I am used to going on short 2-4-hour road trips that don’t require a lot of planning since we typically have the same destination. However, this summer I am planning a much longer road trip to Colorado to visit some family. It is about a 16 hour drive not including stops along the way. We plan on taking our time and making it a 2-3-day trip there and a 2-day trip back home. In-planning what I need to consider packing I am running through a lot of scenarios. What if someone gets sick or what snacks should we bring on a longer road trip? What music and movies do we need to bring? Do we rent a car or put all of those miles on our vehicle? All types of scenarios are running through my mind as I begin to plan this new adventurous trip ahead.
Some of the things I know I need to ensure we have are the following:
You want to ensure there is music for everyone. You don’t want to only bring a playlist that you like but your other riders don’t. You will be stuck in a car for long hours at a time. You want to make sure everyone is as happy as possible.
2. Movies and DVD player
Ensure you have a portable DVD player with you so that the kiddos or other adults can enjoy a movie when they get tired or cranky. This usually indicates someone needs a much-needed nap. This is a good way to help relax your kiddos and allow them some downtime. Road trips can be exhausting even just sitting there in one place.
3. Snacks and Water
You want to be sure to bring snacks and other food like fruit or protein like hard boiled eggs or meat stix. Good options for a road trip are string cheese, go-gurts, chips, nuts, crackers like little fish (mess free for the most part), bananas, apples, and grapes. Be sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water!
4. First Aid Kit
Be sure to bring a first aid kit. As you are out and about at rest stops, exploring on a hike, or at the hotel overnight you never know when someone will fall and scrape their knee or get a splinter or a bug bite. You want to be prepared since you are not in your normal surroundings at home.
5. Baby Wipes
What would I do without my baby wipes. Since having my son, I don’t go anywhere without baby wipes. These are especially handy while on a road trip. You can wipe hands clean when they want a snack in the car. Clean up a little after a hike or when you get sticky hands from handling that sticky piece of candy.
6. Electronics Chargers
Be sure to bring all of the chargers for your electronic devices. There is nothing worse than forgetting your DVD player charger and the little ones want to watch a movie and the device dies in the middle of the movie. Can you say major melt down ahead?!? Do NOT forget the chargers. You also don’t want to have a dead cell phone. These are our lifelines and without them we cannot function. They store our road trip maps and itinerary, our list of contacts, it is our GPS system, it is our fun time with Facebook, Instagram, and Candy Crush.
7. Games and Toys
Be sure to pack some new games and toys for the road trip. These will be a surprise and something new for the kiddos to enjoy. This will help in a bind when you hit some heavy traffic or have to take an unforeseen detour extending the travel time in the car. As kids get cranky or bored with sitting in the car come up with some new car games together. If that doesn’t work pull out a new activity book or toy they can enjoy.
8. Garbage Bags
Pack some garbage bags and then add a couple more just in case. As you eat your snacks or use your baby wipes you will need somewhere to put the garbage. I always bring grocery bags with us since they are the right size. Then I ensure to put a few all around the vehicle so they are handy from any seat in the car.
9. Carsick Kit
Be sure to bring some extra garbage bags for anyone who may get sick on your trip. You wouldn’t want anyone getting sick and having to worry about the interior of your car. I would recommend buying some Dramamine as well to prevent motion sickness in anyone who tends to have it in your family. Also, pack some hand sanitizer and of course you will have your baby wipes handy too.
10. Toilet Paper
Pack a couple rolls of toilet paper. You may need to make an unexpected pit stop along the highway and you don’t want to be unprepared for those times. You can also use the toilet paper for runny noses, etc. if needed.
11. Ice Chest
Pack a small ice chest with some water, fruit, and lunchmeat. You can have a roadside picnic or some protein as a snack. Or you can make some quick sandwiches while staying on the road. In my opinion fruit is best cold so I like to keep it in the ice chest.
12. Road Trip Apps
Load up your phone with some fun road trip apps that will make your trip that much easier. Two that I use are Roadtrippers and Gas Buddy. Some other apps that I have heard about and plan on checking out before my summer road trip are TV Food Maps and INRIX.
13. Medications and Eye Glasses
Be sure to pack your medications. You don’t want to go on a week-long trip and not have your medications with you. I use a make-up travel bag to store all of our medications. I suggest also bringing cough medicine and Motrin or Tylenol for the kiddos too. You never know when a fever will occur and you don’t want to have to try to find a drug store in the middle of the night in a strange city.
I hope you find my list of recommend road trip items helpful. Please share your must pack items for your road trips in the comments. We can all learn new tips, tricks, and hacks before we set out on our adventures this summer.