By Eileen Ogintz
Got your headlamp?
They’re not only great to have at night in a campground but are useful in the back seat at night.
Encourage the kids to pack their own backpacks with toys, games, art supplies for the trip. The caveat: They have to be able to carry them!
If you’re like us, there’s always some essential you forget on your road trip. Here’s our tried and true packing list from Family Travel Forum and TakingtheKids :
- LAMINATED MAPS Sure you’ve got GPS but kids, especially younger ones can follow the route—and maybe even help you navigate.
- AN ATLAS and MAPS of the areas you will be
- A PLAYLIST of favorite songs. Encourage the kids to add some of their favorites!
- A JOKE BOOK When it seems we’ll never get there, a few silly jokes can lighten the mood.
- “SURPRISE BAG” —silly, small things that is offered up after a certain number of miles, hours in the car or crossing state lines.
- FOOD for a picnic lunch or dinner. Let the kids figure out what you’re having!
- FAVORITE JUST-FOR-THE-TRIP SNACKS . In our family, it was cherry tootsie pops.
- NON MESSY SNACKS like pretzels, nuts, granola bars, fruit cut up veggies
- AUDIO CDS OR DOWNLOADS . Get the kids to forgo a movie or their games and listen to a story with you. Choose one of their favorite authors or ask your local children’s librarian for suggestions. Try Judy Bloom’s books, if you haven’t already.
- MOVIES for the kids
- FIRST AID KIT that’s easily accessible. (AAA makes one designed for road trips.)
- REUSABLE WATER BOTTLES for each member of the family. They become souvenirs when the kids slap stickers on them and they are always at the ready!
- PILLOWS AND FLEECE BLANKETS for the car.
- FRISBEE, SOCCER BALL, SOFTBALL, MITTS —to toss around when you stop and certainly when you get to the campground.
- RAIN GEAR
- MASKING TAPE —in case the kids want to divide their space. They can also use to make designs on the seat in front of them.
- A ROLL (or two) of paper towels and cleaner to easily wipe up the inevitable messes as well as large PLASTIC GARBAGE
- ZIPLOCKS of different sizes
- TOILET PAPER, TISSUES, HAND SANITIZER
- MOTION SICKNESS REMEDIES if your gang is prone to getting car sick. (Check with your doctor first, of course)
- AN EXTRA BATTERY CHARGER —or two—for all of your family’s
Eileen Ogintz writes the syndicated column Taking the Kids. Follow @TakingtheKids on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Checkout Eileen’s Kid’s City Guides available online and from major booksellers.