Minivan Road Trip Prep
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We traveled all around Europe by train, plane and sometimes in an RV. Moving to the United States meant more time in the car. We upgraded to the perfect family road trip car – the minivan. As we log miles traveling the southeast we’ve figured out a few tips and tricks to prep the minivan for trips whether they are down the road to the beach or eight hours across the state.
The kids love their Boogie Board drawing tablets for play in the car. We found ourselves using them to jot things down all the time, so one has found its home in our center console. These electronic tablets are perfect for taking short term notes, like directions or jotting down a phone number. If I need to keep the information I just snap a photo of it with my phone. When you push the Boogie Board button, the screen erases. These e-pads use a small battery that lasts for months or even years.
Grid It Sun Visor Organizer
The Grid It sun visor organizer keeps everything I need close at hand. I try to keep all those little things I might be digging for in the glove box here. The elastic straps can hold nearly anything, plus I can still use the sun visor. Most importantly, I keep my drive-through coffee card here. It is always at hand and never gets lost, which means more free coffee for me!
Plastic bins keep everything nice and tidy! I literally cannot have too many of these at my disposal. when I’m getting the minivan ready. I have one bin for snacks, one bin for books, one bin for extra toys and one bin for our everyday needs like water bottles and hats. These are just really places to store everything but it does keep things looking nice.
This tip came from my friend Susan and is pure genius. We laid an aging yoga mat down on the floor to keep things tidy. The rubber is super easy to wipe spills off of and the whole thing can be removed for major cleaning. It has saved the floor of our car from melted ice cream, missed potty stops and melted crayon. The only modification I made to the Yoga Mat was to put a small notch in it so it laid flat behind the driver’s seat. This also keeps it from slipping around.
I read lots of mixed reviews on these. The biggest downside was that they can become projectiles in an accident. I really needed something to keep the things in the car organized though, so opted to get them. They are great for keeping a few things at arm’s reach of my two forward-facing kids. I did not need the ones that hold tablets, so instead looked for ones with the most pockets. They seriously help curtail the mess in the van by providing a place for all those little things the boys tend to drag into the car.
I actually don’t love the ones we ended up with, as I don’t find the pockets as useful as they could be. This one looks good but I haven’t personally tested it. I still love that all the kids stuff is not on the floor of the van and that I can rotate what is in arms reach. Its particularly great for my Big Little who sits in the back and largely keeps his own things organized.
I have 24 of these muffin cup liners in the car and they serve various uses. Some of them live in the cup holders. They really do keep crumbs and dirt from collecting. They are so much easier to pull out and clean than the cup holder itself. I do have to pull them out for some of my larger cups.
I also use them to distribute snacks in the car. Say we are splitting a bakery treat or have a bag of pretzels. The muffin cups are easily used as small bowls to contain everyone’s snack in a pinch.
They are also great just to collect things that would otherwise be random in your car. I’ve used them when pulling bobby pins out of my hair or when the boys collect sea shells. The bright colors remind me to bring them in, put away the small stuff and return the cups to the car.
I stole this little tip from my friend Erica (check out her Instagram for more fun). She posted about using the grabber to reach things around the car and I instantly knew that I had to steal this. (Do not do this while driving!)
With the grabber I can adjust vents in the middle row and hand things back to my Big Little who sits in the third row. I can reach nearly anything that gets dropped. Practically, it means I’m very rarely climbing into the back seat from the front seat for things. Game Changer!
Keeping the CD’s and DVD’s organized in the car can be a problem. I don’t have room for all the boxes and I like to have all our options with us. I found this 80 disc holder which has plenty of room for all our DVD’s. It is easy to see the discs for changes and to make sure they all get back into a holder. I also have this smaller holder for our CD’s.
I use a small hanging trash can to keep things neat and tidy up front. Larger trash usually gets cleared out of the car (we have a leave no trash behind policy). Small items, like wrappers and sticker backs, are usually the culprit for messiness in my car. The little trash can provides a place for them. It is up front and easy to empty every time I pull into the garage or stop to get gas.
I love using packing cubes for travel, but I also find them seriously handy in the car. With five peoples stuff to keep organized the packing cubes help keep like items together. I use one to keep all our rain gear together and another for all our “explorer” gear. I also have one up front that keeps our sun gear, which we use nearly every day. Having a place to put everything when we get back in the car (mostly) prevents lost hats and means we always have them in the car.
I have a number of items I like to keep in the trunk just to have in the car. The Origami Fit helps me keep them together and also keep things easy to find. These are packing cubes that fit together and then fold on themselves. (Read my review of packing cubes here.)
In the trunk I keep items like a first aid kit, jumper cables, an extra blanket, sunscreen, bug spray, entertainment for the kids, emergency snacks and an extra (and full) water-bottle. Instead of having all these items rolling around in my trunk, I have them organized into these cubes.
A1 Sunshield Sunshade
Protecting the car from the sun, and attempting to reduce interior temperatures are a constant battle. The A1 Sunshield Sunshade is a huge help in this battle. It folds small and pops into life. The important thing is to use the sizing chart to get the right one for your car, one size does not fit all.
I always carry extra batteries in the car. We have three sets of bluetooth headphones. One of them is always running out of battery. I use an old sunglass holder to keep track of them. They are tucked into my center console so they are easy to find when headphones (or a beloved toy) runs low.
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