It’s summer and the season for family vacations! Many people opt for a road trip – whether as a way to reach their destination, or as the vacation itself. An impromptu road trip may sound like fun, but it’s always better to prepare. Here are ten packing tips that will ensure you arrive ready to explore.
1. Create a comfy backseat space.
Line the backseat with a fitted sheet. Pack a pillow and a blanket for each kid. A comfy road traveler equals a traveler more likely to take an in-car nap. Bring an extra fitted sheet to swap out just in case.
2. Check the weather before you go.
Weather conditions can never be counted upon, so check your destination’s forecast before you hit the road and pack accordingly.
3. Less is more so keep it simple.
Pack one outfit a day for each person in your family. For the kids, pack the entire outfit, including socks and undies, in a large food storage bag.
4. There’s an app for that.
Packing Pro is a great app for packers that always seem to leave a few important things behind. This handy app will help you create a master family packing list; you can also sort your list by each member. Select your destination type, i.e. “camping”, and you’ll be reminded of everything you need to pack for a fab family vacation.
5. Prep a laundry bag for dirty clothes.
Add a scoop of detergent to a sturdy garbage bag or two so you can load up dirty laundry on the road and have it ready to throw into a washing machine upon your return.
6. Pick strategic toys.
Let your kid pack a small bag of mom-approved toys to play with in the car. Limit kid toy picks to one small bag to reduce backseat clutter.
7. Pack a bag of tricks.
Avoid the “Are we there yet?”s by packing a bag of keep-busy tricks. A deck of cards, a small box of LEGOs, and old-fashioned travel bingo cards are always a good pick. Pack crayons and a notebook for each kid and encourage them to keep a travel diary, noting and drawing interesting things they see along the way.
8. Make copies.
Make copies of your driver license, insurance card and credit cards and store in the glove compartment of your car and in a suitcase. Email or text a copy of each to yourself. You’ll want to be prepared in case the originals are stolen, lost, or misplaced.
9. Keep a first aid kit in your trunk.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so pack a first aid kid that includes all the basics you’ll need in case of an emergency: sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes and butterfly bandages; sterile gauze pads, roller bandages, adhesive tape and a roll of absorbent cotton for sprains and serious cuts; cotton swabs, antibiotic ointment, anti-itch lotion or cream for insect bites, thermometer, chemical ice packs, fever reducer (acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen); decongestant and cough medicine; stomach remedies (to treat indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation or upset stomach).
10. Keep it healthy.
Pack your own protein-rich snacks. Bag them in small Ziploc bags that you can dole out at intervals. Avoid sugary snacks that can lead to sugar highs (not fun to deal with when trapped in a car for many hours at a time). Some snacks that work well for long car trips include unsalted pretzel sticks dipped in a single-serving of peanut butter, cheese sticks, and trail mix made up of a few raisins and a sugarless cereal. Save the environment and some cash by packing your own refillable water bottles.