Tips for keeping a neat car on a road trip

Recently, we are taking more and more road trips with our used BMW. It is a great thing to see families hitting the open road together, but not without its difficulties. Keeping a neat car on a road trip begins far before you ever leave the driveway. It involves some planning and preparation ahead of time, but it is a worthy task. Much of the stress associated with road trips is about how trashed the car gets. By the time you get where you are going, you are rumpled and tired and you don’t need to deal with popcorn or non-specific sticky stuff all over the car. The following tips help minimize mess, and keep order to your well-deserved and long anticipated vacation time.

Wet wipes – Every road trip should have a package of wet wipes along. Even adults and older children are prone to sticky fingers, and they come in handy regularly. It also gives you a valuable option for cleaning hands after a particularly yucky roadside stop.

scenic road

No Chocolate – Chocolate is not a good idea in the car. It melts very quickly and gets on everything. It will stain upholstery, and simply isn’t worth the trouble. If you want to bring along some candy, stick with gummy bears or worms, starburst or Mike N Ikes.

Drinks with lids – Whenever we hit the open road I pack an ice chest full of drinks. For the kids I use water bottles with pop up lids filled with Kool-aid or juice. They are just as happy with this, and it saves a lot of messes. Even the cups from fast-food restaurants are not very stable and prone to spilling, better to avoid the whole mess, and save a few bucks along they way by bringing your own.

An activity bag for everyone – Allow each person to pack 1 bag of games, books, toy cars, coloring books etc. Use Ziplocs to make sure small items don’t get lost in the bag or between the seats. Each person is responsible for their own bag, and keeping its contents picked up. If coloring is an important pastime, make sure you get markers that can be wiped off. Avoid crayons, they melt when left in the sun.

scenic road

A place for everything – It is much easier to keep anyplace picked up when everything has a place. If you are taking along a portable music player with all the trimmings, then make sure you have a case that is large enough for the player, headphones, cords etc. The same goes for travel games. Make sure you have a zip-loc bag or case for all travel games.