Family road trips can be exciting, but they can also be daunting to plan. Knowing what are road trip essentials will help make the planning a lot easier.

The most important thing about your vacation is to have fun and make memories that will last the rest of your lives. If you plan your trip with memories in mind, you’ll do just that.

Why Take a Road Trip?

road trip map and windshield showing the road ahea

Road trips were a fundamental part of many of our childhoods. One of the best parts of going on vacation is the journey. On a road trip, the journey is the vacation.

The great thing about road trips is that you can choose when and where you stop. You’re not bound by a flight schedule. You don’t have to rush to get to the airport.

It also affords great quality bonding time. Unlike a flight with hundreds of other passengers, a road trip gives your family a chance to make memories together talking, singing, and laughing en route to your destination.

5 Road Trip Essentials rv on road trip kids running across an old, empty road

Road trips can give you and your family the best bang for your buck, both in terms of money and in terms of time. But they can also be stressful if you have a bunch of bored, uncomfortable people jammed into a car.

There are certain things you need to make sure you have and do before you set out on your road trip. These road trip essentials will make your trip a lot more enjoyable and stress-free.

1. Planning a route

The first essential is to plan your route. Make sure you know where you’re going and what your timeframe is.

Certain roads in America have become famous routes to take, and for good reason. Freeways like Route 66 or the Pacific Coast Highway are great, easy trips because the sites are already laid out along the way for you.

If you want to forge your own path, though, you absolutely can. It just requires a bit more forethought. Pick the spots you want to hit, and then plan your route around them.

This way, you can make sure that you actually get to all the places you want to go.

2. Snacks and entertainment

rv road trips mean snacks like roasted marshmallows over a fire

It might seem obvious, but you’re going to need food. And you’re going to need a lot of it.

Stopping by a restaurant every time you get peckish will end up costing you a fortune. Of course, you’ll need to stop for meals, but having snacks and drinks in the car with you will help you save a ton of money.

Pack your cooler with everyone’s favorite sodas, fruit juices, and water bottles. Also make sure you have healthy snacks like nuts and string cheese, as these will help keep everyone full.

You’re also going to want to bring entertainment options. These will differ, depending on your kids’ ages and interests, but make sure there is something to keep them engaged during the boring parts of the trip.

3. Pillows and blankets

In addition to entertainment options, your kids will eventually want sleeping options. You could, of course, bring full-sized pillows and blankets from home, but these are bulky and can limit the amount of space available for luggage. (In your RV, you’ll want to split out “day blankets” from the bedding used at night to keep that bedding clean and beds made.)

The easier option is a travel set, like the one in the link. It fits into smaller spaces which allows more room for your bags and your entertainment activities.

4. First aid

The Universe willing, everything will go smoothly and according to plan, and your road trip will be the best vacation your family has ever been on.

But sometimes things don’t go as planned. Accidents happen, and it’s important to be prepared. Make sure you have a first aid kit in your car.

This is actually good advice for your everyday life, but it’s especially important if you’re on a road trip and may end up in the middle of nowhere.

5. Driving/car necessities

And then there are certain necessities to make life more comfortable or safer. For example, a roadside assistance kit with jumper cables is something you should always have in your car. The last thing you want is to break down in the middle of the Mojave Desert with no reception and no way to get your vehicle moving again.

If you or your kids will be sleeping on the way, you’ll want a sunshade. These will block sunlight and UV light so you can sleep without the sun keeping you awake.

Are you taking Fido along? Dog seat belts help keep your furry family members safe on the road. An unbuckled pet can be a danger to themselves and other passengers, too, if an accident occurs.

Let’s Hit the Road!

Now that you have the essentials taken care of, it’s time to hit the road. Whichever road you take, you’re bound to have a good time creating happy memories with your family as long as you stick to these road trip essentials.

Happy trails!

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