It’s time to embark on a great American Road Trip! Take note of these 7 essentials to make it successful.
The arrival of summer is officially upon us and that means it’s time for a much-needed vacation! In a few short weeks we’ll be packing our bags, piling into the car, and hitting the road for our first adventure of the season. School doesn’t start until August which means there’s plenty of exploring to do over the next two months. Even though we aren’t venturing too far this time around, preparing for a road trip of any sort definitely requires a considerate amount of planning. This is especially true when there are kids in the backseat. Just like maintaining your sanity, keeping them content and entertained for the long haul can be a challenge. The constant chanting of “Are we there yet?” accompanied by moans and groans is more than enough to suck the fun out of the ride before you’ve even hit the first rest stop!
From gadgets to gizmos, snacks and supplies, I’ve put together a list of essentials that will help make road trippin’ with the entire gang much more pleasant. Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination… even if it includes a ridiculous amount of potty breaks, meltdowns, sing-a-longs, and a little bit of barf!
DON’T FORGET THE SNACKS
No, really. Please don’t forget the munchies or you will pay the price, especially if you are traveling with children! Packing snacks for a long car ride is a no brainer. There is nothing worse than a hungry human of any age, throwing a fit because they’re starving and the next stop is 50 miles ahead. Stock up ahead of time on sweet and savory snacks that can be opened easily and re-sealed. Some of our favorites are pretzels, animal crackers, trail mix, string cheese, and fresh fruit. If you have room for a small collapsible cooler, bring it along to hold a few drinks.
TIP: Use a small plastic tackle box or bead organizer with adjustable compartments to hold a variety of treats. Make one for each child traveling. This makes the snacks more interesting & keeps them occupied!
CLEAN UP SUPPLIES
Road trips can get messy and when you’re traveling in a car for many hours, being surrounded by trash is stressful to say the least. Be sure to bring disposable plastic bags and paper towels for cleaning up. Other items like wet wipes and tissues are good for runny noses, dirty faces (inevitable with kids), and sticky hands.
The new Kleenex Go Anywhere Packs can be attached to the back of seats for easy access. They’re equivalent to a modern-day tissue box and the nifty clip allows you to take them anywhere needed.
MAPS + ITINERARY
Having the proper travel materials on hand is vital in any successful road trip. You need to know where you are going, how to get there, and the best route to take in order to travel efficiently. While most of us rely on a built-in GPS, these systems aren’t always accurate so bringing a good old fashion map never hurts. It can help you calculate accurate driving times and distances. Prepare an itinerary beforehand to make note of interesting stops, restaurants, and gas stations.
Children are instantaneously restless the moment they buckle in. Keep their boredom at bay by packing travel friendly games like magnetic checkers, cards, activity books, coloring books & crayons, and printable road trip scavenger hunts or bingo. Portable electronics like a DVD player, tablet, iPod, or handheld gaming devices can also keep them occupied for hours before needing to be re-charged.
Whether you’re using a mobile device to take photos, listen to music, or navigate through the journey, portable chargers are a must. They’ll be helpful if any of your electronics are low on battery or you decide to stop and do little sight-seeing along the way. I always have at least one in my purse and my center console. You never know when you’ll need it and it’s not safe to travel with a dead phone. Make sure to also pack power cables, cords, and attachments to juice up everyone’s gadgets.
COMFORT OF HOME
Taking a siesta during your road trip will not only make the time go by faster but it’s also a way to regain any lost energy from waking up super early to beat traffic. Chances are that every passenger won’t be sleeping at the same time so bringing a small pillow and light blanket should be sufficient. For the kids, pack neck pillows. They’re perfect for little ones in car seats or booster chairs. No one likes to be the bobble head and waking up with a cramp is unpleasant. Comfy socks and earplugs are also helpful when trying to get a little R&R between rest stops.
FIRST AID KIT
Having a first aid kit stocked with the basics is a necessity and you should never leave home without one. You’ll want to include items to handle minor injuries, tackle common cold symptoms, and treat allergies. This could save you from having to search for a pharmacy or drugstore in an unknown area. Ready-to-go kits are sold at most stores but you can always customize one based on the needs of your passengers.
Are you taking any exciting road trips this summer?