Road trips require plenty of planning and preparation, especially if you’re traveling with children. Accommodations need to be arranged if you’re stopping somewhere. And you must make sure that there are convenient restaurants, gas stations, and stops on your route.
You also need to do a round of maintenance to prep your vehicle for the long trip ahead, as well as protect the interior with durable floor mats and waterproof covers to shield from all the mess that the kids are bound to make.
Once that’s done, you need to move on to the next step, which is packing for the trip ahead.
A smartphone is the most convenient gadget you can take on your family road trip. You can use it to find stops throughout your road trip and the most efficient ways to get to your destination. With a smartphone, you can also play music, videos, and games to entertain yourself through the long drive. And in case of an emergency, you can use the gadget to call for help.
Children, with their boundless energy and curiosity, are bound to get bored during long car trips, so a tablet (or two) may be necessary after the kids get tired of watching the same scenery and are done asking you a million questions. You can save lots of movies, games, and books on the tablet for the kids to watch, play, or read when they get bored. Having a multipurpose distraction can be your (sanity’s) saving grace when the kids get antsy and start to fuss.
GPS Navigation Device
You can always use your phone to navigate your road trip, but there are better ways to use it, such as playing music and researching about your destination. And you don’t want to drain your phone’s battery to quickly in case you need make an emergency call or text. That said, you may want to bring a device that’s dedicated for one purpose only—to navigate the road.
With a GPS navigation device, you can always keep track of your location and see all the stops that are along your way. You can also check your distance from your destination and estimate how much time it will take to get there.
There are bound to be plenty of picture-perfect moments on your road trip, so bring your camera, tripod, and wireless camera remote control to capture and preserve these memories. If one of your stops include a beach, you may want to bring waterproof gear too to take photos of all your underwater adventures.
Although you can use a smartphone to take pictures, a camera can capture higher-quality photos and videos. Plus, you can easily capture candid moments with just one click of your camera.
Smart devices are great tools for traveling. Unfortunately, they all have one big drawback—their short battery life. Most smartphones and tablets can last at least eight hours or more without charging if you use them normally. However, listening to music, watching movies, playing games, and surfing the internet can quickly drain the battery of your smart device.
That’s why you should pack power banks and car chargers before leaving on a road trip. This way, you can charge your smart devices anytime and anywhere. For power banks, make sure they’re fully charged before you leave the house and every time you leave the hotel where you’re staying.
Child Safety Seat
A seat belt won’t keep a small child or toddler safe in the car, so bring a child safety seat if you’re taking children with you. You can also bring booster seats for slightly older kids so that they can be more comfortable during the long car drive. If you’re taking your family pet on the road trip, you can keep them secure and tethered on their seat with a pet car harness.
Blankets and Pillows
Comfort is one of your priorities when packing for a road trip. There’s bound to be hours and hours of driving, so the family, especially the little ones, may get tired and sleepy along the road.
Bring some blankets and pillows so the drowsy ones can take naps in the car without waking up with a crick on their neck. The temperature can dip early in the morning and late at night, but the blankets can keep your family warm.
You can only watch so many movies and sing songs before you, your partner, and the kids get bored during a long trip. Think of that when you’re packing for your road trip, and bring a variety of materials to entertain yourselves in the car. Prepare card games, coloring books, story books, and your favorite craft supplies to alleviate boredom during the long trip.
Food and Drinks
Road trips can consume a lot of energy even if you’re simply sitting in the car. Aside from taking naps, you need to eat and drink to recharge and trudge on. Pack some sandwiches and light snacks that are easy to consume inside the car. Bring a lot of drinking water to avoid dehydration. Include some nonperishable goods and camping food in the pack to be safe.
First Aid Kit
Always take a first aid kit with you when you leave on a trip, especially one where you will constantly be on the road. Pack Band-Aids, clean gauze, disinfectant, and ice spray or a cold pack.
There are some great small kits for in the car that can help ensure you bring medication for pain, fever, allergies, motion sickness or other issues in case someone in the family gets sick during the trip. Also include sunblock, sunburn treatment, and insect repellent. And take some time to brush up on your first aid skills and teach everyone how to take care of minor injuries.
Different from a first aid kit, an emergency kit contains everything you may need to deal with unexpected things that may happen on your road trip. Your kit should include sickness bags, wet wipes, towels, extra diapers, and period pads.
Since there’s bound to be a lot of mess, you should also bring a quick stain remover, a portable vacuum cleaner, and some car cleaning supplies. You may also want to bring emergency car tools too in case you encounter a problem with your vehicle.
Hurray for road trips! They’re not only fun and exciting; they can also be incredible learning and bonding experiences for the family. Going on one lets the family, especially the kids, see things and places they’ve never seen before, meet new people, and hopefully, gain a better understanding of the world.
A road trip can be one of the best things you can do as a family, but it can also be one of the worst if you don’t prepare well for it. Do your research thoroughly, and plan for everything. Most of all, ensure a safe and fun road trip by packing all the essentials mentioned above.