Pack Like a Pro: Painless Prep for Summer Road Trips

If you’re a frequent visitor of the Lessy Messy blog, you know how excited we are for summer to arrive. As the COVID-19 pandemic slows across the globe, we’re incredibly optimistic that there are exciting adventures in store for families in 2021 (and beyond). If you’re gearing up for your own adventure-packed summer with loved ones, we’ve got you covered when it comes to painless packing and prep!


Loading up the kids, dogs, luggage, and supplies before a big trip doesn’t have to be exhausting. As it turns out, with the right packing list and enough preparation, you can enjoy a smooth trip from start to finish. Whether you’re a veteran adventurer or a family road trip newbie, we’ve got all of the best tips, tricks, and must-haves to help you make the most of your time together this summer. We want you to enjoy quality time together, instead of stressing over the little things along the way.


Enjoy our roundup and save it for later to help you prepare for your next big adventures. Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram (@lessymessy) to share your own favorite road trip essentials with us!


  • Build snack baskets for you and your little ones.

Avoid the inevitable sugar rush that comes from last minute snack grabbing at the gas station while on the road. Plan ahead and pre-pack healthy, nourishing snacks that you and your family loves. Keep them in an easy-to-reach basket up front or with the kids so that when hunger strikes, you can be ready!


  • Keep hourly activity bags on hand.

There’s nothing better than surprises to keep long drives entertaining and exciting. Ahead of your trip, start collecting (or purchasing) some of your kids’ favorite activities - think: coloring books, movies (if your vehicle allows), fidget toys. Put them in bags and label them with time markers. Let your kiddos know that at each time increment, they can open a new bag. This will ensure they’re on their best behavior, have something to look forward to, and are continuously entertained along the way, limiting the number of times you have to hear “are we there yet?”


  • Create a destination tracker before you hit the road.

We’ve seen a few really creative examples of this one, but you can make it as exciting or simple as you’d like. Start with a roll of masking tape and cut a strip that spans across your vehicle’s headliner. Use a marker to add milestone cities across your line of tape - places you plan to stop or recognizable traffic hubs. Then, cut out a family photo or print out a picture of your car. Use the strip of masking tape to track your road trip progress. This is another great way to cut down on the number of times you have to field the question, “are we there yet?”


  • Protect your car from spills, stains, and messes.

There’s nothing worse than having to make pit stops to clean up spilled juice, snacks, or accidents along the way. One of our innovative customers let us know that her favorite road trip essential are the Lessy Messy outdoor and trunk mats. She uses hers to cover the back seats of her minivan and straps car seats right on top. The mats catch any crumbs, spills, or mishaps along the way and upon arrival, can be removed, shaken out, and tossed directly in the washer. They keep your car clean, and cut down on clean up time - a win win!


  • Create a pulley system to pass snacks to the backseat.

We were thrilled to see something so innovative pop up on our radar. This easy DIY can be done using string and a small bucket or recycled milk jug. Tie a string or thin rope from the front seat grip handle to the back seat grip handle (or a similar anchor point). Before tying the knot, loop a bucket or the handle of a recycled wide-mouth container to the string. Once you’ve tied a suitable knot, you’ll be able to send snacks, drinks, or activities all the way to the backseat without having to unfasten your seatbelt. Simply put items in the bucket, and pull the string like a pulley system to send it back and forth!


  • Build the perfect playlist for you and your crew.

It might seem like a small detail, but the right soundtrack will go a long way in keeping the magic alive throughout your trip, no matter how long you’re on the road! Fill a playlist with your favorite family-friendly songs - whether they’re silly, sweet, or terribly sung, they’ll keep your kiddos alert, active, and maybe even tire them out.


And with that, we wish you safe travels and exciting adventures with your loved ones this summer. Don’t forget to tag us in your favorite adventures on Instagram, and send us your favorite road trip hacks, too.