With a boat load of kids and 2 adults, flying to our vacation destination isn’t always affordable. Most vacations consist of us driving to wherever it is that we might be going; which can be hours upon hours in the car driving, and driving..and driving. If you aren’t prepared for being on the road a long time, it can make the drive seem like an eternity.
So with all our experience and lessons learned, we decided to share our ultimate road trip packing list for families.
This post is sponsored by Reedman-Toll Chevrolet of Exton.
Now before I get into a big long list of what you should plan to take on your trip, don’t forget the most important. 1. a sense of humor – things will go wrong; kids will fight, and hey you might actually get lost or run into an awful bit of construction and traffic. But keep a sense of humor! My kids laugh at me for laughing a the most ridiculous of things, but you know what? Those are the memories I want them to have. Not of Mom yelling or arguing or being upset, but laughing and enjoying life! 2. snacks – while its all fine and dandy and a bit fun to go into the gas station to get snacks, it will KILL YOUR BUDGET! I can’t tell you how many times we just have left for somewhere in a hurry and had to do this. Gas station snack prices are RIDICULOUS! So be sure to stock up at the store before you leave. 3. comfortable clothes & slip on shoes – I’m pretty sure my entire summer wardrobe consist of nothing but cotton, but for real, no one likes to travel in jeans or tight clothes. Make sure you and the kids are comfortable. .oh and slip on shoes make going to the bathroom wayy easier – plus it saves you tons of time. So on to the rest of the list…
As much as this shouts OBVIOUS! be sure that you have all the paperwork you need for your trip. Drivers license, insurance cards, health insurance cards, paperwork for your check-in, or tickets to any destinations you may have already booked in advance, credit cards, back-up emergency cards or money, etc. Double and triple check!
Also – a back up credit card, even if you don’t like using credit, is a really good idea. A few years ago I was on vacation with my parents and my debit card I had been using was compromised (pretty sure it was in one of those shady gas stations where I bought my kids snacks while my Dad filled up the van with gas). I saw it in my bank account the next day, and called my bank who immediately cancelled my card. I had no credit cards, no other bank cards, and my bank was a credit union that was only in Ohio – not in Florida where we were. Thankfully my Dad had a back up credit card he gave me to use for the rest of the trip. I can’t imagine what we would have had to do if I had been traveling alone! Ever since then I have always always carried a back-up card , even if my plan is to use my debit card or cash.
This list seems to just be getting bigger – so you know the drill. You need your cell phone, your cell phone charger – a portable charger if you don’t have one, get one – your GPS (if you don’t use your phone for it) , the iPad, tablets/electronics for the kids – and all the charger cords. I usually bring a portable DVD player so the kids can watch movies, make sure you bring plenty of movies because they get bored quickly. Back-up batteries in case you need to unplug from the car (Those charging elements can get hot). Don’t forget the camera! Capture those memories (and don’t forget the memory card either). We have a waterproof camera that has captured some awesome pictures of swimming/snorkeling, and I would completely recommend getting one! I also like books on tape as well, for me. I like listening to music, but sometimes you just need to change gears.
Depending on how long you will be in the car – and what ages you are traveling with – bringing an extra set (or 2 ) of clothes handy in the front seat, or easily accessible is a good idea. It’s not always easy to unload a vehicle once its been packed to grab a tshirt or an extra pair of undies from your suitcase. Keep an outfit with undies and socks and even a light jacket in a bag near the front so you can get your clothes easily if you need to change. I also do this with our toothbrushes/toothpaste, hair spray, body spray and deodorant (try traveling 16 hours in a car with a teenage boy – ick!) We always take time to ‘freshen’ up, and it’s a lot easier if you don’t have to unpack the whole car just to get what you need.
It’s also nice to have sunscreen handy, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, grocery bags (for garbage, and dirty clothes) chap stick, bug spray, Tylenol, allergy meds, bandaids, neosporin, etc. Trust me – you’ll be glad you had it on hand and didn’t have to stop somewhere and pay outrageous prices (plus it slows you down when you have to stop again!)
The list goes on – see part 2 here.