Heading out on a road trip but need a packing list? Our family has done quite a few this summer, as it seems to be the vacation of choice for many families.
Whether you are heading out for a short weekend jaunt or a longer road trip vacation, here is our tried and true list of things to bring on a road trip!
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Why Road Trips For Vacation
Our family loves road trips because it is such a great way to see everything you miss when you fly from one point to another. Though they can be long, and tedious, they are often a lot of fun. With the right road trip activities, your kids can be kept engaged enough to pass the time.
Road Trips Are About The Journey
Many years ago, before kids, my husband and I did a road trip in Ireland. We flew into Shannon and spent a week driving across to Dublin, stopping in a new bed and breakfast each night. This was before the internet, so we would call places each night to check on availability.
But what made it so fun is that we often saw things we didn't expect to see, giving us opportunities for unexpected stops. In fact, some times, we would plan to see a town but didn't care for it much. Moving on to the next town that wasn't on the plan was sometimes more exciting than the one we planned.
Road Trips Can Immerse You In A Location
Because you are spending hours driving through somewhere, you really see a lot of a location. During our Ireland road trip, we also listened to Irish radio. Listening to popular music in the country (or state or region) and local news can teach you a lot about what is going on in that location.
Road Trips Can Inspire Unexpected Adventures
Sometimes on road trips, we will find an unusual roadside store, attraction, or a view that we want to see. Unexpected adventures are often some of the things my kids remember most about a road trip.
One of the reasons I love the Road Tripper app is because this handy helper not only provides directions, places to stay, and places to eat. But it will alert you to unique attractions and things to see along the way.
Road Trip Packing List
Now that you are ready to plan your road trip, let's get you packed! While generally speaking, packing for your trip will be dependent on where you go, there are some extra things you will need for a successful road trip. Here are our recommendations for a complete packing list for your next road trip.
Essentials For A Road Trip: The Car
Roadside Assistance or AAA card
Rental Agreement (if applicable)
Car Essentials (spare tire, jumping cables, scrapers, tire pressure guage)
If you are planning to change hotels or locations often during your road trip, here's a tip we did on our road trip in Ireland.
Pack individual outfits in freezer bags (I love theIKEA ones because they are extra large) inside your suitcase, including top, bottoms, underwear, and socks, and have a portable duffle bag. This way, rather than bringing in your whole suitcase in each night, you just grab your outfit pack, toiletries, and pajamas and put them in the duffle minimizing how much you have to bring into your accommodations each night! The ziplock also makes a great bag for dirty laundry to bring back to your suitcase.
I recommend giving kids their own backpack/road trip kids complete with their activity pack, sketchbook/pencils, clipboard, headphones, books, electronic for Audible, water bottle, and snack bag. This way kids can be completely independent during the road trip. It is like a carry-on for kids, but for the car!
Essentials For A Road Trip: Money and Travel Documents
Traveler's Checks (if applicable)
Coins for the car for tolls/laundry
Contact Information For House/Petsitters
Travel Itinerary (Flight Details, Hotel/Accommodation Details, Tour Information and Contacts)
Essentials For a Road Trip: Health and Safety
Health Insurance Cards
Traveler's Insurance Information
First Aid Kit For the Car
Essential Medicines and Prescriptions
Motion Sickness Medicines
Pain Relievers for Adults and Kids and Dispenser
Upset Stomach Medication
PPE Cleaning Pack
Sanitizer For Car
Final Thought About Road Trip Packing List
Packing for a road trip can feel overwhelming, but this handy road trip packing list will help you plan. While each road trip is different, planning ahead for road trip essentials and packing efficiently will make your family road trip vacation go much smoother. Use this road trip packing list to make your packing easier, so you can keep your eyes on the road making lasting memories with your family.