Planning the perfect family road trip is no easy task and one that can be exacerbated by poor packing. With that in mind, here are some essential items that should join you and your family on a vacation to remember.
Maps and map apps
It doesn’t matter how well you think you know the way, planning for every directional possibility is essential. Not only do maps give you realistic ETAs that can help plan food and bathroom breaks, but they can also inform you about disruptive road closures and traffic problems that may require detours. Having old-fashioned paper maps as a back-up option too is just smart planning, as what happens if you suddenly run out of power?
A battery or power pack
This brings us along nicely to the second essential item: a battery pack. Technology is amazing: it entertains, informs and wonders in equal measure, but that’s only while you have power. We’ve all been there a thousand times when your phone runs out of juice, and you have no access to more. On a long road trip, that can be nothing short of disastrous, especially if the kids are in the middle of watching their favorite show — plan for this eventuality with a back-up power pack which can easily recharge all those essential devices.
A first aid kit
We don’t like to think about it, but we have to plan for it. Accidents can and do happen, so ensure that you have all those basic medical requirements covered with a comprehensive family travel first aid kit which you can pick up from your local drugstore. From band aids to bandages, from sun cream to insect repellent, these are essential items for a family get away. Don’t get stuck without those essentials.
This one sounds simple, and it is, but never get caught out without liquid refreshment. Travelling is thirsty work, so make sure you have enough for those long freeway stretches where convenience stores are at a premium.
At times, travelling can be a little boring, and when we are bored, we eat. That’s a fact, but the last thing you want to be doing is doling out constant supplies of candy and those sugary treats which simply gets everyone more irritable when the inevitable comedown arrives. Instead, have a healthy portion of fresh fruit, nuts and wholesome goodies which will be sure to satisfy those cravings on the move.
Make the trip a more memorable family experience by bringing simple games which involve a high element of interaction. There will be times when individual members want to retreat into a moment or two of solitude with a pair of headphones, but for those other moments, have some non-digital activities which can get everyone engaged with the environment around them. Sometimes this just needs to be an eager imagination, spotting license plates from as many different places as possible, for example.
Pillows and blankets
And of course, there will be times when everyone (except the driver, obviously) will want a little bit of downtime or the odd nap. Bringing cushions, comfy blankets, travel socks or whatever it may be will help everyone to grab a quick forty winks when it is needed. A sleep ensures a serene journey, so make sure you have the means to make it as comfortable as possible.
Everyone enjoys an occasional road-trip sing-a-long. Carpool Karaoke anyone? So make sure you have the means to play an eclectic mix to satisfy every member of the family and don’t forget headphones for when everyone wants to break off into their own genres. Podcasts are another great form of entertainment for long trips, so having the capacity to access these is an added bonus.
So, there we have it, a great trip can be almost guaranteed with these few travel essentials. Just don’t forget the gas!