If you don’t travel often, packing for a family road trip can feel stressful and overwhelming. Here is our ultimate road trip packing list that everything you need the next time your family hits the road!
We have begun doing road trips.
Well, to be honest, we have taken a few very small (within 3 hours) road trips, but in the last 2 years, we have begun taking much longer road trips (think: 10-15 hours – one way).
I have learned a lot from these experiences (it was so daunting at first!) and want to help you save some time and stress by simplifying down what to pack for a road trip for you!
Though I have my tried and true tricks for car packing, honestly I know I still have room for improvement (and probably always will).
For example, I always feel pretty good when we are leaving the house: organized and well-planned out. However, about 2 days into the trip, I’m just throwing things into the back of my minivan and having everyone else do the same thing.
“When in doubt, throw it in the back!” Quite the motto to live by, right?! Errrr, maybe not…heehee
So today I’m sharing with you my packing list for our road trips to help you easily get organized and packed for your next trip! If you want to take this list with you, you can download it as a FREE printable!
I’ve put all the road trip necessities into one easy checklist for you to print out and use as you pack for your next trip!
The Ultimate Road Trip Packing List For Families
If you’re wondering what to pack for your a road trip, you are NOT alone! I’m confident that you will find road trip packing MUCH easier once you’ve done it a couple of times. But as you’re getting your feet wet, this task can feel daunting, to say the least.
Check out this list and don’t forget to download the printable version to help you as you go along!
Health & Safety Items:
- Reusable water bottles – we can’t live without these & they are easy to refill on stops for gas or meals
- A tub of flushable wipes – even if your kids are potty trained! (great for cleaning faces and hands)
- Training potty for potty-training kiddos – because nothing sucks more than a toddler who has “to go” in the middle of nowhere
- Sunscreen – here’s how to find a safe one for your family
- Band-Aids in various sizes
- First Aid kit
- Small vial of baking soda to use in event of bee stings
- Deet-free Insect repellent – why is DEET bad?
- Washcloths – for clean ups or to wet with water if needed to clean sunscreen out of eyes
- Children’s Benadryl – for surprise allergies in new places
- Baby Powder – great for getting sand off easily!
- Paper Towels
- Hand sanitizer
- Large scissors and/or seat belt cutting tool
- Jackets, rain jackets, gloves – depending on where you are going
Road Trip General Organization:
- Packing list so I don’t forget anything (I create these in Google Docs so I can easily reuse them for future trips)
- Mimmo Caddy to help organize basics in the car – It holds our movies, water bottles, Kleenex and even charging cables
- Change of clothes for each kid, easily accessible in case of spills or sickness
- Pen & Paper – always handy (for so many reasons)
- Sunglasses and baseball cap by each kids’ seat
- Bottle bungees can be used to contain sippy cups, toys, books, snack bags, etc. (these things are GENIUS!)
- Mesh Bags for dirty clothes (so they don’t go back into the bags with clean clothes – can use color-coded bags for different family members)
- Window shades for babies
- Travel pillows
- Painter’s Tape – The kids can play with it, you can use it to label things and it can be used to cover outlets in hotels. Painter tape is better than masking tape as it is removable without harming the surfaces it was on.
- Small blankets for when you can’t agree on air conditioning levels
- Diaper/pull-ups for all kids up through age 5…just in case
- Phone charger(s)
- Beach Towel – can be used as seat cover, cleaning tool, picnic blanket, for the pool, and more
- Coins for tolls
- Batteries/charge cords for any devices you bring
- Fan for white noise – a must!
- Gallon sized zip top bag taped near each child’s seat: for garbage or emergency car sickness
- Ice scraper
Roat Trip Entertainment:
- Audio Books – Hoopla app. We love Hoopla! Our library partners with Hoopla for ebooks, audiobooks and video content for kids. I am often able to find several titles on Hoopla that our library didn’t have in stock.
Hoopla also has a 3-week rental period but then the content is simply removed from your account.
- Playlist of family music (Our family LOVES the Pandora “Family Road Trip” channel)
- iPad or other tablets with movies & educational games (we have Amazon Kindle Fires that are waayyy cheaper than other tablets)
- Headphones for each kid (our family loves these)
- iPod or another music player
- External battery charger for digital devices –
- Check out books from the library (or bring your favorite books from home)
- Swimsuits for the whole family in one easy to grab tote bag (I love these because they let sand and water drain out)
- Travel versions of games: MagnaDoodle, Hangman, Checkers, Sequence, Tic Tac Toe, Blokus, and more
- Basketball, football, kickball, or baseball gloves and baseballs for exercise breaks
- Three-ring binders for the older kids with worksheets and color pages
- A jump rope for exercise breaks
- Road trip games the whole family will love
Travel, erasable writing tablet – write stories, draw pictures, and more!
Road Trip Snacks:
- Banana Protein Muffins
- Zucchini Muffins
- Packed Lunches
- Protein bars
- Trail mix
- Peanut butter crackers
- Non-sticky snacks & treats in individually portioned baggies
- Granola bars
- Dried Fruit
- Beef jerky
- Twizzlers or other licorice
With a little organization and planning, you can take your next family road trip from daunting to awesome!
In fact, taking road trips just may become a new family tradition! Where will you go next?