Last updated on August 20th, 2022 at 03:22 pm
A road trip is the perfect way to make family memories. It doesn’t matter if you are driving an hour to go camping at the beach or cross-country to visit some of our nation’s amazing landmarks. Knowing what to pack for a family road trip will partly determine how well, or how disastrous, it all turns out.
Before you start packing, you need to figure out how much space you have in your vehicle. Make sure you have ample space for luggage, necessities, food, and anything else you want to bring.
If you’re traveling a long distance, consider renting a larger vehicle to accommodate everyone and everything you need. Our guide will help you figure out what you do need to bring so you and your family have a memorable vacation.
What to Pack for a Family Road Trip
Packing for Babies
Bored and hungry children do not make for a pleasant road trip no matter what their age. Keeping them occupied will mean a less stressful drive. However, packing for babies and toddlers can be the most difficult out of the entire family.
Little ones need the most assistance and have the least amount of patience. Remember to pack the everyday necessities like diapers, wipes, diaper cream, clothes, socks, shoes, bottles, pacifiers, favorite toys, and blankets.
Then there are the extras you may need while traveling, like swim diapers, sunscreen, a sun hat, sippy cups, bowls, utensils, towels, a thermometer, and baby powder.
Packing for Preschool and School-Age Children
Children will definitely need help packing for a trip. They may forget to bring more than one pair of underwear, their toothbrush, or a second pair of shoes. Go over what they packed, and remember to bring their swimsuits, towel, and goggles.
They can also easily be kept busy with electronics, gadgets, books (and audio books), and other toys, so when packing for your vacation, make sure to include their opinions and their favorite things such as a tablet or laptop to play games, listen to music, or watch movies.
You can also load them up with educational apps that don’t need the internet to play, like Minecraft, Stack the States, and others.
An eReader is also helpful and will keep younger kids entertained with books and games. You will need some non-tech toys and books on hand too, like coloring books and crayons, Loom bands, playing cards, sticker books, and magnetic travel games.
What to pack for a family road trip when it comes to kids’ snacks? Bottled water and lots of finger foods (separated into baggies) like cheddar fish crackers, baby carrots, animal crackers, raisins, and dry cereal are a good idea. If you’re using a cooler, you can also bring string cheese and slices of lunch meat. The goal is to have as little mess as possible.
Packing for Teens
Teens can pretty much fend for themselves on a trip. They can pack their own clothing, electronics, and snacks, although ask them to make a list first so they don’t forget anything.
Also make sure they have noise-cancelling headphones to drown out any unwanted noise, talking, or music that may be going on in the car. There’s nothing worse on a family road trip than kids fighting because the music is too loud or they can’t hear their movie.
Remind them to bring their toothbrush and deodorant though, and make sure their snacks won’t make a mess or stink up the car.
Packing for Parents
You get to pack for yourself after everyone else is packed. You already know to bring appropriate clothing, personal items, and food.
But, you also get to remember all the little things everyone else didn’t think about, like extra chargers, antibacterial wipes, garbage bags, hand sanitizer, bug repellant, and tissues.
Many people also forget that sunburns can still happen in the car, so be sure to pack sunscreen and sunglasses for the whole family.
Remind your husband that he does need more than one or two days’ worth of clothing, especially if the trip lasts longer than that.
Also keep some loose change handy for tolls, some small pillows and blankets for naps, and any medications you need, including some for headaches and allergic reactions. [Also read: 5 Simple Tips for Healthy Travel + What to Include in your Travel Heath Kit]
Now that you know what to pack for a family road trip, pack it up, and go make some great memories!