It’s summertime! Queue the road trip packing list for families! Planning a family road trip is an exciting experience, but packing for one can be a daunting task.
With so many things to consider, especially if you’re traveling with kids, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
We’ve created a FREE road trip packing list for families to help make sure you have everything you need for your adventure.
Whether you’re traveling with infants or teenagers, this comprehensive list will help you stay organized and prepared.
From essentials to entertainment, we’ve got you covered. So sit back, relax, and read on to learn everything you need to know about packing for your next family road trip.
Road Trip Packing List for Families
Hitting the road with the whole family can be an adventure. However, it can also be a bit chaotic if you don’t have everything you need for the trip.
Whether it’s a short weekend getaway or a long summer vacation, having a solid packing list can make all the difference in ensuring a smooth journey.
From snacks and games to toiletries and electronics, this comprehensive family road trip packing list is just what you need.
Let’s dive into the ultimate road trip packing list!
First Aid Kit
One of the most important things to pack on a family road trip is a first aid kit.
You never know when an unexpected injury or illness might pop up on long drives. In short, it’s always best to be prepared.
Your first aid kit should include essentials like band-aids, gauze, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and allergy medication. It’s also a good idea to pack items like tweezers, scissors, and a thermometer.
If you have young children, make sure to bring any specific medications or supplies that they might need. For example, infant Tylenol or natural remedies, diaper rash cream, motion sickness medicine, or teething gel.
Don’t forget to pack sunscreen and insect repellent, especially if you’ll be spending time outdoors.
Before you leave, make sure to double-check that everything in your first aid kit is up to date and hasn’t expired. With a well-stocked first aid kit, you’ll be ready for whatever bumps and bruises come your way on your family road trip.
Vehicle Must Haves
When you head out on a road trip with your family, it’s important to make sure that your vehicle is properly equipped for the journey ahead.
Some of the following items were highlighted in “What to Pack in Car Emergency Kits“.
Here are some vehicle essentials that you should consider bringing along:
1. Spare Tire:
Getting stuck with a flat tire can quickly mess up a road trip! Make sure you have a spare tire that is properly inflated and in good condition.
2. Jumper Cables:
You never know when you might need a jump start. Having a set of jumper cables or a portable battery charger can be a real lifesaver.
Bring along a basic toolkit that includes a wrench, screwdriver, pliers, and other essentials.
In case of a breakdown or if you need to check something under the hood in the dark, having a flashlight handy is a must.
5. Maps & GPS:
Even if you have GPS on your phone, it’s a good idea to have paper maps as a backup in case you lose service or your phone battery dies.
6. Spare Keys:
Don’t forget to bring spare keys for your car in case you lose your primary set.
A sunshade for your windshield can help keep your car cool and comfortable during stops.
8. Window Shades:
Consider purchasing window shades for your backseat windows to help keep the sun out of your kids’ eyes.
By taking the time to make sure your vehicle is properly stocked for your family road trip, you can make sure you have a smoother, safer journey.
Remember, preparation is key, so take the time to plan ahead and pack smart.
No family road trip family vacation is complete without a few electronic gadgets for entertainment. These devices can help with navigation, keep everyone connected, and prevent boredom. Here are a few electronic essentials to include in your family road trip checklist:
1. Phone Chargers:
Keep your phones fully charged at all times, so you can use them for GPS, making calls, and capturing memories. Here are some car charger adapters if you don’t have enough USB ports in your car.
Invest in good-quality headphones for everyone in the family, especially if you’re planning a long road trip. This way, each person can enjoy their own music, movies, or podcasts without disturbing others.
3. Portable DVD Player:
A portable DVD player can be a lifesaver, especially for younger kids who may not enjoy long car rides. Load up on your favorite movies and TV shows to keep them entertained for hours.
4. Power Bank:
A portable power bank is a must-have, especially if you’re planning on using your devices heavily. This way, you won’t have to worry about running out of battery on the road.
Games & Activities
Keeping your family entertained during a long road trip is crucial to making the experience enjoyable. Family travel can be hectic, but make it from with some of these ideas for games and activities:
1. Card games:
A deck of cards can provide endless hours of entertainment for both adults and children. Popular card games like Go Fish, Uno, and Crazy Eights are perfect for long car rides.
2. Road trip bingo:
Create bingo cards with items that you might see on your trip, like a gas station, a cow, or a specific type of car. The first person to get a bingo wins a prize! These road trip bingo cards are a hit for kids.
3. Portable board games:
Look for compact versions of your favorite board games like Scrabble, Monopoly, and Connect Four that you can bring along in the car.
4. Coloring books and crayons:
Coloring books are perfect for keeping young children occupied. They also give them a nice break from staring at screens for extended periods.
5. Audiobooks and podcasts:
Download your family’s favorite audiobooks or podcasts before hitting the road. It’s a great way to bond and learn together.
Make sure to pack a mix of solo and group activities that are suitable for everyone in the family. With a variety of options, your family will never run out of things to do on your next trip.
Snacks and Drinks
Road trips can make even the most well-behaved children a bit fidgety. There’s nothing like some delicious snacks to keep them entertained and satisfied.
Depending on your travel time, check out these Easy Road Trip Lunch Ideas and Dinner Ideas
Stocking up on snacks is an essential part of any successful road trip, so be sure to pack some of the following:
1. Healthy Snacks:
When packing snacks for your family, don’t forget to include healthy options like fruits, veggies, and protein bars. These will help keep your kids full for longer and keep their energy levels stable.
2. Chips and Pretzels:
Of course, road trips are also a great excuse to indulge in some tasty treats like chips, pretzels, or popcorn for the long car ride.
These are some of the best road trip snacks for kids of all ages and are easy to pack in small containers or plastic bags.
Don’t forget to pack plenty of water and other drinks, like juice boxes or sports drinks. It’s essential to stay hydrated during long car rides, so make sure to bring enough water for everyone.
4. Sweet Treats:
If your family has a sweet tooth, you might want to pack some candy, cookies, or chocolate bars. However, keep in mind that too much sugar can make kids hyper.
It’s best to limit the number of sweets you bring along so your long trip doesn’t feel any longer.
Remember, packing snacks is not only for your kids but also for you! You’ll want to make sure you have some snacks handy for yourself during the drive.
Be sure to pack a small cooler with ice or frozen gel packs to keep your perishables fresh during the journey.
By packing snacks and drinks for your road trip, you’re setting yourself up for an easier and happier experience, especially on longer road trips!
In addition to the essential items listed above, there are a few miscellaneous items that you might want to consider adding to your family road trip packing list.
1. Garbage bags:
It’s always a good idea to have a few garbage bags on hand to keep your car clean and tidy. Also, try these trash bags that double as vomit bags that are washable.
Traveling with kids can bring these kinds of surprises.
2. Blankets and pillows:
If you’re planning on spending some nights in the car or at rest stops, it’s a good idea to bring along some comfort items! Blankets and pillows, plus your kids’ favorite stuffed animals, are road trip necessities!
3. Sunscreen and insect repellent:
If you’ll be spending any time outside, make sure you have plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent to keep your family protected.
It’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand for tolls, parking, and other unexpected expenses.
6. Wet wipes and tissues:
Messes happen, so be sure to pack some wet wipes and tissues to clean up spills and other accidents.
By adding these miscellaneous items to your family road trip packing list, you’ll be prepared for any unexpected situations that may arise, ensuring that your trip is smooth, enjoyable, and stress-free.
Winter Road Trip Must Haves
Winter road trips can be a magical experience, but they also require extra preparation. Here are some must-haves for your winter family road trip packing list:
1. Warm Clothes and Accessories:
It’s important to keep warm and cozy during the cold winter months. Pack warm clothing, hats, gloves, scarves, and boots to stay comfortable during the drive.
2. Snow Scraper and Shovel:
If you’re driving through snow, you’ll need to be prepared. Keep a snow scraper and shovel in your car in case you need to dig out of snow or remove ice from your windshield.
3. Winter Tires or Chains:
If you’re driving through areas that are known for their winter weather, it’s best to have winter tires or chains to avoid skidding or getting stuck in snow or ice.
4. Blankets and Hand Warmers:
It’s always a good idea to have extra blankets and hand warmers in the car. These items can come in handy if you’re stranded on the road or stuck in traffic for a long time.
5. Emergency Kit:
Pack an emergency kit with items such as a flashlight, first aid kit, water, snacks, and blankets. These essentials can come in handy in case of an unexpected emergency.
By packing these winter road trip must-haves, you’ll be prepared for any unexpected winter weather conditions.
Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so make sure you’re prepared before hitting the road.
Essential Road Trip Planning Tips
Going on a road trip with your family is one of the most exciting adventures you can go on together. However, before hitting the road, there are some essential planning tips to keep in mind.
Grab your free printable road trip packing list for families. Then, these tips will help make your trip run smoothly and ensure that everyone enjoys the journey.
1. Plan your route:
It’s important to know the route you’ll be taking before starting the trip. Use a map or GPS to plot your course and make a note of any rest areas, gas stations, or scenic spots along the way. This will give you a good idea of what to expect and help you plan your stops.
2. Schedule stops:
Road trips can be tiring, especially for young children. Schedule regular stops at a rest area or parks along the way to give everyone a chance to stretch their legs, use the restroom, and grab a snack. This will break up the journey and make it more enjoyable for everyone.
3. Check your vehicle:
Before starting your journey, make sure your vehicle is in good working condition. Check the oil, brakes, tires, and lights to avoid any unforeseen breakdowns. If your car needs a service, have it done before you start the trip.
4. Clean your car:
You don’t just need plenty of space in your car for family trips. You also need a nice clean space so that it’s less stressful and more enjoyable.
5. Pack light:
When you’re packing for a road trip, it’s tempting to bring everything you might need. However, packing light will save space and make your trip more comfortable. Stick to the essentials, and leave non-essential items at home.
6. Be flexible:
Despite careful planning, things can still go wrong on a road trip. Be flexible and willing to change your plans if needed. It’s okay to deviate from your route or make unplanned stops to make the most of your trip.
With your packing list complete and your plans in place, all that’s left to do is hit the road and make some unforgettable memories
Best Road Trip Apps
In today’s world, apps have become an essential part of our lives. The same goes for road trips as well.
Here are some of the best road trip apps that can help you make your family road trip a success. Be sure to grab your free road trip packing list for families.
This app helps you plan your road trip and provides suggestions for routes, attractions, hotels, and more.
This app helps you find the cheapest gas prices along your route, which can save you a lot of money.
Waze is a navigation app that provides real-time traffic updates and alternative routes to help you avoid traffic jams.
This app can help you find the best restaurants, coffee shops, and other places to eat along your route.
5. Google Maps:
Google Maps is a popular navigation app that provides accurate directions and can help you find the best route to your destination.
Spotify is a music app that can provide endless entertainment for your family road trip.
If you’re looking for a unique place to stay, Airbnb can help you find affordable accommodations along your route.
This app provides information about rest stops, gas stations, and other amenities along your route.
By using these road trip apps, you can have a stress-free and enjoyable family road trip.
Whether you’re looking for navigation, entertainment, or accommodations, these apps can help you find what you need along the way.
Going on a family road trip, especially for long distances, is a great way to make memories that will last a lifetime.
Whether you’re heading out for a weekend adventure or a longer trip, it’s important to make sure you’re properly prepared so you can have peace of mind.
By following this complete packing list, you’ll have everything you need for a great family road trip!
Don’t forget to pack your sense of adventure, a positive attitude, and an open mind. Happy travels!
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