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How to Survive a Looooong Car Trip for Teens

So you are going on vacation (or on a road trip) and going to be in the car for quite a while, if you are anything like me this sounds absolutely TERRIBLE. So here are a few tips on ways to survive this "lovely" time with your family.

  • A few weeks before the trip, make a packing list 
    • You will need to take this with you on the trip so you will be able to repack. Wash and avoid wearing all of the clothes you're going to take with you.

  • Start packing the week before the trip
    • Fold or better yet, roll the clothes. I'm bad for not folding, and I always end up with wrinkles and I can never find anything unless I dump out my whole suitcase, which is a MAJOR pain.  Rolling the clothes instead of folding makes for tighter packing and no creases at the fold lines.
    • Pack a plastic garbage bag for dirty laundry.

  • Bring books 
    • Bring ones that you love, or ones that you need to read for school (so either way you will end up reading it and keeping yourself occupied)
    • Magazines bought at gas stations help, too, because you haven't read them yet.
    • Also on a side-note I like the idea of bringing a Nook or Kindle if you have one. You have as many books and magazines as you could want at your fingertips, but you also have apps and games to keep you occupied.

  • MAKE SURE that you charge everything before you leave
    • It TOTALLY stinks to have your iPod die and it's still 5 hours in the car to wherever you're going. I suggest charging them the night before and packing them before bed so you won't forget anything. Recheck your bag in the morning because whats even worse than your iPod being dead -- your iPod being on your bedside table at home.
    • Something that also works well, car chargers. They make car chargers for about anything that just plug into the cigaret lighter in you car (finally a purpose for that never used thing in my car!). 
    • If you can't find a car charger for that particular gadget that you just have to bring with you, they make battery packs with plugs that match about anything. They are small enough to fit in your pocket or purse, so they can be used anywhere (with the added benefit of not needing an outlet or a cigaret lighter). Score! You can usually get them in store or at

  • Wear comfortable clothes and go barefoot
    • The barefoot thing is kind of a personal choice, but for me I hate shoes and would rather not wear them to sleep in the car. Have some flip flops in the floorboard for rest stops (so people won't think you are a hippy ;)

  • Bring a few blankets and a pillow or two, and then use those and the luggage to make a sort of nest in the back seat.
    • This is one of my favorite tips, I fill the floorboard with luggage until it is level with my seat and then cover it with a blanket. This becomes like an extension to your seat and works great if you don't like sitting (or sleeping!) with your feet flat on the floor.
    • I prop a few pillows against the door and lean back on them. Then I can stretch my legs out the converted luggage at my feet and cover up with another blanket.
    • It also works well to pop in some earbuds or earplugs if your car tends to be louder (like mine!)

  • Stay up late packing and then get up early to leave, so you can sleep in the car.
    • This seems kind of odd but in my family we leave at around 3 a.m. for an eight hour drive, so the longer you can sleep the less torturous the ride becomes.
    • If you have everything packed beforehand and can't stay up packing, there are other things you could do too! Like:
      • Paint your Nails
        • Think beachy
      • Clean up your room :P
        • I know, I know, this isn't one of my favorite things to do either, but wouldn't it be nice to come home to a clean room?
      • If you have a pet, spend some time with it. 
        • You know, you probably won't be seeing it for a while and it will enjoy a last goodbye
      • Make Last minute adjustments to your suitcases
        • Look over your packing list, put last minute things in your bag, just be sure not to over pack!

  • Schedule stops about every 60-90 minutes to avoid total insanity and/or bladder rupture.
    • So.... this ones not always possible to do but I would at least stop every three hours. Because if your like me by that point your legs will hurt, you will need to pee, and your family (*cough cough* little siblings) will be driving you INSANE!

  • Pack a lunch box or small cooler
    • Pack with snacks, juice boxes, Capri Suns, soft drinks, bottled water, etc. and stick it in the floorboard where it can easily be reached. Cheap and easy way to stay full and hydrated.

  • When you get there, unpack as needed and enjoy wherever you are.
    • "If you're well-mannered, respectful, and generally pleasant to be around, your parent(s) will much appreciate it, and the trip will be an overall more enjoyable experience" This would be a quote from another website that I'm guessing was not written by a teenager. So from experience it does work but.... is not exactly easy to do. *FYI* as an added bonus being more pleasant aids in leniency in the context of lending money or activity preference. "Well, you HAVE been pretty good today... Okay you can go/have (insert amazing item you couldn't live without)." ;)

  • Do the same for the drive home.
    • Okay, it's time to go home. Have everything charged up for the drive (this was very important on the way here so it will be just as important on the way back)? Remember that packing list you created in the beginning? Use it to repack so you don't accidentally leave anything and check off as you go.

Quick Tips

  • Pack chargers to any and all electronics! (This is a huge one!)
  • Pack snacks and drinks to cut down on stops, therefore cutting down on driving time (which means less time in the car, and more time at your vaca spot!). Don't pack anything messy, though.
  • Bring CDs and DVDs. LOTS!
  • Make a packing list.
  • Roll clothes, makes more room.
  • Make stops along the way. Not just food and rest stops, too. Roadside attractions are a good way to break the monotony.
  • Act pleasant to be around and polite, it cuts down on awkward silences and angry parents.
  • Be organized. You don't want to have a clutter of clothes in your suitcase

Things You'll Need

  • CD player/MP3 player/iPod
  • batteries (lots of extras please!)
  • portable DVD player (if you have one)
  • video game player (Nintendo DS, PSP, etc.)
  • laptop (if you have one)
  • snacks and drinks
  • books and/or magazines
  • chargers for all of your electronics
  • flip flops for rest stops (if you want to travel barefoot)
Thanks for reading and I hope these tips help improve your vacation experience!


  1. Hey Beach Babe!!

    Awww, I saw your comment on on Mod Style Lounge and I HAD to check out your blog! It's soooo cool! I'm loving it so much! can't wait for more post! Being a Florida girl only 1 hour from the beach.. these will come in very handy :)

    1. Oh my gosh I sooo wish I was you! I am a surfer girl permanently trapped in the mountains, its winter right now....eww :P But anyway thanks for commenting! :)


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