#1 Tip for a Family Road Trip: The Hotel Bag

For anyone just tuning in, this month is Travel Month at The Tidy Fox, wherein I’m delving into the thousand and one ways to make family vacations and road trip prep run smoother and serve you better in the long run. (First post here. Free download here.)

 Today’s topic: The Hotel Bag.

If you’re like me, you love a long car ride. Or, you love a long car ride right up to the moment you hate it, and then you want it over NOW. For me, NOW comes about six hours in, and then I want my wine and my pool and my soft pajamas and my bed. 

We all have a sense of just how long we can go before it’s time to rest.  And when we stop for the night, that’s what we want. Rest. But do you know what I hate more than a long car ride?  Finding and collecting what we need from all our suitcases and bags only for a few hours in a hotel pool and a drink in a plastic cup.  

Think of stopping for the night as a vacation within a vacation. A little extra planning know-how before you leave for your trip will turn your overnight travel break into its own kind of adventure. You may find years from now that your time sitting poolside or jumping on hotel beds was where your best memories were made.

Thus, your hotel bag. Think of it as a microcosm of your needs for the longer trip, all packed together in one place. Here are the essentials:

  • One set of jammies for each person
  • One swimsuit/bathing suit for each person 
  • One jumbo-sized ziptop bag to pack up wet swimsuits the next day
  • One change of clothes for each person- a second for little ones still playing roulette with blowouts and spit-ups. 
  • Everyone’s toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Hairbrush(es)/Combs/Hair ties
  • Travel-sized toiletries (bonus points for reusable containers)
  • A charger for phones and devices
  • Diapers and a pack of wipes (for small children)
  • Bedtime stories (or whatever you need for your nighttime routine)

That’s it.  This isn’t a bag to cover every possible scenario or potential need.  It’s a bag to get you through the night at a place you’re using to break up the monotony of driving.  Don’t overthink it. Do NOT overpack it.  Simplicity is key, less is more (and so on). Do it once and you’ll never go back.