If you’re a fan of the 1980s classic, National Lampoon’s Vacation, you know that when it comes to road trips, being prepared can make or break your road trip. To help you plan your road trip, we’ve come up with some tips to keep you rolling on down the road with as few hiccups as possible.
Best Travel Gear for Family Road Trips
Let’s assume here that you’re a family of four or five individuals, some young, maybe a tween or teen, and adult parents. This means your needs are all different and your expectations are even more diverse. But, space is also limited. Here are the must-have gear items for traveling with family on the road.
Personal entertainment devices. While phones are one thing, they are also needed for navigation. Opt for something that has a long battery life and plenty of entertainment that doesn’t require an internet connection.
Headphones. Yes! You need headphones for entertainment, but they can also stifle the noise made from other individuals while trying to get some shut-eye (just not for the driver of course).
Books. Yep, they are also personal entertainment, but they don’t require batteries, they make no noise and they’re reusable. Plus, if you need to lighten the load due to an increase in luggage (souvenir purchases) you can always leave them at the resort or hotel and the next traveler will enjoy the book. A Kindle is also a great option.
Baby Wipes. It doesn’t matter how old your children are, these are great for cleaning up just about any mess that comes along the way. They can also be handy when not everyone gets time in the shower. Just use them to do a quick wash up and go.
Energy Bars. These are an important item to have on stash because at any time someone could become hangry when it is an inconvenient time or place. There’s nothing worse than dealing with moody kids or adults while on the interstate in the middle of nowhere.
GPS Apps. Don’t rely on the in-built navigation to get you through traffic during rush hour in a new city. Look for apps which are user-sourced and are live updated with traffic, like Waze. You’ll need to know shortcuts when there’s an accident or bad traffic. By having a backup GPS already on your phone, you’ll save time and data when you need that alternate route that your default app is not finding.
Stain Stick. This is a lot more important that you’d think, and you only realize it after someone spills food on the “one nice outfit needed for the entire trip” By treating the stain right away you’re a step ahead of the game, and hopefully, a quick rinse back at the hotel of the stain-stick treated clothing will make the outfit ready for when it is needed.
Cash. I know this isn’t a device, but more than once I’ve run into a situation where, in small towns, the store we stopped at did not accept credit cards for small purchases. So to ensure you’re not in that situation when you just need to make a small purchase when using the restroom, keep cash on hand.
Mix Tape! Okay, not an actual mix tape, but a good playlist is a must. You may end up driving through an area of the country where the music options just aren’t your cup of tea (or coffee) and you’ll need to have something pre-set that most everyone agrees to listen to. So, keep a list of everyone’s favorite songs and mix them up.
Emergency Kit. You can buy a pre-packed roadside emergency kit online, it is a good idea to have that just in case. It’ll help you get back on the road quick, or at least keep you safe until help arrives.
First Aid Kit. On the same token, you need to remember the ol’ scout saying “always be prepared” and have those bandages and antiseptic wipes ready for an emergency.
Plastic Bags for Trash. Yes, your car is bound to become full of litter unless you make it a habit to empty the trash at each gas fill up or pit stop. Banana peels, wrappers and other debris is bound to pile up unless you have one set spot for trash in the vehicle.
When it comes to traveling, remember that the journey is part of the adventure. Don’t lose out on making memories just because you’re stuck in the car. Be prepared to have fun, sing songs, play roadside bingo and more. Be prepared with the right gear and also a positive attitude. Be sure to also check out this list of the Best Family Road Trip Games.
What do you feel is the best travel gear for family road trips?