient things can happen from time-to-time, so make sure your car is stocked with a few emergency essentials (a first aid kit, small tools, flashlight, etc.). They can really come in handy when you find yourself in a pickle, and since they don't take up too much room, why not bring them along?

Helpful products include: Life Hammer Plus (pictured above), Wilderness First Aid Kit, Swiss+Tech Micro Plus EX Hand Tool, Slimline Travel Umbrella, Watertight First Aid Kit, Eagle Creek RFID-Blocking Undercover Neck Wallet, MyCharge GO Portable Charger

- Mask up!

If you're going to be in a crowded public place such as a gas station, store, or park, make sure you have plenty of face masks and hand sanitizer handy. They're some of the best ways to help prevent illness and keep your whole crew healthy and having fun!

Helpful products include: Earloop Face Masks (pictured above), Steele Canvas Light Blue Chambray Face Mask, Steele Canvas Dark Blue Chambray Face Mask, On the Go Travel Kit (includes hand sanitizer)

For more travel tips, check out our Projects & Inspiration page. You can also browse all of our auto travel products here.