Five Things We Always Bring on Family Road Trips

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Traveling with kids can be stressful, especially when you have a family as large as ours – six people and even two dogs! The limited space in the car can make it feel like a logistical challenge. However, over the years, we’ve learned to streamline our packing to ensure a more comfortable and enjoyable family road trip experience.

Let me share you the five essential items we always bring on our family road trips to make them smoother and more enjoyable. So, whether you’re planning a cross-country adventure or a weekend getaway, these tips can help make your journey with the family a lot more pleasant.

1. Fresh Produce:

Fast food stops are often inevitable during road trips, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on nutrition. Packing fresh produce like veggie sticks, sprouted nuts, seeds, fruits, or salads can significantly improve the overall quality of your meals. These healthy snacks not only increase fiber intake but also enhance the nutrient density of your family’s diet on the road. Plus, they provide a refreshing and crunchy alternative to greasy fries.


2. Downloaded Audiobooks:

Keeping kids entertained during long stretches of road can be a challenge. That’s why we always have a selection of downloaded audiobooks ready to play on the car speakers. Assign each family member their favorite story or adventure, and let them immerse themselves in the world of words. This not only helps pass the time but also promotes a love for reading and learning.


3. Stainless Steel Water Bottles and a Water Jug:

Proper hydration is essential during road trips, and it’s important to have water readily available. We carry stainless steel water bottles for everyone in the family and a larger water jug (e.g., a gallon) with a convenient spout in the trunk for easy refills. To add a touch of calmness and flavor to our water, we also include a few drops of rose water, which can be a soothing and refreshing addition, especially during hot summer drives.


4. Wet Wipes:

Messy hands, light spills, and clothing stains are common occurrences during family road trips, especially when traveling with kids. That’s why we always have a stash of wet wipes on hand. They are perfect for quick clean-ups and can be a lifesaver when you’re miles away from the nearest rest stop. Keep a pack easily accessible for those unexpected messes.


5. Sugar-Free Chewing Gum Sweetened with Xylitol:

Chewing gum, sweetened with xylitol, can be surprisingly versatile on a road trip. Not only does it freshen breath, but it can also help soothe anxiety, improve focus, and even clean teeth. It’s a small but handy item to keep everyone comfortable and alert during long hours on the road.


Bonus Tip: Plastic Garbage Bag:

Lastly, don’t forget a plastic garbage bag at your feet! It’s one of those “if you know, you know” essentials that can make a huge difference in keeping the car tidy and organized. Use it to collect trash, store small items, or even as an impromptu seat cover for picnics along the way.

Family road trips can be incredibly rewarding experiences, but they do come with their fair share of challenges. By packing these five essential items, you can significantly improve the comfort and enjoyment of your journey. Remember that preparation is key, and a well-planned road trip can create lasting memories for your family. So, load up the car, hit the open road, and enjoy your adventure together! Safe travels!


What would you add to this list?

Every family is unique, so your road trip essentials may vary. Consider your family’s specific needs, preferences, and destination when deciding what to bring. Additionally, don’t forget important items like identification, travel documents, first aid supplies, and any necessary medications. These can be just as crucial for a smooth family road trip.



If you’re looking for even more travel-related products specifically tailored to families with children, be sure to check out our curated collection “Travel with Children“. From kid-friendly travel gear to games that make the miles fly by, you’ll find everything you need to make your family road trips a breeze.

Meagan Wilson is a parent educator and author of the now-retired seasonal series of Whole Family Rhythms. After finishing a BA, she went on to complete her Foundations in Steiner Education and Anthroposophy at Sydney Steiner College, as well as her Waldorf Early Childhood Certification at the Rudolf Steiner Centre in Toronto. She has received her certification as a Simplicity Parenting Family Life Coach and has supported hundreds of parents to create a strong family rhythm unique to their own values and culture. She has four young children. Meagan provides resources, support and information to parents who are looking for a bridge to cross between their unique family life and their children’s (often but not always) Waldorf schools.

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