10 things to have in your car for a family road trip


When you’re planning a road trip with the family, there’s more to do than just book hotels and gas up the car. You also have to plan appropriately for the actual driving portion of the trip, particularly when you have small kids along. While teens will probably be perfectly content to snooze and text for the duration of the trip, younger children are going to need a bit more entertainment and care. Make sure you have these 10 must-haves in your car before loading up the suitcases:

  1. Snacks and drinks – You might think of road trips as a time to indulge, but if you’re going to be on the road for days at a time, you should have both healthy and junky snacks on hand to keep the masses happy. Pack a cooler with grapes and carrot sticks, as well as some candy and pretzels. Add juice boxes and water bottles and place the cooler where kids can reach it.
  2. Toys and gadgets – You’re going to have a mutiny on your hands if you get out on the road without the iPad. Double-check you have all of the kids’ favorites toys and gadgets, including coloring books and crayons, iPods and iPads, and anything else they can’t do without.
  3. Books – Books might seem like an antiquated item in an age of tablets and eReaders, but you’re going to be happy to have them when the charge runs out on all the gadgets. Let your kids pick series that they like and stock up on all the books in case your little ones tear right through them.
  4. Travel potty – If you’re right in the midst of potty-training a toddler, the process won’t stop for family vacation. Pack up the travel potty, too.
  5. Hand sanitizer – You never know what the state of rest stop bathrooms and fast food restaurants is going to be, so be prepared. Stock up on hand sanitizer before you trip and dispense it liberally.
  6. iPod – Have a playlist queued up before you shift the car into drive. You don’t need a list that’s designed to last for the duration of your road trip, but it should at least get everyone pumped for a few hours right out of the gate.
  7. Blankets and pillows – If you’re lucky, your kids will likely snooze for most of the ride. Boost your chances by filling the backseat with tons of blankets and pillows. This will also help if your family can’t seem to agree on the AC level.
  8. DVD player – When the iPad has lost its appeal and your kids have already finished up the final chapter book in their series, you can’t go wrong with a movie. Pop one into the DVD player when you get desperate.
  9. List of tech-free games – Not every game requires batteries. I Spy and the License Plate Game are good options if you have kids who like to play with others instead of a virtual video game opponent.
  10. Travel journal – If you have an older child, he might want to chronicle his time on the road by jotting it down in a travel journal.

Family Road Trip Survival Guide [Travel Channel]

If you have an older child, he might want to chronicle his time on the road by jotting it down in a travel journal. [The Stir]

Family Road Trip Tips [Cool Mom Picks]

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