9 Best Road Trip Organization Tips and Tools: How to Organize your Road Trip Plans 2023

Planning a road trip is exciting, but how do you keep it all together? These road trip organization tools will help.

Road trips have a lot of moving pieces—and I’m not just talking about your vehicle (ba dum bum).

When you’re planning a road trip, you need to keep track of all those potential destinations, accommodations, places to eat, things to do, etc., etc.

Then when you’re on the trip, you need to easily access that information. These road trip organization tools will help.

There are as many ways to plan a road trip as there are road trippers, but there are two fundamentals for road trip organization that apply to everyone:

Keep your information in as few places as possible.
I’ve learned this first-hand. As a travel writer, I accumulate a lot of information when I’m on the road.

It’s also vital that I’m where I’m supposed to be when I’m supposed to be there. To make that possible, I keep confirmations, itineraries, etc., in as few places as possible.

Always have printed back-ups
Have a printed copy of your itinerary, et al, in addition to your online system. Phones break, batteries die, cell service is not always reliable, and neither is internet. Go old school.

Now the question is: where do you keep all that information?

Want more road trip tips? Download Planning Your Perfect Road Trip, a Step-by-Step Guide to Hittin’ the Road

Image of Planning Your Perfect Road trip on an i-Pad with glasses, a pen, a notebook, a cup of coffee, and some pastries. The book has road trip organization tools and more.

Following are a few tools and suggestions for keeping it all together. This is by no means exhaustive; new tools are always popping up, and they appeal to different types of travelers.

For example, I’ve found Trello helpful for bookmarking and the ability to create lists, but others prefer to do all their travel planning in Pinterest.

A stretch of the National Road in Illinois
A stretch of the National Road in Illinois

I’m also a fan of Notion and becoming increasingly more so.

My best advice is that if a tool/site/app sounds like something you would feel comfortable using for your road trip organization, test it out.

This is meant as an introduction to these tools. Please visit the individual platforms to learn specific details for use.

Create a Master Travel Doc

Whether you use Microsoft OneNote, Google Docs, Apple Note, or something else, creating a Master Travel Doc will keep all your information in one place. Most of them will allow you to save or export it as a PDF so you can print it.

Your Master Travel Doc is where you’ll keep everything: your itinerary, your packing lists, and information about attractions (including hours and admission, if applicable), accommodations, and restaurants.

You can also use our handy-dandy printable road trip planner, with 35+ worksheets, checklists, and itineraries, designed specifically for road trip organization, available for only $10.

Stay on schedule with Google Calendar

Before you go, add your entire itinerary to Google Calendar. You can share it with anyone on the trip, as well as people you want to keep informed.

It’s easy to set up notifications for each scheduled item on your phone, and if you include the location, you can quickly access directions.

Add your itinerary to Google Calendar

Create a board (or boards) in Pinterest

In addition to providing lots of destination inspiration, Pinterest can also help organize the places you add to your wish list.

Let’s say you’re visiting San Diego. You can create a board called San Diego, and then create sections within that board for restaurants, attractions, activities, things to do, etc.

Create a board (or boards) in Pinterest

Basically, Pinterest is a digital vision board that provides a collection of all your potential destinations and activities.

If you’re concerned about people peeping into your plans, you can make your boards private. Traveling with others? Turn it into a group board and invite them.

Organize your entire road trip with Trello

Trello is an easy‐to‐use website and app. At its most basic, like Pinterest, it’s a bulletin board. You create lists and then add cards to each list.

Where it’s different is the information you can include in each card, and the ease with which you can save information. This makes road trip organization a breeze.

Create a board for your trip and add lists like Accommodations or Restaurants. If there are multiple people on the trip, each person could have their own list.

Organize your entire road trip with Trello

To save these interests while you’re searching online, install the bookmarklet in your Chrome browser.

Then when you visit the website of a place you might want to include on your road trip, you click on the bookmarklet and add it to the appropriate list. It will create a new card.

The best thing about Trello is how easy it is to customize. For example, you can create boards for each trip.

For long trips, create a list for each state. Then add places that look interesting as individual cards. For shorter trips, create lists for general research, accommodations, dining, attractions, etc.

As your road trip plans are finalized, add dates and confirmation numbers.

Moving cards from one list to another is a simple drag and drop. You can also share your boards so that everyone going on the trip can see them and include their own interests.

Keep it all together with Notion

Notion is a note-taking and productivity application that is an organizer’s dream. Some of the things you can do in this tool, which is free, by the way, include making notes, creating spreadsheets, bookmarking webpages, and managing files. You can also create databases without even knowing what that means.

There are templates so you don’t have to start from scratch, including—gasp!—travel planners!

It’s seriously powerful.

Did I mention it’s free?

You can invite up to ten guests if you want to collaborate on your trip. File uploads are capped at 5mb, so it’s not a place to store a lot of screenshots or images. If you want more, you can pay to upgrade your account.

The capabilities of this tool are mind-blogging, so I recommend checking out their guides and tutorials to learn more.

Let TripIt organize your road trip

This cool website and app make it easy to keep track of your travel plans. Forward your email confirmations for your rental car and accommodations (and flights, if you’re flying before driving) and TripIt will automatically plug them into an itinerary.

You can also manually add any plans you have, whether they’re for restaurants, museums, or other attractions you want to see. You can keep it bare bones or make it completely detailed.

They’ve got an app so you can view and make changes to your itinerary on your mobile device, too.

Go analog

In addition to all these fancy‐schmancy tools, I always recommend old‐school backups. My mom calls this the belt-and-suspenders approach.

If your phone battery dies, or you’re out of cell range, or you drop your phone and the glass shatters, you’ll still have everything you need to enjoy your road trip.

Print out your itinerary and confirmation numbers and keep them in an accordion folder. You can also use the folder to store any brochures or flyers you pick up along the way.

Keep it analog with an accordion folder + a notebook

It’s a good idea to keep a journal as well, and you can record expenses, mileage, and other details.

If you start or end each day with a recap of your experiences, you’ll have a book filled with memories that will keep your trip going, even after you return home.

Hopefully these road trip organization tools will keep you on track as you plan your adventures and while you’re on the road.

For more road trip advice:

Want more road trip tips? Download Planning Your Perfect Road Trip, a Step-by-Step Guide to Hittin’ the Road

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