Taking time out as a family to hit the road and explore somewhere new will make memories your kids (and you!) will remember for a lifetime. In fact, road trips are becoming one of the most popular ways to travel — according to a study from MMGY Global, roughly 39 percent of vacations in the US are done via road trip.
But hopping into the car unprepared can make for a long (and whiny) journey. Here are the road trip must haves you should pack to help the miles fly by.
Road Trip Essentials
Unless you have wet wipes at the ready in your cup holders, keep car food easy and most importantly clean. Pack snacks like cut-up fruit, string cheese, and protein bars to keep your passengers fueled until your next pit stop. The same goes with liquids – keep them clear (like water or seltzer) to prevent stains should anything spill.
Emergency Car Kit
Mishaps on the road can happen, and being prepared can help lessen the amount of time you and your family may have to spend on the side of the highway. Make or buy a car kit that has jumper cables, a flashlight, a multipurpose tool like a Swiss Army knife, a spare tire, wheel wrench and jack, extra batteries, and some first-aid supplies. Hopefully you’ll never have to open it, but if you do, you’ll be happy it’s there.
Medications (including allergy medicine)
If you or your kids take daily medication, make sure to double (and triple) check the amount you’ll need for the length of your trip. And when it comes to seasonal allergies, even if you keep the windows closed and the air conditioner cranked (to keep pollen out), a nasal spray like Children’s Flonase Sensimist Allergy Relief is a gentle way to provide 24-hour, nondrowsy relief. Just one dose per day will prove effective, keeping your trip on track.
Credit cards are easy, but make sure you have some cash in the event you land at a rest stop or restaurant where cards are not accepted, or for tolls in case your E-ZPass happens to malfunction at some point mid-journey.
Yes, your phone and/or car has amazing GPS, but should you drive into an area with poor service, or if the GPS in your car has out-of-date programming for a certain area, a physical map is a great alternative to driving around in circles!
Half the fun of a road trip is getting out and exploring new places. But should some of those places have bathrooms with no soap in the dispenser, hand sanitizer will come in, well,handy, and can help prevent outside germs from coming along for the ride.