Family Road Trip Packing Essentials

Road trips can be great fun for the whole family, but only if done right, meaning that you have to be well prepared. Your trip will definitely be less enjoyable if you leave home without some of the essential things for you and, even worse, your kids. So, here are some things you should pack and prepare for your road trip in order to make the best of it.

Your car

OK, your car isn’t really something you pack inside a suitcase or a box, but it’s definitely the first thing you have to prepare before even thinking of going anywhere. Your family’s safety always comes first, so you have to make sure your car is in perfect condition and comfortable enough to drive you to wherever you’re going and back. Take it to a garage to have it checked by a mechanic, clean it properly before your trip, make sure you have the best tow bar installed for your camper if you are traveling with it, and don’t forget to get good car insurance. In case you own an older or a smaller car or if something is malfunctioning in it, renting a car could be the best option for you. In most cases, rental cars are newer, well maintained and very comfortable, meaning that your trip could go much more smoothly than if you took the trip with your own car. 

Proper clothes

Before packing your clothes, check the weather forecast for the area you’re visiting and pack accordingly. However, be ready for unexpected weather changes, since those are known to happen and can ruin your trip if you’re unprepared. No matter how hot they say it will be, bring some warm socks, a sweater or a jacket for each of you and don’t forget umbrellas or raincoats in case of rain. If you know you’ll do some walking, bring two pairs of shoes each. One should be comfortable women’s sneakers and the other a quality pair of waterproof shoes for longer periods of hiking. Finally, have a change of clothes for your kids at hand, in case something gets spilled while on the road.

Technology and useful gadgets

Photo by Cynthia del Río on Unsplash

If you know you’ll spend a significant amount of time in your car, you should make sure your kids have something to do.

Some old-fashioned travel games will probably be enough for a while, but you should also have the option of a fully charged tablet computer for them to watch their favorite cartoon or two. Bring some board games that you will enjoy and maximize the travel hedonism! A good DnD game can spark your imagination and, let’s all admit it – it’s more than fun. If you are a DnD lover, D20 Collective is the site to keep an eye on! 

As for the adults, the driver will probably need a good GPS system and maps for navigation, which you can all download on your phone. You should also bring a car charger or several of them, along with a power bank and a few other smart gadgets, such as a foldable hairdryer, or things like kids’ travel pillows and earplugs for when the driver wants to rest for a while and the children refuse to be quiet. 

Snacks and drinks

Depending on how long your trip will last, you should start with finding an appropriate cooler for storing your food and drinks adequately. A smaller, soft one will do for one or two days, while for longer trips you should invest in a hard-shell one. Packing enough provisions is essential to avoid your kids becoming hungry and nervous. Slice or chop some fruit and vegetables into bite-sized pieces and pack them in plastic containers or bags. Similarly, prepare enough nuts, pretzels, crackers and granola bars to last at least a few days, so that you don’t have to turn to unhealthy food from gas stations and diners along the road. You can even pack some sandwiches for the first day, but don’t forget that they’re highly perishable. Finally, as far as drinks are concerned, nothing beats water, so bring a reusable bottle for each of you and a gallon of water to refill them. 

Emergency items

If you’ve traveled with your family before, you know that you never go on a trip without bringing some of the basic medicines and toiletries. Start with some ibuprofen, cortisone in case of bug bites, some bandages and plenty of hand sanitizer, and in case any member of your family suffers from motion sickness, get something for that, too. Furthermore, a first-aid kit you have in your car should be brand new, so that you have everything you need in case something happens, while you can also expect that each of you will require some paper products such as napkins, toilet paper, tissues, and even wet wipes at some point during your trip, so load up on those as well. To top it off, bring a thermometer, just to stay on the safe side. 


So, once you pack wisely and get your family in that car, you can fully relax and the fun can start. 


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