Family Road Trip Ideas
The family vacation highway is paved with bathroom breaks, crumbs and spills, and always, good intentions. Make the most of your family road trip, save time and money, and have more FUN with these 9 top must-haves:
1. Cargo Tissues + Dispenser: This super-handy, mom-approved tissue dispenser is a must for everyday car trips and long travel! It slides right over your car’s sun visor as a sturdy, canvas pouch that holds a custom-size pack of 3-ply tissues. Each tissue pops seamlessly out of the fabric dispenser – convenient access when there’s a sneeze, a spill, you name it! An inexpensive, road trip must-have, get yours today from Amazon.
2. Audiobooks: Dreading a Wiggles sing-along? No fear. Borrow from the library or download your favorite family-friend audiobooks for the long trip that parents and kids alike will get hooked on! These classics are enchanting:
- Little House on the Prairie (Wilder) – a girl grows up moving west with her pioneer family,
- Treasure Island (Stevenson) – the gripping tale that popularized pirate lore,
- The Voyages of Doctor Doolittle (Lofting) – ever dream of being able to talk to the animals?
- Swiss Family Robinson (Wyss) – the fantasy of being stranded on a desert island meets reality,
- My Side of the Mountain (George) – a young boy lives totally off-grid, beckoning the adventurer in all of us.
If you’re looking for lighter, more contemporary fare, the 39 Clues series (various authors) also entertains for hours. With any of these audiobooks, the miles click along as you take two journeys at once.
3. Road Atlas: Your GPS and Google Maps don’t have anything on an old-fashioned paper atlas that lets kids in on the fun of traveling long distances. Kids will learn geography and how to read map keys and legends, follow along the directions with mom and dad, and can even point out local landmarks. For adults and kids, we love the Rand McNally Road Atlas with big pages and facts about each state; it features Canada and Mexico, too. Their kids’ atlas has real maps, with travel games and state puzzles. Ask your kids: Where are the Four Corners? Which states are on the Eastern Seaboard? Which Canadian provinces touch the United States? Which states border Mexico? How many National Parks can you find?
4. Game Ideas: Family road trips lead to fun destinations and chances are your car is filled to the brim with vacation necessities. Avoid clunky toys and games that take up too much space and keep fun word and seeing games for the road handy like:
- Would You Rather – be an elephant or a lion? an acrobat or a writer? an apple or an orange?
- License Plate Game – then find it on the map, what states surround it? tell me about the state
- 20 Questions – you can only answer yes or no, kids hate to run out of questions before they guess the answer!
- Mad Libs – an oldie but a goodie, get a book or print some pages out before you leave, kids learn parts of speech as an added bonus
- I Spy – the classic version, or make a portable game by filling a clear plastic bottle with rice and adding small items like a marble, a paper clip, an eraser, a penny, a shell, etc.
5. Writing/Drawing Bag: Give each child a journal as you depart so they can record all of their trip memories. Pack a tote with extra note paper, jelly pens, colored pencils, markers and crayons. Watercolor pencils are extra fun. Have kids draw pictures in the car, and then watch them turn into Impressionist masterpieces with paintbrush and water when you get to grandma’s house that night. For some old-time fun, teach your kids how to play Tic-Tac-Toe and Hangman – among themselves!
6. Healthy Snacks: It’s so easy to resort to candy bars and Funyun land when traveling on the road with the kids! Stock up on healthy goodies instead and avoid gas station chaos – fill the cooler with apples, blueberries, cheese sticks, carrots with hummus, hardboiled eggs, homemade trail mix, and lots of water – you can also stash seasoned popcorn, pita chips, and flavored rice cakes for a nice crunch!
7. Overnight Bag: Pack a quick overnight suitcase with everyone’s essentials including a toothbrush, jammies and one change of clothes for each family member. It’s a quick go-to when you’re making a one-night stop on your trip, and prevents you from unpacking the entire car. Don't forget the bathing suits if your hotel has a pool for the kids!
8. First Aid Kit: Be prepared with a first aid kit for the road. Bandaids and antibiotic ointment make a child’s tears disappear like magic – and protect the inevitable cuts and scrapes that cause them. Tweezers, tick removers, hydrocortisone, benadryl and ibuprofen are smart additions. The Red Cross also recommends a small flashlight and a space blanket. A little pre-planning beats running out to the drugstore at midnight in an unfamiliar place.
9. Car Care Checklist: Safety first! Several days before you hit the road, be sure you’ve had an oil change recently. Make sure your tires have been rotated and are properly inflated – the recommended pressure is listed in your owner’s manual or on the sticker inside your front door. Check wiper blades and top off fluid levels. Finally, ensure that your documents are up to date – “license and registration” are three words you don’t want to hear – but if you do, being able to hand everything over in order is priceless!
More about Cargo Tissues:
Like many Americans, Caitlin, Founder of Cargo Tissues + Dispenser, and her family spend a lot of time in the car, between school and sports and errands and road trips. In fact, the average American spends 540 hours a year in a vehicle – that’s almost a month. If Caitlin’s not spilling her coffee, one of her kids has a runny nose, or worse! Frustrated by crushed, misplaced tissue boxes and soggy drive-thru napkins, Caitlin created Cargo Tissues + Dispenser for the car. The Cargo Dispenser attaches easily to the car’s sun visor, for convenient yet unobtrusive access. Cargo Tissues are soft enough for noses and strong enough for most mobile mishaps.
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