By: Colleen Lanin | February 16, 2021
"This family road trip packing list will help keep your crew content and safe on the go. Road trips promise freedom, scenic landscapes, and quirky roadside attractions. Hitting the road with children, however, can also mean seemingly constant potty breaks, sibling disputes, car sickness, and backseat whining. For a smooth car journey, be sure to pack these road trip essentials for kids.
1. Travel Toys and Games
Old school games like 20 Questions and the Alphabet Game can be entertaining, but eventually kids will want something else to pass the time. Before every road trip, I purchase at least one travel craft for each of my children. A plastic travel soap box holds crayons nicely and can be used on every trip. Buy a special new toy or two for each vacation, too. You should also store a separate stash of hidden travel toys to keep old favorites fresh on each trip. Need some suggestions? Check out our picks for the best travel toys and crafts for kids and the best travel games for toddlers to teens.
2. Pit Stop Playthings
Keeping kids content inside the car is important but don’t forget to bring some outdoor toys for pit stops as well. Mini bottles of bubbles, a beach ball, Frisbee, or jump rope can help kids get active when you stop along your route at rest stops and parks.
3. Plastic Trash Bags
Road trips with kids can be messy. A plastic grocery bag keeps trash off the floor and seats. I hang a bag in the backseat from the front armrests. This enables my kids to deposit their juice boxes and snack wrappers into the trash themselves. Bring a few along so you can easily toss refuse at pit stops.
3. Bucket for Motion
SicknessIf traveling with young children, then a bucket is a road trip must-have. Why? You’ll need this case of car sickness or sudden bout of food poisoning or stomach flu. Older kids can probably manage just fine with a plastic bag, but young children aren’t great at aiming and shouldn’t handle plastic bags due to suffocation hazards. A simple plastic beach pail should do the trick. Keep the bucket within arm’s reach. It won’t do you any good buried under a pile of suitcases in the trunk. Learn tips for avoiding motion sickness before you hit the road.
4. Road Trip Playlist
Sure, you can listen to the radio. But a road trip playlist makes the miles more fun. Create a playlist for your smart phone and plug it in for the whole family to enjoy through the car’s speakers (if your car offers this technology). Choose songs that appeal to all family members, so everyone is excited to listen along."