Whether your summer travels include a PCS or a long-awaited trip to the beach or to visit family you haven’t seen in months, taking proper planning measures can make all the difference. No matter the type of trip, for most people space inside the vehicle is at a premium. Thankfully, you don’t need a lot of room to take along these essential road trip must-haves.
For the Vehicle:
Many cars these days come equipped with small first aid kids. If your car doesn’t, consider buying one or make your own. Sanitation supplies are also very handy when traveling. Items like a small plastic bag to collect trash, wet wipes for sticky hands or a small gasoline spill, and hand sanitizer for when you’re outside the car are helpful.
Be sure to bring along everyone’s favorite snack and water. Disposable water bottles are great, but consider bringing along a reusable water bottle to have once you arrive at your destination. Load up your smartphone. These days there are plenty of apps that will help you along your journey.
There are apps for finding rest stops, making a trip bucket list and finding a succinct route from point A to B, and for finding the best gas prices. There are also apps for finding your favorite food chains and must-have coffee stops.
For the Grown-ups:
Sure, the adults in tow are generally in charge of the navigation and driving, but a road trip is a perfect opportunity to get caught up on all of your media! Download a few of your favorite audiobooks, update your podcast queue, or even consider creating a music playlist for when you want to jam out to some tunes.
Some of your listening selections may be family-friendly, but in case you’d like some audio privacy, don’t forget your earphones. Speaking of personal accessories, be sure your sunglasses are in a prominent place for when the sun hits your eyes. Don’t get so destination-focused that you overlook opportunities to see some sights along the way. Bring along any identification you may need to gain access to parks or programs such as Waves of Honor or the free National Parks Pass for service families.
For the Kids:
“Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” If you don’t want to hear that question on repeat, be sure to carefully pack for the children who will be traveling with you. For long trips, busy bags are a great idea. A quick search online can offer age-appropriate suggestions for simple items that may entertain for hours. Several classic games make travel versions with smaller pieces and boards.
If you have the space, bring along your kids’ favorite lovey, a small blanket, or pillow. If you’re lucky, the hum of the highway just might lull your little ones to sleep for part of the trip. If your child has access to a tablet or device with a screen, be sure to load them up with educational apps, music, videos, or shows they enjoy–and don’t forget their headphones! And if you happen to have any four-legged and furry kids, be sure to remember them too. Water bowls, leashes, potty bags, and a favorite toy are must-haves.
If you have a trip planned this summer, don’t forget that getting to where you’re going can be half the fun of the destination itself. The time in the car doesn’t have to be an exercise in solitude and silence. Sure, there’s a time for each person plugging into the device of choice, but don’t forget the great sing-alongs and family discussions that can happen in the confined space of road-tripping!