Going on a family road trip is a fun experience that gives you memories to last a lifetime. However, if you're tired of hearing questions like "are we there yet?" then you should pack some key items to make the long stretches of road more enjoyable. The essentials that benefit you will differ from that of others. For example, a family with small children will need a pack more items to keep the younger members happy and entertained.
You should also be prepared for more frequent stops with small children to attend to needs and get fresh air. Families of older children will need a pack fewer items but typically need more support for electronics and cell phones for in-car entertainment. Overall, here are the top 4 essentials to bring on a road trip that typically suits most families.
Road trip entertainment has changed a lot over the years, evolving from print books and take-along toys to handheld video games devices and cell phones. To keep everyone entertained in the car, be sure to have all the compatible electronic chargers. Don't be caught without a micro USB 200 miles into the trip when it's the only type of charger that is compatible with your child's electronic gaming system. At the same time, you should also be prepared for keeping these devices charged while on the road.
Most modern vehicles have slots for USB charging ports, but if you have a lot of people in the car, you should be prepared and get some external chargers. These portable battery packs can be a lifesaver when everyone in the car doesn't have access to the car’s main charging port. Be sure to charge these battery packs whenever you have a chance — at restaurant stops or hotels — so that everyone in the family has fully-powered devices at all times.
When you ride in the car for a long time, wearing uncomfortable clothing or materials can make you feel more fatigued. Itchy, ill-fitting clothing can also be distracting to the driver and can pester the passenger who is trying to catch some Zs. The key to avoiding this uncomfortable scenario is to wear comfy clothes while you're in the car. This includes elastic waist pants, yoga pants, T-shirts, hoodies, and sweatshirts. Often this clothing is looser fitting and made of natural materials like cotton so that they breathe. If you plan on making stops where you need to look a little dressy, then a comfy cotton dress can provide both style and cozy fabrics for long rides.
Long road trips can make you feel sleepy even if you had a full night's rest. There's just something about the soothing motions of a vehicle that lull you to sleep. Packing travel pillows and throw blankets can get everyone comfortable enough to catch some sleep while there's nothing else to do in the car.
Even in the summer, blankets can be a useful thing to bring because the air conditioner can be chilly. There's also something so soothing about having a blanket even if it's just a light one like some bed sheets. For even more comfort, grab a set of eye covers and earplugs so that you can block out the sun and noise. When you create the right environment for sleep in the car, you can experience first-class flight luxury, even on the road.
Finally, if you know anything about road trips, somehow getting in a car for long periods of time makes everyone hungrier. Perhaps it’s the anticipation and excitement about going to a new place, but snacks just become part of the road trip tradition. After all, eating delicious treats on the way does make the trip more enjoyable — and it's a good way to pass the time.
To keep your snacks in good condition, pack some ice packs into coolers or a few insulated lunch boxes. If you have a large van, you can have a main cooler full of ice in the front for all the big meals. Then, pack small snack bags for the people in the back who cannot reach the cooler. Fill small insulated lunch boxes with juice boxes, cheese sticks, and sandwiches that you can keep fresh with a small ice pack. This will help everyone be more independent and not have to move around the vehicle for snacks.
By packing these four essentials, your next road trip can be comfortable, efficient, entertaining, and ultra-convenient.