Family Road Trip Essentials


family road trip

We’ve heard it all on our road trips. Our family of 6 has taken many road trips to see family that lives 10+ hours away. Each trip I feel as though our road tripping skills are honed more and more.

“Are we there yet?”

“I have to go to the bathroom!”

“Can I have a snack?”

“When will we get there?”

And of course the dreaded, “I’m bored.”

Here are our family road trip essentials:


We usually have a few snacks we wouldn’t normally have — more treat-like snacks. But we’ve definitely noticed that banking mostly on nutritious food helps us feel better during the trip and when we arrive at our destination. Our favorite road trip nutritious snacks are pre-made guacamole with cut up carrots, peppers and cucumber. Here’s are some other great ideas for nutritious snacks.

The Road Trip Bag

We have a canvas bag filled with activities we only pull out on road trips. It keeps it fresh and fun when the road trip happens. In the road trip bag, we have travel games, puzzle books, notebooks, a DIY travel Lego case, and clipboards. We also keep crayons and pencils in there to make it easy when packing time comes.   When the kids were younger, we would take small metal baking trays and magnet toys or letters.

Your local library

We love our local library. Before a road trip, we often stock up on audiobooks and a few DVD’s to take on our trip. Although we don’t do it often, we have rented a Red Box video along the way and then can return them at a kiosk down the road.

Car Games and Activities

This is a simple and great way to pass the time. Here is a great car game ideas list to get you started.  We’ve found the kids often love the no-fuss games we learned on long car trips when we were kids, like the Alphabet Game and I Spy. You can also take advantage of rest areas. Many rest areas with visitor centers have coloring pages or maps for the kids and are often loaded with brochures for attractions throughout the state that could make for interesting and educational reading for the road. Maybe you’ll even discover a new place you want to visit.

Stop, stretch and play

Many families, especially with young kids, choose to drive through the night or at least for a portion of the night to let the kids sleep during a bulk of the driving hours. We have four kids that don’t sleep in the car and two parents who aren’t drive through the night kind of people.  While I’m a “get in the car and drive until I get there” kind of gal, that’s obviously not ideal with kids. We’ve learned to take some extended stops, and because we often travel the same route to visit family, we have learned where the good stops are with parks or at least some space for the kids to run. Sometimes we do family stretches to get everyone moving and to help shake off the sluggishness of sitting in the car for hours. Sometimes it’s a game of tag or red light green light. Taking the extra time off the road for a little longer break often pays dividends when you get back on the road.

I’d love to hear from you: what are your family road trip essentials?