When traveling by car with kids, packing can be a real pain. It’s hard to determine everything that’s needed. Over-packing, or even worse, under-packing, is due to common mistakes that can easily be averted. If something occurs on the road and one isn’t prepared, major consequences can occur. Also, keeping your passengers comfortable, well fed, and entertained can make or break an entire car ride. The more enjoyable traveling is for everyone else, the more enjoyable it is for you. This is why we’re going over some packing tips that will make your road trip as stress-free as it can be.
1. Always Be Prepared for all Car Related Emergencies
When going on a long road trip with kids, one might try to remember everything they need. They remember everything they might in case something were to come up with themselves or their children, but what if something happened to the car? Flat tires, running out of gas, dead battery, the possibility of things that can go wrong with vehicles is endless. As it is recommended by RimsNdTires, when going on a long road trip, always make sure to have the essentials:
· Jumper cables are a lifesaver, literally, when a car’s battery goes dead out in the middle of nowhere.
· It’s also a good idea to have a gas can just in case one finds themselves out of gas in an area with no gas stations.
2. Be Prepared for any Health Issues
Being prepared for any health issues or injuries that could occur while on the road will make traveling with children significantly easier. A first aid kit will greatly come in handy should any small injuries occur. Over-the-counter allergy medication will help if anyone has a sudden case of the sniffles. Sunscreen is especially important, even from inside a vehicle. Sun rays can be extremely damaging, especially for children, so be sure to be equipped with sunscreen at all times. If anyone traveling with the family has any special health needs, be sure to have everything you need for that as well.
3. Be Prepared for “Accidents”
This is especially true for those traveling with children under the age of five, even potty-trained ones. Bladders are small, sometimes accidents happen. Packing extra diapers and pull-ups will ensure all of the children have a backup just in case they have an accident. Bringing a change of clothes for everyone will protect everyone if someone has an accident on themselves, or if someone vomits from motion sickness.
4. Don’t Forget to Pack Comfort Items
If everyone traveling in the car is comfortable, the atmosphere is much more enjoyable. Pillows are important in case anyone decides to take a nap. Blankets add extra comfort and help if the family has trouble deciding on air conditioning settings. Window shades in the back help block children from sunlight and are especially helpful for parents trying to keep sleeping babies asleep.
5. Entertainment Takes Away a Parent’s Headache
Out of everything included on this list, I can say from firsthand experience this is the most important tip. A bored kid is a loud, grumpy kid. Music that the entire family can enjoy is a great form of entertainment. Portable DVD players (and headphones) can be used as entertainment for hours. Bringing movies that the kids have never seen before will really grasp their attention for long periods of time.
Tablets with some games pre-downloaded onto them also provide great entertainment. It really boils down to each child when determining what forms of entertainment are best for your family, however, believe me that any entertainment is better than no entertainment.
6. Be Prepared for Messes
Kids are messy, this is a known fact since the beginning of time. When kids are inside a car for long periods of time, they’re even messier. Prepare for this. Having garbage bags readily available inside the car will (hopefully) prevent trash from being thrown on the floor. Having basic cleaning supplies available such as paper towels are good to have incase any messes are made.
7. Bottled Water is a Necessity
On long road trips, everyone is bound to get thirsty at some point. Unless you plan to stop every time someone says that they’re thirsty, it’s best to bring bottled water on the road trip. A case or so will ensure everyone can get their hydration when they need it.
8. Bring Well-Planned out Snacks
Having snacks on board not only limit stops but also can be used as a form of entertainment for the children. The best snacks for traveling on the road are ready to eat, solid, and hard to make a mess out of. Sugary snacks should be avoided as they will rile kids up. Think about snacks like crackers when deciding what snacks to bring when traveling.
9. Pack Everything You Need, but Don’t Overpack
After going through this list and considering your family’s individual needs, it’s helpful to plan to pack exactly what you need. Consider how much space you have in your vehicle when planning this. If you determine something isn’t a necessity, it’s best to not pack it. Running out of space on the road is one of the biggest inconveniences that can happen. Overpacking is easy, but planning out precisely what you need before hand can really help prevent that.
When traveling in a car for a long time with kids, it’s important to keep your sanity. Efficient planning is what really makes the difference between an 8-hour long road trip and an 8-hour long headache. Making sure everyone inside the vehicle is comfortable, fed, and entertained is the easiest way to make sure no conflicts between each other occur on the road.
Having a plan for emergencies both involving the vehicle and everyone’s health removes the stress of a “what if” situation. Traveling by car can be simple, and even enjoyable, as long as your car is equipped with suitable travel tires, good battery, have a full gas tank and you are prepared for all that could occur.