Whether you’re planning a road trip to grandma’s house or going sightseeing, trips can be a wonderful way to spend a family holiday. To ensure the time in the car goes smoothly, it’s important to plan and prepare in advance. Here is a road trip checklist of essentials to get you started for a vacation to remember:
Snacks are excellent for keeping everyone happy and raring to go during long road trips. Packing nutritious munchies ahead of time can save time and money while preventing “hangry” moments. Finger foods such as small sandwiches, apples with peanut butter, cut veggies and berries can be put in individual bags, ensuring everyone gets the same amount. This enables the entire family to pick and choose the snack they want when they want it.
- Insulated Bottles
Staying hydrated is as important as having snacks during road trips. Insulated bottles and mugs that have spill-proof, leak-proof lids keep mishaps to a minimum. Water and juice can stay cold while coffee, tea, or hot chocolate stays hot. Cleaning them at night and refilling them each morning can ensure everyone gets their drink of choice and cuts down on the waste of disposable cups and plastic bottles.
- Road Trip Activities
Keeping children occupied during a road trip can be challenging. Coloring books and crayons, window markers, and notebooks can offer everyone a chance to doodle and to record some of the interesting things they see on the journey. The license plate game is engaging, interactive, and can help keep young passengers alert. Travel-sized lap desks and tray tables can offer a flat space to place the games and books without using much valuable storage space or leg room.
- On-The-Go Entertainment
Handheld electronics such as smartphones and tablets can be an easy way to keep the kids occupied and quietly entertained for hours during your trip Don’t forget to bring headphones, batteries, chargers, etc. to ensure the trip home is equally enjoyable.
For road trips that last more than a few hours, bring each child’s favorite pillow or blanket. This encourages napping in the car and can help them sleep better in unfamiliar places.
- Trip Map and Scheduled Stops
After a few hours, especially at the beginning of a long ride, someone inevitably asks, “How much longer? Or Are we there yet?” Giving everyone a map of the route you are driving with some landmarks noted along the way can help pass the time and enable them to see your travel progress.
If the trip will take a day or more of driving, check the map for landmarks, points of interest or even parks. Schedule a stop or two a day to give everyone a chance to move around, get some fresh air and perk up.
- Upbeat Playlists
Everyone has their favorite songs, and sometimes it’s nice to hear music that’s not coming out of headphones. Enlist everyone’s input to create a playlist of their favorite songs to stream through the car’s sound system. Play it loud and sing along. This invigorates and can help put the entire family in a good mood.
- Extra Clothes in a Separate Bag
Messes happen, and sometimes a change of outfit is essential. Instead of dragging the luggage out of the car and rummaging around, put clothes for each family member in a bag and store it in an easily accessible location. That way, the change is quick, with minimal fuss during the road trip
- First Aid Kit
Scraped knees, paper cuts, and any number of small incidents can occur when on the road. A first aid kit with bandages, antiseptic, and other assorted items is one of the most important road trip hacks, soothing the injury and getting you on the way fast. There are many kits made for car storage, so the space requirement is small.
Everyone can get out of sorts on occasion, and road trips can be an exercise in patience. You’re making memories that your children will remember forever. Construction delays, backseat bickering, and short tempers will be momentary. Have everyone take a deep breath or two, and then move past it.
One of the most important road trip essentials is to have the car serviced a few weeks before vacation begins. Checking the tires, changing the oil, and filling fluid levels can ensure the car runs smoothly for miles.