If you’re a frugal family that likes to travel, you’re no stranger to road trips. Despite the bickering, bathroom needs in the middle of nowhere, and numb bums, road trips are good for the soul… and the travel budget.
Not only does road tripping allow you to save on airfare and a rental car in your final destination, your own vehicle also provides you ample space to bring all the extras that wouldn’t typically fit into your carry-on bag. This is where the real savings comes in.
With the following road trip checklist, you can prepare for those often unanticipated expenses that pop up while traveling with kids.
Road Trip Essentials
- Clothes, separated by location or travel stop, rather than by person (We finally learned that when going on a multi-destination road trip to pack for each location rather than by each person. We pack one bag with bathroom/PJ items for everyone, and then we will pack and label a single duffle bag with everyone’s clothes for each location to prevent having to bring in ALL the luggage at every stop.)
- Extra pair of tennis shoes for each person
- Your Essentials Car Kit, suggested by Dripping with Kids
- Medicines and creams (anticipate it all!) – Itch cream, antibiotic ointment, lots of bandaids, Benadryl and other allergy meds, pain relievers, Tums, aloe, and Rx meds
- Travel or toddler potty if traveling through open country (can work for adults too … just remove the collection bowl)
- Individualized snack boxes or coolers that can slip under the seat (To prevent impulse fast food stops, pack each person his or her own heaping pile of favorite healthy and unhealthy snacks/meals. For younger kids, pack homemade happy meals in easy-to-decorate white paper sacks with crayons, stickers, and other little surprises inside.)
- Gallon of water for refills
- Road Trip Bingo and other favorite family games
- Joke, riddle, and/or trivia book to read aloud
- Spiral notebook and markers for each child with age-appropriate journal prompts, blank pictures to color (glue them to a page), and/or interesting facts related to the places you’re visiting
- Surprise magazine, book, or busy hands activity, such as lacing cards, play-doh, and sliding puzzles.
- Small pillows and blankets, plus a family-friendly downloaded audio book
- Electronics and headphones
- A list of activities for each stop that you found on a local blogger’s website
- Emergency tool kit, extra set of car keys, and inflated spare tire
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