21 Essentials to Pack for a Family Road Trip

Taking a road trip with your partner and kids can be tons of fun or a complete nightmare! Happy, smiling faces can quickly turn into sick, fed-up faces that “just wanna go home”! As great as road trips are or can be, you’re heading for a rough time if you don’t prepare for things to go wrong or get messy. Eight essentials that everyone must pack to go on a family road trip. Take a look at this article about a packing list for a family road trip. Family road trips are a great way for members to bond with each other and spread love.

Road trips are, however, incomplete if the element of comfort is absent from them despite the excessive amount of traveling. There are some products which can make your thanksgiving travel trip something the entire family can look forward to and can promote a safer outlook of the trip. Before stepping ahead, here are some Thanksgiving wishes you can send to your loved ones.Family Road Trip Packing List While we all know the basics such as keeping a spare tire in the back along with a jerrycan of fuel, it’s the little things that are overlooked which prove to be rather important! Particularly when traveling with kids, certain items can be the difference between a happy, fun-filled road trip and a disastrous one! So, if you’re hoping for the former, check out these essentials to have in your car on your next road trip with the family!

When you decide to go on a road trip, there are a few essentials that you need to ensure that you carry with you to avoid any hitches along the journey. Some of these items will ensure your safety, comfort and provide you with a memorable road trip experience. This article describes some essentials you should carry with you when going on a road trip:

What to pack for a family road trip?

1. Plenty of Water

Staying hydrated is significant for all travelers, regardless of their age. While some of you may opt to keep your liquid intake to a minimum to avoid stopping for bathroom breaks, answering nature’s call as often as needed is a small price to pay as opposed to the health risks that come with dehydration when traveling. Apart from drinking, it’s always good to have extra bottles of water for other uses like rinsing out a travel mug, washing your hands, etc. Importance of Family Road Trips

2. Food (Snacks) and Beverages

It’s not advisable to eat heavy meals when traveling as it could trigger your motion sickness and ruin the rest of your journey (and everyone else’s). Instead, carry some light snacks such as wafers and sandwiches, as well as a few juice boxes for the kids. You’ll probably make stops along the way to grab a bite at local cafes so the packed snacks are just for those who get hungry between stops.

As a savvy traveler, saving money on your road trip needs to be on your top priority list. To make this happen, you’ll need to pack a few snacks. A lot of time and money is often spent by travelers on stopovers to get snacks and food. Bring a good mix of snacks and healthy foods such as nuts, crackers, fruits, and drinks. Occasionally, you may be tempted to try out junk food. However, this is not good for your health, especially if you have underlying medical conditions or are on a weight loss program. The fact that you’re on a road trip doesn’t warrant indulging in unhealthy food practices.

3. Plastic Bags

A couple of small ones and 1-2 big plastics bags can prove to be extremely useful when your road trip commences! This is because kids and adults alike can suffer from motion sickness when you least expect it and hence, those plastic bags will sure come in handy! The bigger ones can be used to collect garbage throughout the entire road trip and be dumped in a public bin by the end of it.

4. Wet Wipes, Toilet Paper, Hand Sanitizer

These items go hand in hand. As you’re driving along and snacks are eaten, beverages are popped open and bathroom pit stops are made, wet wipes and toilet paper will be more important than ever! Apart from the obvious, you can use toilet paper to soak up any food or beverage spills on the carpeting in your car to avoid immediate staining. What’s more, wiping your face and your kids’ faces with baby wipes will keep all of you feeling fresh during the car ride.

5. First-Aid Kit

Keeping a basic first-aid kit in your car is advised as a precautionary measure. You never know when you might need a band-aid, cotton pads, pain relief meds, or bandages. These are just some of the items you can find in a first-aid kit; however, you can load it with anything you feel is necessary for your road trip. The importance of this kit is quite self-explanatory. When you’re out on the road, anything can happen, and as an adult, it is your responsibility to be prepared. Check out some of the best first aid kits in e-commerce stores. It is also an excellent decision to keep Ice Sprays and Mosquito repellents with you. You can never be too safe, but the safer you are, the more fun you can have. Thanksgiving Family Road Trip

6. Cell Phones + Portable Charges

Most of us don’t forget these items, but just in case you do, we advise going over this article once again before you start your journey! It’s useful to have some travel apps pre-installed on your phone, as they could prove to be helpful when you’re nearing your destination.

7. Hanging Organizers

These little mesh bags can be strapped to the front seats of the car and used to store items for easy access throughout the road trip. This includes wet wipes, water bottles, plastic bags, etc.

8. Electronics and a Nice Playlist

Carry some devices with you for entertainment along the way. Phones will help keep your children busy as you focus on the road. You can also carry a camera that will help you capture unforgettable moments along the road trip. Do not forget to carry chargers for your devices if you deplete their charge. A nice playlist will keep you and your family entertained throughout the long trip. Organize all your family member’s favorite tracks to include everyone. Caroline, mother and professional cleaner at Simply Maid Melbourne says “What’s a road trip without music, right? Make separate playlists for each car member so that everyone gets a turn to play their favorite songs and sing along! Don’t forget to make a playlist for you, the driver, because anyone behind the wheel deserves those awesome moments with the wind in their hair and their favorite song playing!”

9. Car baby Monitor 

When traveling with kids, it is essential that you can keep an eye on them throughout, because it only takes a moment of absent-mindedness for things to go wrong. By installing a baby monitor in the front of the car, you can keep an eye on them while you drive the car. The batteries are rechargeable, there is an option for night vision as well, and there are two separate screens you can look at. The best part about the monitor is that it is wireless, so the problem of wires tangling here and there can quickly be dealt with.

10. Advanced Earmuffs

The best-advanced earmuffs, MSA Sordin Supreme and Peltor ComTac series compared. The comparison will tell you that it is imperative to have Earmuffs not because they offer the perfect noise cancellation. When it comes to the noise factor, earplugs are a much better option, because the Noise Reduction Rating of the best-rated earmuffs stands at 30 decibels, whereas that of the best earplugs is 33. In any case, to give that extra comfort as you sleep in the back of your car or rest for a while, it is the right decision to opt for advanced earmuffs.

11. Stroller and Car Seat Cleaner

Under no circumstances is it advisable for you to compromise on the hygiene of your kids and loved ones. Most sanitizers, however, have extra strong chemical compositions which can be harmful to the skin of kids who get into touch with them, especially through their strollers and the car seat. These cleaners do not contain any such chemicals, and therefore make them extremely safe to be used under traveling situations.

12. RideSafer wearable car seat vest

People look at safer options for their children when they are traveling, and that often includes secure seat belts. This seat, however, is a lot more special because it can fit many kids starting from the age of three, has an excellent long life, and is quite lightweight as well. The seat has also been recognized on a state level as being secure for children, making it all the more possible for you to invest in it and never compromise on the safety of your child.

13. Comfortable and breathable clothing

It is integral to wear super comfortable clothing for a long road trip. Wear a comfy top and stretchy jeans. You can get clothes for the entire family by using these Old Navy online coupons and avail of great offers. Coupons for Shein can also be used for those strappy summer dresses and casual jumpsuits. Couple them up with comfy sports shoes, and you are all set for your road trip adventure.

14. Navigation tools

Everybody has a GPS on their phones nowadays, and it is what most of us resort to when we’re lost. But what if you’re in an area that doesn’t have cell reception? It’s important that you pack along a good old-fashioned map that will help you navigate your way through different roads, even without a GPS to guide you. It also helps if you got yourself a compass, because you never know when you might need one, and it’s a reliable thing to have with you whenever you’re on a road trip.


GPS devices can help you in case you get lost along the way. In addition, some advanced GPS devices have topographical information, which may help you make important decisions along the way. Do your research on the best navigation tool to use and ensure you pack it for the trip. You may sometimes get lost or need car services along the way. Therefore, through a GPS, you can locate the nearest mechanic who can come to your aid and help you out. Road Trip Tips - Things to Double-Check Before You Leave

15. A Roadside Emergency Kit

Uncertainties may occur along the way. Your car may develop some engine troubles or get a flat tire. With an emergency road kit, you can easily make a quick fix and be on your way in no time. Ensure your car has a spare tire in case of a flat tire. Also, having some skills in fixing common problems in your car may come in handy. Some items to include in an emergency roadside kit include an air compressor and battery charger cables.

16. Entertainment

As earlier mentioned, road trips can be full of fun depending on how well you plan for them. This is why you need to plan in advance to ensure that the road trip is as entertaining as it possibly can get. This means finding the best entertainment mediums to keep you awake through all the adventures and encounters. They say that music is food for the soul. How about downloading a playlist that keeps you entertained all the way? Songs that you and your kids can sing along to. Some radio stations may also be entertaining, but then again, if you have kids around, you want to ensure that the radio station is age-appropriate. To avoid second-guessing, carry your USB cable, USB storage devices ready and loaded with all your favorite music to last you through the road trip. You can also get a portable Bluetooth speaker in case the reliability of your vehicle’s music system is questionable.

Car Games

Playing games will eliminate any form of boredom throughout the trip. It will also help you bond with your family or friends while having so much fun. Research on creative games that everyone can participate in during the road trip.

17. Vital Documents

Depending on your destination, you want to ensure that you’ve packed all the necessary vital documents. Do not leave home without your Identification Card, car documents such as the certificate of insurance, pollution under control certificate (PUC), and driving license. Other documents that may come in handy include health insurance documents, credit cards, vaccination certificates, and passports. One thing you really don’t want to do is be out on the road without making sure you have all the proper documentation. Never leave without your license and registration, and it’s also important to take a copy of your insurance policy––hopefully, you won’t need it, but you should still have a copy for yourself in case you have an accident. Believe it or not, your car’s manual is something you should make sure is on you while going on a road trip. Just imagine being in the middle of your trip, and suddenly an indicator light starts flashing in the car. Instead of spending hours trying to figure out what the flash means, the manual will instantly help you.

Availing Car Insurance

Car insurance is one of the vital aspects you should have with you when going on a road trip. It is even required by the law that you have your car insurance with you when on the road. It is also important to have a comprehensive car insurance package. The comprehensive insurance plan will cover your vehicle and all passengers in your car from any accident that may occur in the course of your road trip. Availing car insurance will also provide you as the owner of the vehicle with so much confidence and peace of mind because your car will be subject to compensation in case of a natural disaster or theft.

18. Extra Car Keys

If you’ve ever been locked out of your own house then you know how important it is to bring an extra car key. When traveling with other people in your car, you may not want them to solely rely on your driving skills. Chances are that you may either overindulge or get weary and without notice. Having an extra car key could save your comrades a great deal of trouble waking you up! But if you’re carrying an extra set of keys, it’s imperative to notify one of the passengers on where to locate them. Otherwise, it’s going to be of no good carrying them when no one can find them.

19. Weather-appropriate preparations

When we talk about preparations for the weather, you most likely instantly think about clothes. Sure, you need to pack your coats, snow boots, and heavy socks if you expect to be camping out in harsh conditions, but that’s not all the things you need. Clothing aside, you need to get yourself snow shovels and ice scrapers, because these will definitely come in handy if you ever find your car stuck in the snow or something. Always double-check the forecast before you go, and make sure you have everything you might need to deal with whatever Mother Nature has to throw at you.

20. Accessories

There are a lot of things you could pack with you that would really make your road trip much smoother. Lusso Gear car accessories or other similar vendors carry items like car trash cans for those sweet wrappers and tissues, seat protectors, baby mirrors, car organizers, and a host of other products that would help protect you and your kids throughout the road trip, and more importantly make things a little less hectic with everything that’s happening inside the vehicle.

21. Personal belongings

A road trip is as fun as the things you bring along with you. Make sure you’ve packed that camera of yours so you could take photographs of breathtaking scenes you’ll come across. Want to listen to some music? Create a cool playlist and grab your Bluetooth speakers for some loud music in the woods. If your trip will take you anywhere near the beach, you might want to pack along a book or two, because nothing beats reading by the sea.


Road trips are essential in helping you disconnect from the busy city life and get to have new experiences. A family road trip has a ton of benefits, taking a road trip with your friends and family will present you with an excellent opportunity to interact and build on bonds. With the current pandemic, most people are bound to develop anxiety and heightened stress levels. Taking a road trip is one of the remedies for dealing with anxiety. While on a road trip, you may connect with nature which will also help improve your mood and leave you satisfied. There’s no question about it, road trips are a fun way to get everyone involved and to also have fun while at it.

However, if you don’t have the necessary essentials, it can be an expensive trip that doesn’t guarantee your safety and convenience. You also don’t want to go buying stuff by the roadsides. Thankfully, the above guide can help make your road trip a success and an experience you’ll live to tell by guiding you on what to pack for a family road trip.

Last Updated on March 24, 2022

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