The Road Trip Pack List

I am a list person.  Lists keep me organized and on top of things.  You may have seen my Grocery Shopping  List where I have  everything I ever buy, almost, on a one page printable.  My Road Trip Pack List works the same way.  I have included anything I could imagine we would take on our family road trips.  These road trips might include staying in a hotel or rental property, camping, and staying with friends or family.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Print off the list.
  2. Highlight the items you need for a particular trip.
  3. Write in any thing I might have missed.
  4. Gather the highlighted items.
  5. Cross them off with a pen.
  6. Hit the road, knowing you didn’t forget anything!
(Note: you could also print off a duplicate list, highlight it as well then when it is time to pack up and head home, you are sure you didn’t leave anything behind)
Complete Packing List for Road Trip, Camp Out or Vacation

When my two oldest boys were very young I purchased two over the seat car organizers.  I have used these on every trip since then.  Now they are used for my little boys, 2 and 7.  I fill them with all kinds of surprises.  Sometimes I’ll wrap toys from the dollar store that my dis have never seen before.  This trip I dug through old toys and found anything that they might not have played with, at least for a while.  I load up each pocket and I don’t let them see them till we are enroute.

The Road Trip Pack List from Burlap & Denim

Here are a few of my favorite trip activities for little kids.  Stickers, flashlights/headlalam and glow sticks for late night or early morning driving, a grab bag of legos, and sticker/activity books.  Then there are the Magic Marker books, my mom used to buy these for me on road trips and I LOVED them!  I found this one at Target.  Target also carried a paint with water book that reminded me of when I was young.  These are great because all you need is a paintbrush and a water bottle.  I like to bag up a few pony beads and some plastic lace for making bracelets or patterns.  My kids have loved lacing things, these bears and their outfits came from JoAnn’s.  And lastly, those fuzzy pipe cleaners and foam beads from the dollar store.  Even a 2 year old can thread these.

The Road Trip Pack List from Burlap & Denim

Now for the older kids.  Digital entertainement is #1, that goes without saying, but to mix things up, I usually pack a few surprises for them too.  A card game that asks silly questions, Far Side comics, gel stickers for the windows of the car, a magnetic Wooly Willey, and because they are crafty too, a latch hook rug.

The Road Trip Pack List from Burlap & Denim

Do you know the joy of pulling down the little tray from the chair in front of you while riding on an air plane?  All the space, a table just for you.  Well I wanted to recreate that for my little ones.  I found an inexpensive and relatively small cookie sheet.  My husband busted out a Dremmel tool and cut two slivers out of each side.  Then I fished Velcro through the holes and wrapped them around the arm rests of their car seats.  These too were mad almost a decade ago and have served us well.

The Road Trip Pack List from Burlap & Denim

The flat surface works great for eating, coloring, crafting or playing with assorted magnets.  They work with our van’s regular arm rests as well.  The Velcro makes it easy to put on or take off.

The Road Trip Pack List from Burlap & Denim

My pack list has a ton of food items.  These are a few of my regular items that I take with me on trips.  I buy as much as I can fit in the car while I am at home for a couple of reasons 1. I don’t want to spend my trip time grocery shopping and 2. I like to bargain shop them where things are much cheaper at home.  The cocoa, instant oatmeal, and cup o’ soup are perfect for a cheap hotel with a coffee maker, just add hot water.  I can’t tell you how many times we have finished a day at Disneyland and all snuggled in with hot cocoa in our hotel, it feels quite luxurious.  And now my older boys enjoy a cup o’ soup as a cheap fourth meal.  Svenhard’s are a family favorite roasted over any campfire (seriously, try the cheese horn, yummmm).  I like to bring lots of tasty, easy snacks, especially ones we don’t eat regularly at home because it’s a vacation right?

The Road Trip Pack List from Burlap & Denim

One snack that is not listed but is a MUST is my Road Trip Chex Mix.

The recipe can be found HERE:

Road Trip Chocolate & Coconut Chex Mix

I hope this makes your next Road Trip run a little smoother!  What are you waiting for?

Click on the button below for the printable Pack List

Complete Pack List for a road trip, camping, or vacation

Linked Up: Funky Junk, Tatertots & Jello, Home Stories A2Z

Grocery Shopping List PDF


  • Pack list will not load and I would love to see it.

  • I love making checklists, i have them all in excel format, easy to edit and update. And i didn’t even know that there is such a thing as car seat organizers! I have been keeping our baby’s stuff in a plastic bag, not easy to reach when we are driving 80 miles per hour. Thank you for the tip!

  • Thank you so much for your Pack List Amanda! It’s so very helpful (for our trip overseas next week :)

  • I could not open the Camping list link either. I too tried all the other ways of opening the link. I did open the Grocery Shopping list in Acrobat and looks good!

    I’m a mom that packs for All types of camping and it drives me crazy. This list would make my life easier and move faster to keep up with our weekend warrior activities.

    Please can I get the file?

  • Thank YOU! I’m lost without my list.

  • I love your list. I was getting ready to create my own when I came accorss yours. Do you buy chance have an editable format I can use. We are out of the baby phase so I don’t need that section, but we do need a section for our dog because we often travel with her.
    Thank you again for sharing this with us!

  • So I LOVE the travel tray idea but hubby is concerned about safety if we are in an you have any tips to make it more secured? I would actually attach it to my daughters car seat as it has arm rests..thanks!

    • Pauline, I use the Velcro straps to keep them in place around the arm rests on my car seats. If we were in an accident I don’t think they would stay in place so I’ve never been too concerned about it, and I’m a seat belt fanatic. Hope that helps.

  • Concerning your cookie sheet tray… This is NOT a good idea. Consider what would happen in a car accident. You may be a safe driver but plenty of people on the road will not be. So please think about that before putting it on your child’s seat.

    • Even when “secured” with velcro, it can slip off very easily, but if you are worried, feel free to just set it on thier lap. It still works great with out velcro.

  • I would like to see the pack list but I see no link or photo for it.. I see a list with a pen on it but it only enlarges the picture when i click on it. Thanks

    • Christine, Click the last image with the words “Road Trip Pack List”. The image is the link to the list. Have a fun trip!

  • That is a lot of JUNK food! Where are the healthy snacks? Fruit?

    • Jessica, Thanks for your concern for my families well being. We love fruit and veggies, but most of our road trips consist of driving from Utah to California. If we pack any of those we run the risk of having it all confiscated at a CA checkpoint (there is an agricultural checkpoint after the desert). So instead of packing fruits and veggies, we make a pit stop at Costco when we get there. Did you know Costco charges the same price for most items no matter what city you buy them?

  • Hi! I love many of your ideas. However, your car seat pan/table idea in my opinion is a bit scary! In a crash they could very well injure your child! In my opinion the one’s on that are soft and crash tested would be the best option.

  • Thank you!!! I recently bought seat organizers similar to yours — we’re road tripping from Indiana to Yellowstone. Your ideas and your organization are both fabulous! Thank you for sharing them with us. :)

    • Awesome! I’ve wanted to go to Yellowstone for a while now but the whole thing seems so overwhelming! Have fun and don’t let the geyser getcha!

  • Thank you so much for this! My family will be vacationing for the first time since we had our second child (two boys ages 3 and 1) and I had a bunch of jumbled thoughts about what to pack; its like you were in my head organizing!

    I just happened by your site and will definitely be following.

  • My wife sent me this link asking if I could make the seats trays. I would just like to say, no one should make the cookie sheet seat trays. Those are horrible unsafe. If you get in an accident at 70 mph those are going to become child cut in half-er trays. For an activity tray you should look for something made out of a padded material that will compress on impact.

    • Jake, I see what you are saying. I don’t attach the trays to the car seat anymore, I just set it on their lap. That way in case of an accident it would fall off their lap. Let me know if you find something padded that works with magnets, is easy to color on and can hold a happy meal :)

      • The cookie sheet will not just “fall off their lap” it will be shot into the air at a really high rate of speed and could seriously injury anyone in the vehicle. Don’t believe me? Check out this article where a sippy cup almost killed a child during a wreck:

        • Heather, I did a little research based on what you said and you are right. When you are in the car, ANYTHING can become a deadly flying object if it is not secured. I read that even the smallest things like a pen can kill. I totally sympathize with the cafemom article. I think everyone has to decide what they are willing to do or not do for the safety of their family. I have decided that it is okay for my kids to have trays and toys on our 10 hour drives, many disagree with me and that is okay too. By sharing this article you have informed everyone that reads this blog on the dangers. Thank you.

          • You are correct about anything being a flying object, it is scary. I try to make sure anything hard is not in the car. My rule is if I am okay throwing it at my child than they can have it out in the car :) You are welcome.

          • Ha ha, thanks for lightening things up Heather!

  • I love your organizer that attaches to the back of the seat. Can you tell me where you got that? We always do a road trip and I put a box on the floor between the seats but I thought this would be easier for my kids to get. I love all the different spots – (large and small spots). Looks better than trying, a shoe organizer.

    • Kerri, Wow sorry I didn’t respond sooner! I found my organizers at Target or Walmart in their auto department. It has been 8-10 years since I bought them so I’m not positive. Here is a great one for a great price on Amazon:
      Back of Car Seat Organizer

  • Love this! Thank you for sharing. My boys are 2 and 7 and we are planning our spring road trip to Disneyland. Love the back seat organizers.

  • […] […]

  • Awesome list!! Wish I could modify it to include my daughter’s diabetes supplies :)

  • […] This fantastic road trip post from Burlap and Denim has plenty of tips, including a printable packing list, but my favorite part is her take on the […]

  • Amanda,
    I love your cookie sheet trays! I am making some for our 18 hour road trip (despite all of the worries of others), but I have a question. How did you cut the holes in the trays for the velcro? Did you use a drill?

    Thank you for all of the wonderful other ideas too! My kids will thank you too!

    • Sara, I used a Roto Zip. Basically a mini rotating circular saw blade hooked into a drill type tool. I’m sure there are other ways to do it though.

  • This is awesome! We are planning a move across the country with our four year old. This is so helpful. I will definitely refer to it later. Thank you!

    • You are brave to move across country with a four year old! Hope things go fabulous for you!

  • […] […]

  • […] Road Trip Organizers and Packing Tips from Burlap & Denim […]

  • not sure how to print the packing list?

    • Once you get to the page with the list, right click and select print. On my computer if I hover in the bottom right corner then a printer icon pops up. If you have an apple, I have no clue :)

  • Thank you for sharing this article. For us it’s a 3 hour drive to Disney World with teens, but I see lots of ways to make it fit us. I’m wondering if pipe insulation foam from Home Depot would help for padding the cookie trays….

    • I’ve never been to Disney World! Sounds like fun! The pipe insulation foam is a fab idea! Thanks Heather!

  • Thanks for the packing list ! this is great, I spend way too much time over packing, this list will help me stay focused and organized. Thank you for taking the time to share your tips as to what works best for your family. Dare I say, I might even put a cookie sheet in the plush tray that my son uses for our road trips. :)

    • Awesome Atalie, I’m glad I could help make your trip prep a little less stressful!

  • Yes!! Thank you, thank you! I could kiss you! Even though a lot of these are US-related and we are in England, I can see the genius planning that went into it. We too are victims of long road trips, across the length of England with two little ones. And your ideas really helped!

  • How do I get to the pack list?

  • […] LISTS, LISTS, LISTS! […]

  • […] trying not to forget anything.  And I always forget something.  This time around, I am using this checklist from Burlap & Denim.  It has proved very helpful.  I am so organized, I labeled […]

  • […] […]

  • […] kids to be occupied but the toys and snacks off of the seats and floor. The solution could be a DIY activity tray, made with just a cookie sheet and velcro strips (and a Dremmel for making the holes for the […]

  • […] kids to be occupied but the toys and snacks off of the seats and floor. The solution could be a DIY activity tray, made with just a baking sheet and velcro strips (and a Dremmel for making the holes for the […]

  • […] This fantastic road trip post from Burlap and Denim has plenty of tips, including a printable packing list, but my favorite part is her take on the […]

  • […] This fantastic road trip post from Burlap and Denim has plenty of tips, including a printable packing list, but my favorite part is her take on the […]

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    The try on the carseat is NOT SAFE! Please read this article!

  • […] […]

  • […] When the kids were little, we used to toss a couple cookie sheets in the car when we took long car trips.   The cookie sheet was a play mat, table, and a place for them to eat a snack.  Check out a bunch of cool travel ideas from Burlap and Denim! […]

  • […] Make it Fun There are fun games you can play with the kids in the car. Car bingo is fun! There are few variations to the game. Click here for free printable bingo boards.  You can make a cookie sheet activity tray! Click here for directions. […]

  • […] COOKIE SHEET ACTIVITY TRAY by Burlap & Denim:  There are so many games and activities that came be done on a cookie sheet.  Buy a cheap one from Dollar Tree!  If can also serve as a food tray. […]

  • […] For Road Trips; Burlap & Denim […]

  • […] Burlap and Denim, I made Cookie Sheet Magnetic & Play Trays. I spray painted two old cookie sheets, then used […]

  • […] The Road Tripe Pack List […]

  • I recently had the good fortune of reading your article regarding investment strategies. It was well-written and contained sound, practical advice.

  • […] not make them a magnetic play table with a baking tray, then stick little magnetic strips on their pencils and other play items to […]

  • that’s a bunch of things you got there

  • too bad i don’t have enough time to travel again

  • […] & Denim – Family Packing List (big button at […]

  • Please please remove the tray idea. It is extremely dangerous. Buzzfeed just shared this “hack” and it’s scary that people will not think twice and use this idea. This shouldn’t be circulating.

  • […] Tutorial: burlapanddenim […]

  • […] FROM: Burlap and Denim […]

  • looking good

  • nice post

  • Thanks for a thorough road trip list, hopefully I will never forget essentials again. One year, I forgot my cell phone and my shoes. Yes, two very essential things were forgotten. It was early morning and the car was loaded the night before and ready to go, I was wearing my slippers and in my haste forgot to put on shoes. They were very comfortable moccasin style slippers, they could have passed for shoes lol. I was 3 hours into our 8 hour trip, before I realized I forgot my cell. I was not going back for my cellphone, I had to buy a cheap flip phone and programmed the SIM card for my current plan. I can be scatter brained when I don’t have a plan on paper, thanks again for your awesome list.

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