Traveling with kids isn’t easy. You never know what they need and what problems may arise. For a fun road trip, take these road trip essentials with you!
Do you dream of exploring the open road with your family, leaving your household duties and your job and commitments in the rearview mirror?
Nearly 35% of Americans are planning to go on a holiday road trip this year, traveling at least 50 miles or more away from home. If you’re anything like one-third of the country, you’re expecting to clock some windshield-time in the next year.
Road trips are a great family adventure: there’s room for unexpected excursions, random stops at places with interesting names, and plenty of time to get quality moments in with everyone.
Whether you’re traveling to a neighboring city, statewide, or across the country, there’s a few road trip essentials that every family can consider to make the drive as smooth as fresh pavement.
Have your kids start packing some books and crayons while you read on and figure out the rest!
Road Trip Essentials for Everyone
We could all benefit from a checklist to keep things in order. Especially when there’s kids, a spouse, yourself, and maybe even your grandparent involved.
Every family could use a little help in packing for a trip. Worrying about yourself is stressful enough without making sure everyone else has a form of entertainment, snacks, and extra shorts!
Booming at 69%, one of the most popular holiday vacations are road trips. Those families are on to something! Luckily for the busy household organizer, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten road trip essentials you should include in your vehicle before setting off.
1. A Solid GPS
Trial and error with technology (like maybe taking the wrong turn three times in a row because your phone won’t calibrate) will tell you this: it doesn’t always work the way you want it to.
This goes for GPS as well. Not every phone app is as good as the next, so dabble with different styles before committing to one. Once you get one that keeps up with your movements, predicts accidents and traffic, and gives you the shortest and smartest distances possible, you’ve found the one.
2. A Cooler Full of Goodies
This is a definite road trip necessity. You won’t want to be stopping more than you need to, so make sure that the in-between time is filled with nutritional, yummy foods and drinks.
Plenty of water (but not too much – the less pee breaks, the easier!), coffee to keep those eyes open, and snacks like pistachios and sandwiches will make the drive much better.
3. Toiletries in Easy Access
If all you need is a quick brush of the teeth to make you feel good after eight hours of driving, you won’t want to be hunting through tons of baggage for your toothpaste.
For restroom stops, keep everything related in close range to be used if needed. Baby wipes, diapers, antibacterial soap, body wash, hand towels, even a tube of mascara to perk mom’s sleepy eyes up for dinner, can be fit into one toiletry bag that accommodates everyone.
4. Good Audio
Make sure your drive time is accompanied with some good audio pleasure. To avoid having to look while driving, compile music, audiobooks, podcasts, and anything else ahead of time.
The whole family can listen to Because of Winn Dixie on Audible. Or the religious family can download some Christ Like Media on their podcast app. Make sure Dad remembers his Led Zeppelin CDs.
5. A Pillow, Blanket, or Both
Let’s be honest: while Dad drives, Mom and the kids can nap. And vise-versa. Not only is napping an awesome way to pass some minutes (hours if you’re lucky!), it’ll rejuvenate your passengers before you stop at Dinosaur World or the local Mexican restaurant for tacos and guacamole.
To ensure everyone sleeps tight while on the road and wherever you stay, bring along some pillows and blankets from home.
6. Books, Magazines, and the Like
Bring reading material, whatever your go-to method may be. Magazines can be acquired at gas stations if you forget them, but your favorite book with its dog-eared page shouldn’t be left at home! These are road trip essentials, especially when the cell phone battery dies!
7. An Extra Set of Clothes
Because you never know what could happen.
“They’re called curb checks for a reason!”, says Dad as he accidentally bumps the sidewalk’s edge and sends Diet Coke spilling onto your kid’s white shirt. Avoid making them sit in the sticky mess until the next rest area; bring back-ups for the whole family.
8. An Emergency Kit
This kit concerns the car. While getting your whole family ready, don’t forget the most important part of this excursion: your vehicle.
Make sure your oil has been changed, tires filled with air, and everything cleaned and organized before you take off. After that, prepare for the worst, and have the supplies you need ready for action.
9. A First-Aid Kit
Think of this as the emergency kit for your family. Once again, expect the unexpected. Kids are unpredictable, so make sure that a first-aid kit filled with the appropriate items (and then some) is close-by.
10. An Imagination
Nothing like a game of “I Spy” or “20 Questions” to get everyone laughing and thinking!
Let the miles inspire your family: play fun games, make up new ones, and tell stories. Keep a list of every unique license plate you see. Commentate on quirky road signs. Wonder where everyone else is headed, and make up tales for them.
Remember to Be Minimal in Your Packing
Think about your day-to-day schedule and activities.
Whatever you and your family uses all the time, you should bring with you (i.e. soap, toothbrush, deodorant, socks, your favorite soft t-shirt.) The velvet heels or fancy button-down may sound great while packing, but try and make yourself stick to the necessities. Same goes for the kids.
No one wants to road trip in an overcrowded car! Less is definitely more in this case, especially for the person in back squeezed next to everyone’s bags. Plus, then there’s more room to bring home some special souvenirs.
It’s Time to Go
You’ve made it to the end! Or should we say beginning?
We hope these ideas got you excited for all the adventure that is sure to come out of an epic family road trip. This list is not all-inclusive, so pick and choose what is best for your family, adding and subtracting as you see fit.
Now that you’re an expert on road trip essentials, everything else should pan out great (you’ve got a spare tire, right!?). All that’s left to do is assign one person as DJ and one as map-reader, and you’re good to go.
Let us know when you’ve made it home safely and if you have any questions!