Road trips are an exciting opportunity to make beautiful memories with your loved ones. It's no wonder that, according to research, American families spend nearly 23 hours on road trips during the summer.
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Due to being a military family, we've moved every three years. Most of those moves have been nationwide, meaning that we have had to do several long road trips since our firstborn was a baby. In addition to move-related road trips, we have also spent long hours en route to a family vacation, such as Walt Disney World.
It is amazing to set off on a family road trip adventure, but having to travel long hours in a car also means long hours in a cramped vehicle, higher chances of someone getting carsick, and crumbs of food nearly everywhere.
Whether your destination is a new home or a fun family vacation, I have compiled a list of "not so obvious" road trip essentials for adults and kids.
Accident Clean-up Kit
One of our kids is prone to getting car sick. We learned to always have a bucket and cleaning supplies in the vehicle, in case our kids got car sick and would need to throw up. Sounds gross, I know, but after many road trips, several nationwide moves, long car rides, and even short trips, we learned to always carry with a puke bucket (that's what we call it) and clean-up kit.
It was on our return trip from Disney, that we learned how useful it was to have a bucket in the car. While on our Disney family vacation, we had purchased a refillable popcorn bucket (they are worth it). Obviously, we kept it as a souvenir, little did we know that it would save our car from the vomit disaster that would happen on our return trip home. It even had a lid to keep the smell in!
Since then, we have made sure to keep an accident kit in our car. The accident kit includes:
A cleaning spray or Febreze
Of course, we try our best to prevent our kids from getting carsick. I already know that chances are higher for my child to get carsick if he spends his time looking down instead of looking outside the window. Having motion sickness bands may also help in preventing them from getting carsick.
Car Roof Bag
Long family road trips mean a lot of packing. You need to pack enough clothes for each family member. If you have a standard SUV, the trunk might be filled up with luggage alone. When we move from state to state, we also make sure to bring our valuable stuff. Things we wouldn't want to go with the movers. A car roof bag is a big space saver. I did a lot of searching and read a bunch of reviews before finding this one, it has the best reviews on amazon.com.
One of the most challenging things when it comes to family road trips, in my opinion, is keeping the car clean, organized, and finding space for everything we are taking. Backseat car organizers are a lifesaver! Most include a slot for almost everything a kid would need on a road trip. I have these that work really well and can hold many things such as bottles, toys, tablets or phones, snacks, and even their face masks ( to keep them from falling to the car floor).
Car Power Inverter
A car power inverter lets you connect devices, like laptops, that need AC power plugins to your car. The inverter came in handy for my son's nebulizer when he was having frequent asthma attacks during a road trip.
Portable Tire Inflator
Road trips are a lot of fun, but long hours in the car could increase your chances of getting a flat tire. Having a portable tire inflator in the car can save you the hassle of having to rush to the nearest gas station or tire shop. We always have one in the car, it is small enough to fit in the spare tire compartment of my SUV.
I love this cordless portable tire inflator because it doesn't need to be connected to the car while in use, it can double as a phone power bank, reads tire pressure, pressure can be preset, and more. It truly is multi-functional, and it's as compact as a phone.