Car Packing for a Road Trip with Kids

Why hello Summer. We waited a long winter for you. Now that you’re here, we’re ready for road trips!

We know first-hand how stressful road trips can be – all the packing, the question of are we there yet, or the dreaded I’m bored – younger children like ours are often bored and restless sitting for long trips, we do understand how they feel.

Since we’ll be hitting the road in the next few weeks, we decided to take a new approach to how we tackle the drive with our littles – not only with less screen time, but also trying to make the road trip more enjoyable for all of us. We have learned over the past years a few tips and will be incorporating a few more of what to pack for the road. Here’s our top 5:

1. Bag of Non-Tech Activities: The Target Dollar Spot was our go-to to find some cheap and fun activities to do along the way. A new “road trip” bag was a perfect way to introduce the new things like mad libs, activity book, sticker books, boogie boards, felt tic-tac-toe (for the hotel), and a new notebook. We also picked up a couple new books to read along the way that will double as bedtime stories. Keep the bag within reach!

2. Tech Activities: We have both an iPad and Kindle Fire to charge and load up with educational games, TV shows, and movies. Don’t forget the headphones – the Buddyphones are a favorite. We’ll limit the tech time, as we usually do, but we find in high traffic (and when directions are needed) the tech time is great all around.

3. Snacks, Snacks, and more Snacks: While we’re big fans of “gas station snacks”, some healthier options like grapes, cheese sticks, and pretzels a

re thrown in. As for drinks, we limit juice boxes in general, and with the sugary snacks we’ll all be eating, a good water bottle or two is essential. We love the contigo and bkr water bottles. We have a soft-sided cooler we bring and a reusable grocery bag. We’ve tried using reusable sandwich bags and lunchbot containers, but in the end, pre-packaged and regular ziploc sandwich bags are the way to go. (Sorry environment) As always, use caution when giving children food in the car.

4. Audiobooks/Podcasts/Playlists: This is a new one for us that we’re excited to try out. We’ve been crowd-sourcing some family friendly podcasts and audiobooks for all of us to enjoy along the way. A couple we’ll be listening to: Wow in the World Podcast; But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids; Story Pirates for podcasts. We’re kicking it old school with Beverly Cleary and Ronald Dahl for audiobooks. Since we canceled our XM subscription, we’ve also put together a couple playlists that are kid appropriate to avoid static radio play.

5. Health and Safety: The car is usually stocked with some health and safety essentials  – they’ve come in handy at the park and soccer field – so this is always in the car. It’s packed with ibuprofen , bandaids, benedryl stick, Neosporin, a nail kit with tweezers, pepto, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, bug balm; wet wipes and a couple plastic bags (for garbage) are in the back seat pocket. During planned pit stops, it’s convenient to have to spray on sunscreen and run around for a few minutes at a park.

We’re ready to hit the road, happy travels!

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