Road trips are a rite of passage for families. From films like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation to Are We There Yet?, memories are made and bonds forged when you are cramped in a car for hours on end. Whether a trip is four hours or eighteen, even the closest of families can be tested during a road trip.
To make the most of your bonding opportunity, you’ll want these road trip essentials!
This first one really depends on what your kids are interested in. Do they like to read? Watch movies? Play games? No matter what the interest is, tailor entertainment needs to match.
Set up a portable DVD player, fully charge a tablet, or pick up a new book. If your kids can’t agree on things, bring options! It is always better to have two tablets with two movies playing rather than two fighting children. If your children have seen all the newest movies and get bored with them you could take the time to convert your old VHS movies to digital and put them on your tablets. Imagine your children watching the classic Disney movies, you would at least have hours of quiet children.
Of course, bring headphones for the kids. If not, you might find yourself listening to Frozen or Moana on repeat.
We rely a lot on technology these days, so make sure you power up. A power inverter is perfect for road trips. It conveniently plugs into a standard car outlet and takes the power supply directly to regular plug in devices.
This is great as not all devices are USB ports or other charging connections. It creates more access points to recharge and keep everyone occupied on the journey.
Creativity is Key
The more creative you are, the more fun the road trip!! Find ways to keep your kids engaged so they don’t constantly ask, “are we there yet?”
One fun way is to create a map with the route outlined on it. Challenge your kids to pinpoint your location and follow along on the route. They’ll know where you are and learn a little bit about cartography!
You can also come up with fun road trip games, like “I Spy” or finding license plates from different states. Make it memorable!
Being in a car for hours on end can get tiring. Pack up for naptime so everyone is a little more comfortable! Blankets and pillows from home can make the trip easier on everyone. Plus, temperatures will fluctuate and not everyone will always agree on the temperature settings. Blankets can help in finding a happy medium.
This almost goes without saying. A hungry child is far from a happy child. Anticipate food needs with snacks to cut down on the number of stop you have to make. For your peace of mind, opt for car-friendly snacks that are less likely to make a mess.
Trips often require planning – from the route to pit stops to overnight stays. If you have a really long trip ahead of you, have documentation for everything. Find help from a reliable source if you’re looking to insure more than one car on a policy as well.
If you hit a dead spot for cell phone service, you don’t want to lose your GPS connection. Instead, have a hard copy of the route and map, just so you can orient yourself. Make sure you have any hotel reservations or other important travel documents.
Of course, you’ll also want to prepare for the unexpected, like mechanical issues or a car accident. Have any and all relevant information about your vehicle with you, like title and insurance. This way, if you do run into any problems, you’ll be ready. Insurance is kind of a given as you want to be prepared to report any result from the car accidents.
Don’t forget to bring a First Aid kit. Accidents happen and this way you won’t be scrambling to find a band aid for a scraped knee. Having medication on hand for headaches or motion sickness is also a solid move for road trips.
Finally, remember that it’s not just about the kiddos. Remembering things to take care of yourself and your spouse is an important part of surviving a road trip! Comfy neck pillows, healthy snacks and even a pair of headphones can help make the trip a little more enjoyable for everyone. For the husbands out there, we’d be remiss if we didn’t advise packing a pair of your favorite underwear for the long-ride sitting on your bottom.
So, are you feeling ready to hit the open road with your family?