With summer upon us, and the cost of a family flying cross country being a bit cost-prohibitive for many families, there’s another way to get to your destination. A road trip! When it comes to making a vacation memorable, it is important to take care of some of the “dirty work” before you head out, so that there is less room for inconvenient surprises when you get on the road. I shared with you some ideas for making a road trip family friendly, as well as an idea for seeing all 5 Great Lakes via a road trip, now I want to discuss the road trip essentials with you.
6 Road Trip Essentials
Don’t leave home without these road trip essentials.
- A clean up kit for the car. Kids can make a big mess in a car, so it is important to have a plan for keeping it tidy. Don’t pack crumbly snacks like chips and popcorn. Choose self-containing food when possible. Collect garbage before you arrive at each pit stop, and make it a point to throw away trash from the car. If you have a hand vacuum, you can get any spills at the end of each day. Have wet wipes handy, as well as gallon-sized bags for any items that get messy but you aren’t going to toss. Consider a travel-size stain spray as well as baking soda for absorbing smells.
- A full tune up on your car, or a general service appointment if your car is under warranty. This is important so that you know that you’ve checked for wear and tear on your vehicle that could cause issues on the road. If it has been a while, make sure you’ve had your tires rotated and filled optimally!
- Four cell phone chargers. Yes, four. Two for the vehicle, and two that charge in the hotel. One could get slammed in the car door or otherwise misplaced and with cell phones doubling as entertainment devices and navigation tools, a good charge is basically imperative.
- Entertainment plans. Whether it is a tablet or a kid’s device, know how long the charge lasts and whether or not there’s enough juice to get you from place to place. Always have a backup plan as well. Batteries stop working? Great! We brought along washable markers and a road trip checklist! Don’t forget to plan in stops for fun. Drive while kids are quiet and napping. If you can make a stop at a local kid’s park along the way, young kids can get some energy out and make memories too!
- First aid kit. You just never know what could happen – a splinter or a hang nail – these can be taken care of simply without the need to find tweezers at a gas station!
- A realistic attitude. Yes! This is one of the most important tips, other than a working vehicle! You need to realize that things may go wrong. There could be a missed exit, a kid may pee in their carseat, a teen may get more moody than normal. Expect the best, plan for the worst? That AND understand that attitude is half the battle!
When you head out on your road trip, be prepared. Know the directions, plan the stops, double check the address and steps before you realize there are two “townships” of the same name in a city. Small things can make a difference, but the point is a road trip is an opportunity to make some awesome memories for your family.
Where are you travelling this summer?