When you pack for a road trip and know that you, your husband, and kiddos will all be stuffed into the car for hours on end, the possibility is that there will be squabbles and unhappy campers!!
Road trips can be a fun time to bond with your family. Especially if you take the time to pray for your children as you pack your car before the trip begins.
So if you are venturing out on the road this summer (or any time of year) you might want to make it an adventure and the best ever trip in history!!
You may have already read about the 6 ways for a summer road trip to be grace-filled but you may want to be sure it really IS grace-filled.
I remember a year when we had to pull over because our 8-year-old child was having a major melt-down. Looking back, maybe I could have been more prepared with fun things to help my children stay content and happy while we were driving to our camping destination.
Hindsight is always best!
10 Essentials to Pack for a Road Trip
Space in your car for each person is essential but it is easy to have so many things to pack that your children and the person riding next to the driver are left with hardly enough space for their feet or bodies.
Ask me how I know!
Here are some ideas if you don’t have a 15-passenger van as we did for a few years.
There was a time that we packed the smaller-sized car with 2 adults and four young kids including baby paraphernalia!
1. The Kind of Bag Makes ALL the Difference!
Pack with bags and backpacks and it will make life so much easier on your trip. If each child has their very own small backpack, it can be filled with fun essentials for your trip and hopefully destress mom!
- Small backpacks for your kids to pack essentials!
- Back seat organizers are just the thing!
- Duffel bags pack things tight in a car because the edges are rounded!
2. Pack for Emergencies on a Road Trip!
Are you prepared for emergencies? Hopefully, you won’t have one but it is always better to be prepared.
- First Aid Kit is essential when little things happen!
- Roadside Emergency Kits make things go smoother!
For years we have used duffel bags for packing clothing and other essentials for a road trip because you can load so much more into the car. The harder edges of a suitcase work great to protect your belongings when you fly but they just don’t work when you’re driving!
3. Travel Snacks Fill Little People with Grace!
Have you ever been in a car on a long trip with a screaming or fussing baby? I have!
A healthy snack for fussy toddlers, in-betweens, tweens, teens or a cranky hubby can help everyone to be happier and less bored.
I would often make chocolate chip cookies for a trip. I baked them in that moment of forgetfulness that it would make all my kiddos hyper or cranky because of the sugar. Bahaha!
So here are some healthy and not-so-healthy snack ideas that have worked for me. Maybe I will get some of these for our next road trip!
Some of my kids ate rice cakes and I made chocolate chip cookies with rice and oat flour before non-gluten was a word!
4. Kids Games for the Car!
Your car is stacked to the gills with bags, your kids’ tummies are filled with snacks, and everyone is happy for now.
We used to have a wonderful book that was great for when we needed to play some extra fun games with our kids.
Nothing keeps little or older minds off the long hours of close quarters in the car like passing the time with a fun game!
Whatever you do, do NOT take Slime Putty in the car for your kids to play with! It will be impossible to get out of their clothes or off the seats!
5. CD’s to Keep Your Kiddos Happy and Grace-Filled
Like I said in 6 ways for a summer trip to be grace-filled, watching videos on a trip might keep your gang happy while zoned into a tiny screen but there are better things for them to be doing with their young minds.
We live in a culture that relies on digital everything to occupy children rather than thinking out-of-the-box about what would be best for their growing minds.
Keeping your kids’ minds active while their eyes are roaming the scenery will give them the best education whether you homeschooled like we did or your children ‘go’ to school.
We opted for CD’s (you can do digital on i-tunes or whatever) but you get the point.
If the only CD you buy is The Pilgrim’s Progress audio drama, you will be in for a treat for hours of driving. We played this CD over and over for our kids on long road trips.
We aren’t into the kid’s songs that bop and leave your kids agitated and cranky. I’ll leave music for you to choose since it is such an individual thing!
6. Kindle Books for a Long Road Trip
It takes up a lot of space to pack a lot of books that might never get read on a trip. Whatever did we do before Kindle books could be stored on tablets?!
I used to read aloud to my kids on a trip, or if your children are old enough, they can read the book themselves.
Just be careful if the device is able to access the internet. This should always be a concern, but more and people have forgotten to be careful!
7. Portable Phone Charger and Cords Essentials!
Have you ever had your phone die because you forgot your charging cord? Your phone is something to consider when you pack although it is something you are likely NOT to forget!
8. Cooler for Picnics at Rest Stops
You will save so much money if you bring your own sandwiches and snacks. Stopping at McDonald’s is not even healthy and the expense adds up for a family!
9. Real Maps and GPS
Have you ever relied on your GPS only for it to hit a snag and leave you stranded? We had that happen recently when we were driving around the Chicago area. That just was the worst place for it to have connectivity problems!
That being said, make sure to pack a real map of the area that you’ll be traveling through. Besides, it is a wonderful education for your kids to direct you from the backseat using a bonified paper map.
10. Don’t Forget Your Kids!!
Have you ever been on a trip and stopped at a museum and lost one of your kids? We did! He was 12 and wandered off looking at antique cars!
When you are on your adventurous road trip, don’t forget to get involved with your kids and learn how to give them grace. They need it!
We can get caught up in the moment and swallowed by the urgent and forget to RELAX over the situation.
What I know now, is what I always heard. Parenting your kids is a fleeting thing that only lasts a moment.
Before you blink your eyes they are grown and gone!
The things you thought were most important in the moment are maybe not things that matter in eternity.
Your children have a free will and when they grow up, they choose whether they will follow your Lord and Savior or NOT!
You have the greatest influence on your children while they are growing up in your home.
Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
Make these moments count for eternity and you will have done your job well no matter what choices they make.
Will these things help you when you pack for a road trip? Whether you shop online or at Walmart, you can make your list and get ideas from what I shared.