40 Genius DIY Road Trip Hacks
To fight this boredom, you should pack a variety of fun activities and delicious and healthy snacks to take with you. Unfortunately, space is a limiting factor when you’re on the road. You do have some options, though, when trying to provide fun activities while on a road trip.
These road trip hacks provide a wide assortment of tips and advice for both adults and kids on long road trips. This includes fun games to keep the kids occupied, useful tips to use when traveling, and kits you can put together to make your family road trip safer. Use these road trip hacks the next time you find yourself on the open road to make traveling easier.
1) Make a Laminated Travel Map for the Kids
On a long road trip, kids often ask constantly how much further you have to go. To help prevent this, laminate a map of your route or place it in a transparent sheet protector. While on your drive, give your kids some dry erase markers so that they can trace your trip on the map and have an idea of where you are along your route.
2) Less Messy Snacks
Kids love snacks while on a road trip, but they also have a tendency to make a mess with those snacks. To prevent this with liquid-type snacks, like Go-Gurt, place a straw in the snack container. This allows them to eat the snack without getting it everywhere.
3) DIY Binder Clip Phone Car Stand
All you need for this hack is a metal office clip and a rubber band. Attach the clip to an air vent on the front of your console, and place the rubber band around the clip. To attach your phone, simply wedge it in between the two clip ends. The rubber band should keep tension on the clip, keeping the phone in place.
4) Use Solar Chargers
What do you do when you have too many phones and not enough places to charge them? Innovations in technology now allow you to charge your cell phone using a stick-on solar window charger. You can find these wondrous devices online or at retail stores.
5) Car Window Art
Keeping your kids occupied while on a road trip is sometimes a chore. One idea for parents with older, artistic kids is to give them some washable window markers and stencils to keep them occupied while on the drive. This should provide them with hours of fun and is easy to clean up.
6) Post-It Trip Reminders
In order to better keep up when you need to take a break when driving on a road trip, use Post-it notes with the times of when you plan on making a stop. Stick the Post-its to the car radio below the clock so that everyone in the car knows when a break is coming up. You can also use this hack as a reminder when to give out special treats during the drive to liven things up.
7) Snack Kit Hack
All you need to make this useful hack is a clear, plastic tackle box and some snack items. Then, when it’s snack time, pull out the kit and let your kids pick what they want. Make sure to include some healthy snacks within your kit.
8) Alternate Phone Lock Screen
To quickly have your phone returned to you if you lose it on a road trip, simply change the phone lock screen. Use a phone lock screen image that contains your emergency contact information, including your name, an alternate phone number, and your email address.
9) Make a Road Trip Journal
A road trip journal is a perfect way for you to keep mementos and photos of your trip. In addition to your thoughts on the trip, items to place in the journal include pictures, postcards, and other memorabilia from the locations that you visited along the way.
10) M&M Tube Quarter Hack
If you need to take some spare change with you on a road trip, you can easily store quarters in an old M&M Minis container. The candy container is the perfect size to fit a row of quarters. Best of all, you can close the lid to keep the quarters in place.
11) Exit Sign Trick
To keep track of which side of the road your exit is on, look for the placement of the exit number at the top of the highway signs. For exits on the right, the exit number is off to the right. For exits on the left, the number is on the left.
12) Road Trip Basket
Before setting out on your next road trip, make sure to put together a basket of items that might come in handy along the way. Some useful, but often forgotten items include paper towels, dental floss, and hand sanitizer. In addition, take along some extra toilet paper in case you need it along the way.
13) Dice Rolling Hack
To easily contain dice for games while on a road trip, place the dice in a small sealable Tupperware container. Then, when you need to roll the dice, simply shake the container. The dice stay in place and won’t get scattered and lost in the car.
14) Road Trip Pet Kit
Some travelers like to take their pets with them on their road trips. If this is you, make sure to pack items specific to the care of your pet. Good items for a road trip pet kit include a crate in which to carry them in if needed, waste bags for when you need to clean up after them, and portable water and food bowls.
15) Cart Seat Cup Hack
If you have young children in a car seat who like to throw their bottle or sippy cup into the floor of the car, simply attach a short tether to the cup to make it easy to retrieve when they do. You can also do this for other items as well, including toys. Just make sure to monitor your child so they don’t end up wrapping the tether around their neck or putting it in their mouth.
16) Neat Road Trip Countdown
Another hack for helping your kids keep track of where you are on your road trip is to make a road trip countdown. Simply attach some thick string between two points overhead and make fun cards listing cities and towns to clip to it. As you reach each point, remove the corresponding card. Just make sure not to obstruct the driver’s view of the road.
17) Purchase an Electric Car Cooler
An easy way to keep snacks and drinks cool on a road trip is to invest in an electric car cooler. Most car coolers are small enough to fit in the back seat and plug into the 12-volt outlet located in your car. Many newer cars even have such outlets in the center console.
18) Good Behavior Clips
This hack allows you to use a reward system for good behavior to encourage your kids to behave while on a road trip. Create personalized clips to attach to the sun visor. Whenever someone does something they shouldn’t, remove their clip from the visor. Whoever has a clip still up at certain points gets a reward. Those who don’t get nothing.
19) Makeshift Hotel Toddler Bed
If you find yourself trying to figure out sleeping arrangements at the hotel, you can use this simple hack to create a makeshift bed for your toddler. Push two accent chairs together, if your room has them, to create an enclosed space for your toddler to sleep.
20) Make Your Own Car Desk
If you have an older child who likes to color, draw, or play games while on a road trip, then this hack is for you. To make a car desk, use a clean metal cookie sheet. The cookie sheet can hold objects, such as crayons. In addition, the metallic surface of the cookie sheet allows you to attach magnets for playing games.
21) Picnic Light Hack
Before leaving on your road trip, pack a few solar lights and items to prop them up that you can take along with you. Then, if you find yourself stopped alongside the road after dark eating dinner or in a campground, break out the solar lights for instant illumination. You can use inverted flower pots as stands for the lights.
22) Use Dryer Sheets
To cut down on odors in the car, keep a small box of scented dryer sheets open in the car. This should help keep your car smelling fresh throughout your trip. If needed, replace the box with a new one, especially after a long trip.
23) Car Finder Trick
Before leaving your vehicle in an unfamiliar area, drop a pin on its location in your GPS app. Then, when you need to find your car, just use the GPS to find it. This saves you time and keeps you from losing your car.
24) Screenshot Hack
If you know you will be going into an area with iffy Wi-Fi service, take a screenshot of the directions to your destination just in case. That way, you can pull them up if your connection goes down and don’t have to worry about getting lost.
25) No-Mess Popsicle Hack
If you want to treat your kids to a cool Popsicle snack on your next road trip, but want to avoid the mess, use this handy hack. Insert the Popsicle stick through a cupcake liner. This should catch any drips and keep your car cleaner.
26) Bag Hanging Trick
In most cars, space can be at a premium. If you need to keep items in your car within easy reach, then use a few carabineers to hook them to the back of the headrest. This useful hack works well with umbrellas, purses, and totes.
27) Bring Extra USB Ports
In order to get more out of your devices, bring a two-port USB car charger with you. These devices plug into the 12-volt port in your car and allow you to hook up USB devices to them for charging. This works especially great in older vehicles that may not have any USB ports.
28) Suction Cup Shower Organizer Hack
If you find yourself looking for space to hold activity-related items for your kids, then consider using a shower organizer. The suction cups on the organizer stick easily to glass and can hold a wide variety of art supplies and other items. When finished, simply remove and store away.
29) Road Trip Emergency Kit
In addition to a jack and other roadside emergency equipment, you should bring some emergency supplies along with you. A good road trip emergency kit should contain a good pair of walking shoes, extra water, a flashlight, flares, and blanket.
30) Easy-to-Make Altoid Tin Game
Altoid tins are perfect for holding small items, including crayons. You can also place magnetic pieces in the tin and make a compact tic-tac-toe game. Simply keep the pieces in the tin while drawing the tic-tac-toe board on the lid in permanent marker.
31) Gas Tank Trick
If you find yourself driving an unfamiliar car, this trick allows you to quickly find the gas cap when fueling up. Simply look at the gas gauge. Most have a little symbol of a gas pump with an arrow pointing to the side of the vehicle to alert you to where the gas cap is located.
32) Use a Smartphone Car Radio Adapter
While some newer cars offer a jack in which to plug up your phone and play your playlist through your car radio, not all do. Luckily, you can purchase a car adapter that allows you to do this. The adapter connects to an unused FM signal and allows you to play music from your phone on that station.
33) Cereal Container Trash Can Hack
For an easy-to-make trash can, take a plastic cereal container and place a small trash bag inside. Replace the plastic lid and then when you need to throw away some trash, pop it open and then close it back to keep the trash locked inside. Place the makeshift trash can in an easy-to-reach but out-of-the-way location.
34) Ziploc iPad Holder
If you are strapped for space but still want to be able to entertain your kids, consider this useful hack. Simply place an iPad in a large Ziploc bag, and then secure the bag between the headrests of the two front seats using bungee cords and duct tape. Instant entertainment.
35) Shoe Organizer Item Storage Hack
Hang a shoe organizer on the back of the seat to create an easy storage solution. You can use this organizational hack to keep track of baby care items, toys, or anything else that you want to keep organized.
36) Hotel Phone Charge Hack
If you find yourself in a hotel room with the family and do not have as many outlets as you do phones, you can use the USB ports found on many flat screen TVs to charge your devices. To find the outlets, look on the backside of the TV. They are usually in the same area that the other input ports are found, such HDMI.
37) Invest in an Air Mattress
If you think you might have to stop for some rest while on the trip, pack an inflatable air mattress and pump. When looking for a mattress, try to find one that fits in the back seat of your car. You can even use a larger mattress, though you might need to scoot the front seat forward.
38) Car Sickness Kit
Families who have kids that get car sick can take a car sick kit along with them to easily clean up any messes. In a large Ziploc bag place some wipes, hand sanitizer, and some motion sickness medicine. In addition, place a light snack, re-hydrating drink, and some water, among other useful items.
39) Cupcake Liner Cup Holder Hack
To keep your cup holders clean and free of messes, place cupcake liners in them before placing any drinks or other items in them. Then, simply pull them out after your road trip and throw them away. You can even keep a pack of cupcake liners in the glove box or center console in case you need them on the fly.