This post originally appeared on Best Western’s YouMustBeTrippin.com’s blog, where I regularly contribute stories. I was compensated for this post but the opinions are mine.
One of the trickiest things about family road trips – and any family vacation, for that matter – is that you have to be very discerning about what you absolutely need to take, versus what you want to take. Throughout the past seven years of intense family road trips, our family has grown from five to six, but despite the larger size of our brood, we’ve become so experienced at packing for the road that our load seems to become increasingly lighter, even as the family grows.
You may be tempted to lug a lot of stuff with you on your trip to make sure you are prepared for anything, but trust us: if it’s not in the list we’ve compiled for you below (and trust me, we’ve lugged a lot of unnecessary stuff), you almost surely won’t need that thing you think you can’t possibly live without. As fellow family travel expert Teresa Strasser says, “when in doubt, leave it out.”
Without further ado, here’s our list of what our family of six considers the most sacred “must pack” items for any road trip:
- Clothing with strong consideration given for the different climates you and your family will visit
- A trunk kit with a spare tire and emergency tire inflator
- A physical map of the United States. Even though smart phones have built-in GPS systems and maps, you should always have a physical map as a backup, as they do not depend on energy or web connections to be viewed.
- First aid kit
- A tablet packed with movies and games (a general rule of thumb is one for every two children)
- Health and auto insurance information
- A larger flash light with fresh batteries
- Hand sanitizer
- Disinfectant wipes
- Bottled water
- Light, non-perishable snacks
- Ziploc bags to organize travel essentials or store food
- Dollar bills and loose change for tolls, tips and other unexpected cash-only transactions
- Plug-in phone chargers for different kinds of phones and other gadgets
- Power inverter
- Bug repellant
- Travel size liquid detergent
- Facial tissue
- Toilet paper
Almost any item you don’t see listed here is something you can pit-stop for along the way. Remember, the lighter you pack, the more comfortable you’ll travel – and that’s one way to make your family road trip your best family vacations!
If you’re planning a summer road trip, check out #Roadtrippin with AAA and Best Western – It’s the ultimate road trip resource featuring videos from Cesar Milan and Teresa Strasser, along with #Roadtrippin travel trivia!