Road trip essentials

Road Trip Tips and Essentials

Going on a road trip can be fun and exciting, but packing the right items for the trip is important, too. Keep your summer road trip stress-free and fun by packing the right items for the car and your travels.

Road Trips Snacks and Drinks

Longer trips can be tiring, and you never know when you may find a rest stop, convenience store, or restaurant. That’s why it’s important to pack healthy snacks and drinks to stay hydrated and nourished during your trip. Healthy drinks and snacks can also keep kids happy and prevent everyone from getting cranky due to hunger or thirst.

Ideas of drinks to pack for a road trip include bottled water, flavored water, sugar-free beverages, juice, decaffeinated herbal iced tea, and low-sugar sports drinks. While it is tempting to pack sodas and sugary drinks, there are usually better beverage options available that will keep everyone happy. When it comes to snacks, good items for a road trip include: dried fruit or nuts, snack mix, cheese and crackers, fresh fruit, cut-up fresh vegetables, dry cereal, granola bars, pretzels, and simple sandwiches like almond butter on whole-grain bread with low-sugar jam.

Essential Tech (and Non-Tech) Items

Today, tech is more important than ever. Having a working GPS and cell phone is essential for a road trip. Make sure your GPS is in good working order before the trip. Ensure you pack your mobile chargers for your smartphones, tablets, and e-readers in a tech bag, so you know where everything is. Even with all your great tech items, having some non-tech essentials is also important. Have a standard paper map on hand for your destination in case you encounter poor reception and are unable to get a GPS or phone signal. You’ll also want to make sure there are things for kids and other passengers to do if there is no reception, if the device batteries get low or you just to take a break from screen time.

Keeping Kids Busy

Road trips can be tiring for kids and adults alike (but especially children). Having plenty of things for them to do during the trip will keep them entertained and reduce stress. Items to consider packing in personalized kids’ backpacks to stay busy besides tech devices include:

  • Notebook and pens for writing or doodling
  • Sketchpad, coloring books, and activity books, along with markers and colored pencils are crayons
  • Portable mini-games, magnetic board games
  • Printable road trip games
  • Books or magazines
  • Pamphlets or other information about the destination
  • Kids’ camera to take pictures of cool things along the route
  • Headphones and MP3 player or iPod to listen to music
  • Light clay or putty
  • Favorite stuffed animals, Dallas, cars, or figurines (depending on the age of the child)
  • Travel Lego set or magnetic blocks

Keep a Carry-on Bag Even on Road Trips

It can be hard to tell exactly what will happen during a road trip, and even if you have your suitcases neatly packed and your destination planned for a certain day and time—your plans may end up changing. Pack a small carry-on type bag such as a tote bag or small travel bag with a basic change of clothing (such as long shorts and comfortable tunic tops) and emergency essentials like a toothbrush and toothpaste. This will be handy just in case you need to stop and spend the night at an undecided location. Keep these bags near the top of the packed items so that they are easily accessible.

Small Essential Items to Keep on Hand

Some of the smaller items you will need to have on hand for a road trip include hand sanitizer, tissues, sunglasses, mini first aid kit, basic medication such as pain relievers or antacids, any prescription medication, sunscreen, lip balm, chewing gum, mints or hard candies, travel pillows and blankets, and footwear that is easy to slip on and off.

Be Prepared to Make Road Trips Stress-Free

A few other tips can also help you be prepared for long road trips:

  • Plan to travel at times when the traffic will be less busy. Early mornings and nights may be your best travel times.
  • Allow for plenty of time to reach your desired destination. While it can be tempting to rush and push yourself to get the travel time over, the entire trip will likely be more enjoyable if you take your time and enjoy it. Plan to stop at unique places along the route to stretch your legs and see some unusual scenery.
  • Keep some cash on hand for emergencies. If a credit card machine is not working, or there is some other issue, you’ll be able to get fuel, food, or accommodations as needed.
  • Use travel-safe bags whenever you’re out of your vehicle. Bags that keep your important belongings secure will help you stay safe and give you peace of mind.
  • Don’t forget to pack items that will help in case of sudden weather changes such as umbrellas, ponchos, light jackets, and extra layers like long-sleeve shirts or pants. Consider packing beach towels, even if you are just planning on using the hotel pool. You can be sure that you and your family will have a towel for the pool area or beach that is a nice size.

Road Trips Made Easy

Being in the car for long periods of time isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. However, by planning ahead, packing the right items for comfort and entertainment, and making sure everything is organized, you can reduce stress and encourage everyone to have fun. Chances are, no one will remember the hours in the car, but they will remember all the fun and memories of the wonderful vacation.

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