Road trips are as much a summer family tradition as barbecues, fireworks and festivals. Packing up the car, heading out for adventures unknown and cruising along the open road make for the best memories made together, especially if you can keep everyone along for the ride happy by planning a route to explore attractions or discover hidden treasures along the way. Stock up on snacks and fun things to keep the kiddos busy, and everyone wins.  

Shop Goodwill NCW to save money on buying everything you need to make your road trip a success while providing job training and other opportunities for individuals who have disabilities and other barriers. Mom blogger Misty offers her tips on shopping thrift for summer road trips. Here are our tips on how to shop thrift for a road trip that you can find at yourlocal Goodwill. Once you are back from your trip, donate the items you don’t want to hold onto and keep the sustainable cycle going.


Cooler: Pick up a cooler (large or small) to store your drinks and food. While eating out on a road trip seems like a great idea, it can be expensive and takes time.  

Water bottle/thermos: Pick up a water bottle and stay hydrated. Just be sure not to have too much or you’ll be making frequent pit stops. Grab a thermos for coffee refills at the gas station.  

Travel blanket: Stay comfortable on a long drive and warm up if the A/C is too cold with a cozy blanket. They also are perfect for an unplanned picnic.  

Flashlight/batteries: If you have a night emergency you will be happy you brought along a light. Headlamps and flashlights also will come in handy if you go camping. Be sure to pack some extra batteries

shopping for a thrifted cooler

road trip pillows

Pillow: Bring along a travel pillow for those times when it’s not your turn to drive and want to get some sleep or when the kids need to settle in for a nap.  

Bag/tote: Totes, bags and backpacks not only can carry items back and forth from the car, hotel or picnic area, you also can use them for much-needed storage in your car.  

Clothing: Pack for any situation and be sure to have clothing that can be layered, including zip-up sweatshirts and sweaters. Unpredictable weather can limit or put a stop to your plans so be prepared by having a raincoat and umbrella packed away. 

Footwear: For a long road trip, grab a pair of slippers, take off your shoes and get comfortable.  

Sunglasses: For the early-morning or late-day glare while driving, grab a pair of sunglasses.


Books: Pass the time in the car or downtime once you reach your destination with a variety of books.  

Movies: Stop by the DVD section and grab a few movies for the trip. If you don’t have an in-car DVD player, swing through the electronics section and grab a portable one.  

Games: Road trips demand games, whether they are travel games, cards or board games.   

Headphones: Being in a small space with more than one person for a long period of time can be stressful. Headphones provide a bit of space for yourself.  

Football/Frisbee: An easy item to pack, footballs and frisbees don’t take up much space but can be a fun and active way to pass time while at a rest stop or at your destination.  

shopping thrift for entertainment

As you embark on your summer road trip, embrace spontaneity, cherish the shared moments, and let the road become a pathway to endless possibilities. By shopping thrift at Goodwill NCW, not only do you save money on treasures for traveling, but you also contribute to our mission of providing pathways that lead to sustained employment and financial stability for neighbors in our community. Happy travels, knowing that your journey is making a positive impact on the lives of others!