Family Road Trip Essentials

Family Road Trip Essentials
Family road trips make for lasting memories!

Road trips are often exciting because of the thrill of spontaneity and finding unexpected yet memorable sites along the way. However, for us to enjoy ourselves, we have to always consider our family road trip essentials.

Of the many places we’ve been over the past months, one recent example that sticks out is our exploration through White Sand Dunes National Park in New Mexico.

Peri at White Sand Dunes National Park in New Mexico on our Family Road Trip Essentials
Peri at White Sand Dunes National Park in New Mexico

While this particular one was quite anticipated, it was certainly memorable.

However, one site that we didn’t expect to find, but that has left us with lasting memories is Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, also in New Mexico.

Julia, Peri, and Kai hiking at Oliver Lee Memorial State Park in New Mexico
Julia, Peri, and Kai hiking at Oliver Lee Memorial State Park in New Mexico

The point is we LOVE road tripping, but we highly recommend you consider the following four family road trip essentials before setting out. We do, and it helps us keep moving down the road and the kids’ car sickness, toilet breaks, and whining to a minimum.

Family Road Trip Essentials #1: Bring Some Toys and Games

Keeping Peri and Kai entertained while we’re traveling is essential. We do so by having them play some games.

We usually play a bit of I-Spy, and increasingly with Peri, we can play the License Plate Game. He’s learning the alphabet more and more each day!

Old school games like 20 Questions are starting to work on Peri, but Kai isn’t yet talking, so he’s out of luck.

For Kai, we try to give him books, trucks, and other toys he can play with while he’s in his seat.

We also do our best to keep a few toys “hidden.” We then take them out mid-drive, and the surprise keeps Peri and Kai happy for a little while longer.

Something Peri has been doing recently is riding his balance bike in parking lots – a far cry from the best 24 BMX cruiser. Of course, we closely supervised him to keep him safe. Kai tags along on his scooter, though admittedly, we’re fully pushing Kai on it. Soon, he’ll be scooting on his own!

Road Trip Essential #2: Make a Road Trip Playlist

While gazing out the window at the scenery or just having conversations with the kids are some ways to pass the time, you can’t go wrong listening to music.

Peri listens to the Moana and Frozen soundtracks on repeat (though it drives us a bit nuts), and Kai can’t yet tell us what he wants to hear.

We often use Spotify, but we have also considered making a playlist on our phones for the times when we don’t have service.

We’ve even tried a bit of karaoke, but Julia and I are the only ones that end up singing. It’s great for us though!

We’ve also been looking for some kid-friendly podcasts, but we’ve yet to find any that are suitable for Peri (who is 2.5 years old at the time of writing.) If you have any suggestions, leave us a comment below.

Family Road Trip Essentials #3: Carry Some Snacks

We normally pack healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, and even a few sweet treats when the going gets tough.

Our go-to items include hard-boiled eggs, cheese, summer sausage, crackers, carrot sticks, apples, and raisins.

We try to “ration” them throughout the ride, but Peri often wants a snack right away.

If we plan to do a more extensive break along our drive, and if we’d like a bit of warm food, we’ll keep a portable stove handy. Ones that take canisters are the easiest for a quick warm snack.

A spillproof customized insulated tumbler, is also a nice addition, as it’s never fun to have to try and clean spilled liquids out of our truck.

Of course, road trips are ideal for exploring local cuisines.

We’d say another family road trip essential is finding eateries other than the main chains which are both more interesting to us and also help support the local economy.

Family Road Trip Essentials #4: Be Safer Than Be Sorry

Given how the pandemic is still going on, we are well aware of the importance of keeping safe.

We regularly sanitize our hands and we wear masks in public.

We also try out best to keep a safe distance from others.

Campgrounds are perfect for this end!

Aside from being cautious about the pandemic, it is also essential to be prepared for unexpected situations, and having the right emergency tools can make all the difference.

One thing that we need in case of car lockouts is a handy slim jim tool. This long, slender piece of metal can be used to unlock car doors without a key, which can be a lifesaver if you accidentally lock yourself out of your vehicle.

Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, so make sure you have the proper emergency tools and know how to use them before embarking on your family road trip.

Family Road Trip Essentials Make A Big Difference

There is no entirely and singular foolproof way to enjoy a family road trip, but these are our bottom line family road trip essentials.

If you have any suggestions about how to make family road trips smoother, leave us a comment below. And in the meantime, happy exploring!

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