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What Essentials Will You Need For Your Next Family Roadtrip

Road Trip Essentials

Do you love going on a roadtrip with the family? Do you love planning all the essential items you need to take on a roadtrip, to make everyone happy? Are you afraid of forgetting to pack essential items for the roadtrip? It could be overwhelming. But don’t fret. I’m sure I can help you out in that department.

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Roadtrips are a wonderful time for the family to be together and have fun. It’s a time to really bond as a family. It’s a time to forget about all your worries and troubles and just enjoy each other’s company.

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I always loved going on road trips as a child, with my family.  Whether it was a short trip to the beach or an hour away to see friends or all the way to Chicago to visit family, it was always an exciting adventure for me and my brothers. Back in the day, that’s how we did most of our traveling. . . by car.

My favorite road trip, of course, was our 13-hour trip to Chicago.  My brothers and I in the back of our Ford Station Wagon and our parents waaaay in the front, taking turns driving.  We would leave early in the morning. Our parents plopped us in the back and we would continue sleeping. My favorite line would be: “Are we there yet?” 🙂 . . . As we were barely out of the city. I know . . .cheesy right? I was excited. What can I say?

We made many stops along the way. There are so many beautiful little gems of picnic areas that we would stop at to stretch our legs and have something to eat.  My mom was a pro at knowing what to take on our road trips.  She packed a cooler full of fruits and juices, cold cuts, a loaf of bread, condiments, Mostly healthy stuff. Nowadays our main go-to snacks chocolate-covered pretzels or yogurt-covered almonds, potato chips, etc. 🙂

As we got older, we continued these road trips. This time we all took turns driving. That was even more exciting. I loved driving (still do). I loved driving on long trips. We made the same stops (I mean the exact same spots) and reminisced about the time we spent there in the past. It was still as beautiful as ever. The large trees and an endless amount of grass area and picnic tables.

We even took a road trip when we were in Florida. We flew to Daytona Beach and half-way through our trip we rented a van and drove to Disney World. Now that I look back, my parents loved roadtrips. 🙂

Just before I met my husband, I went on the most memorable trip to California with a group of great girlfriends. I wrote a post about that trip that you can find here. While on that trip, we rented a car in San Fransisco and drove along the Pacific Coast Highway. OMG . . . was that the roadtrip of a lifetime. I hope to replicate that trip someday soon.

Venice, Italy

When we went to Croatia for the first time (for my brothers and I) in 1975, we took a roadtrip to Venice. WOW! That was an amazing road trip and far. Part of it wasn’t the greatest. I wasn’t feeling too good. Probably car sick. That’s another item you need to put on your list – motion sickness meds.

If you suffer from motion sickness there may be a few things you could try to help you prevent it from being severe. Something to keep you a lot more calm and relaxed. Here are a few things you could try before taking any medication:

Preventing Motion Sickness Tips:

  1. Always sit in a position where your eyes are always seeing the same motion that your body and inner ear feel
  2. Do not read in a car
  3. In a car, sit in the front seat and look out the front and set your sights in the distance
  4. On a ship, move towards the front and look out into the distance
  5. On a plane, look out the window and/or sit by the wing where there is less motion to feel
  6. Do not look at or talk to someone who is experiencing motion sickness
  7. Avoid spicy or greasy foods before and after your trip
  8. Close your eyes, relax and enjoy the ride

That’s why I don’t remember too much about the trip. Thank God for the photos that were taken. It helps me remember a little. Remember to take lots and lots of photos on your road trips. Living in the digital era is sooooo much easier . . . regarding photos. I will teach you all about that in a future post: how to organize all your photos.

Now flash forward some 30 – 40 years (yikes!!! – has it really been that long ago?) When our daughter was 2 years old and son 6 years old, we also took them on a road trip to Chicago to visit family.  We thought it was going to be dicey to take a two-year-old on a 13-hour road trip.  But it was fine.  No problems what-so-ever. 

Oh . . . I left one thing out.  Our van has a movie screen built-in.  Thank goodness for technology these days.  A lot of things sure did change from when we were younger. Now that I think about it. What kept us entertained when we were kids going on road trips? Oh, I know. It was my one-liners: “Are we there yet?” LOL!!

Explore Europe and Americas

My husband and I have been on the same path in raising our kids from the get-go. We vowed to always spend time with the kids, do things together, play in the park with them, go see their soccer games and always, always travel together. It is getting harder though, now that they are older (20 and 16). But, we just got back from a European trip we took together, where there was a road trip in between. (I will share that in an upcoming post. So stay tuned!)

As I have said in previous posts, I learned a lot from my mother.  The one thing I learned was how to organize things, make lists and plan ahead.  You should make a list of the essentials you will need on your particular road trip. You don’t want to wait until it’s time to pack up the vehicle and wonder: “What do I need to take?”

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    I have made a list of the things that I think we need on the road trips I take with my family.  And I want to share it with you. And I will leave a lot of space for you to fill in things that are essential for your family road trips.


    First Aid Kit
    Ice Pack

    Bread Knife

    Plastic Picnic Plates
    Plastic Cutlery
    Wet Ones Wipes

    Road Map
    Cell Phone Charger
    Neck Pillow
    Travel Pillow
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    Other Roadtrip Essentials:

    1. Passport – if you are crossing the border to the U.S. you will def need one
    2. Motion Sickness Medication – check with your doctor what the best one for you is.
    3. Camera – never forget your camera
    4. Camera cards – I know everyone has their phones but do you really want to fill up your phone with countless photos and if something happens to your phone all your photos are gone!! My worst fear.

    Extra Cooler Items:

    1. Formula or milk – for your little ones
    2. Juices – or pop (for older kids)
    3. Water Bottles – probably the best beverage
    4. Sandwiches – or bring a loaf of bread and some cold cuts and make the sandwich at your picnic stop
    5. Fruit – we had grapes and took them off the vines and into a Tupperware for easier access for the kids when they were young.
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    The main point I want to drive along to you in this post is to do more with your family. Create some bonding time. Make more time for family-time. Once the kids are older like mine, it gets harder and harder to do things together. The young adults want to go off with their friends more. They also have a part-time job now.

    Yes, it makes me sad. But that’s life. I’m pretty sure we all did it. My family time with my parents and brothers were so special to me. And that is why I created the same family unit of my own.

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