What better way to create memories with your kids than a family road trip? There’s something special about spending days together enjoying the landscape and eating snacks out of the cooler lunchbox in the car. Your kids will give the memory for the rest of their lives!
Before hitting the road, it’s crucial to have a plan, especially if you have little ones. Packing is extremely important to ensure you have everything you need from emergency supplies to fun games to keep the kids occupied. So, let’s go over how to plan a road trip and what you should pack in your insulated cooler!
How to Plan a Road Trip
It’s important to remember that planning a family road trip is going to take time and patience. Depending on how old your kids are, different planning strategies may be needed. For example, if you have very young ones, you’ll need to plan accordingly for more stops and potential tantrums. We’re going to break it into steps to help you ensure you’re ready to pack the little ones up and hit the road with confidence.
- Plan the Dates
To start, when planning a road trip you’ll need to know when you’re leaving, of course. When you’re traveling with the kids, you’re planning around school schedules. A good rule of thumb is to have dates, but remember to be flexible. If you can swing it, road trips mid week or during the off season will mean less traffic and crowds at your destination.
- Choose a Route
In the age of technology, we heavily rely on GPS for road trips. Even though this is typically a solid tool, before you leave you should have a specific route in mind. For example, picking a route will let you map out fun pit stops for tourist attractions and resting.
- Get Your Car Inspected
Before you leave, ALWAYS head over to the shop for a car inspection. The last thing you want to happen is costly repairs on the road. Not to mention breaking down in a desolate area can be unsafe and stressful. So, make sure everything is in tip top shape!
- Be Realistic
It’s important to remember to be realistic on a family road trip. For instance, if you have little kids in the backseat, you aren’t going to be driving 12 hours straight. The journey is part of the run, right? Take your time, make stops to get out and stretch, and have fun!
- Book Resting Places (Hotels, AirBnB, Attractions) ASAP
For long haul road trips that require overnight stays, be sure to book lodging in advance. It’s never desirable to end up sleeping in the car with the whole family because there were no rooms available. This is another reason having your route planned out ahead of time is crucial.
- Prep Your House
Along with your car being prepped and packed, making sure the house is in order will make your life easier. Give everything a good cleaning, and stock the pantry with snacks and a few items so when you get back you’re not looking at an empty kitchen. Throw out any perishables so you’re not coming home to funky smells and a bunch of spoiled food.
Road Trip Packing List
Now that you’ve planned your road trip, it’s time to start packing! Follow our list to ensure you have everything you need for the kids, as well as yourselves.
1. Emergency Kit
You never know what can happen on the road. Your road trip emergency kit should include the essentials like bandaids, as well as items you wouldn’t normally carry, such as:
- Toilet paper
- Water Bottles
- Spare Clothes
- Motion sickness supplies
2. Snacks, Snacks, Snacks
No road trip is complete without snacks! A fun way to pack road trip snacks is to give everyone their own snack container to fill with what they like. This will save you fast food stops, and give your kids healthier options to choose from! Make sure to have a mix of room temperature as well as cold snacks to keep everyone full and happy.
3. Insulated Cooler
What better way to store cool snacks than in an insulated cooler? We suggest a soft cooler for road trips because they can take up less room. Coolers are a fabulous addition to any road trip to store snacks and drinks instead of relying on gas station stops. Everfun’s Dual Compartment Soft Cooler is the perfect option to store cold snacks and drinks for a long road trip with the family!
4. Car Games and Other Activities
Kids will get bored easily in the car without entertainment. While tablets and DVD players are great ways to keep kids occupied with screens, you can also get creative. Try packing craft supplies and card games to keep little hands busy while stuck in car seats.
Play ‘I Spy’ games looking out the windows, or get an audio book the whole family can enjoy. Being stuck together in the car on a family road trip is a great way to bond over new interests and games.
If you do bring along tablets and other screens, limiting screen time is a good idea. Staring at screens for too long can cause headaches, which can be a problem on a long road trip.
5. Don’t Forget About the Parents
When you’re packing, don’t forget about yourself! Packing essentials for the parents is equally as important. Make sure to bring grown up snacks and entertainment too! Crossword puzzles, books and a sleep mask for naps are great additions to any road trip.
The bottom line is that road trips are a family staple that creates great memories. It’s important to be prepared for anything before you leave, and have entertainment for everyone. Make reservations ahead of time, and get your car inspected. Be sure to have proper storage for snacks such as an insulated cooler, and remember to have fun! Happy traveling!