As a family we do quite a lot of traveling, and once every summer we do our annual family road trip. When traveling by way of road trip, the journey is just as important as the destination. You might have already learned, however, that traveling this way with kids requires a bit more effort than it did during your care-free and single days! To make sure everyone’s having fun, pack the right stuff and stay organized along the way. In addition to a first aid and a roadside emergency kit, take stock of what your family needs on a daily basis to be comfortable and build your list from there. To get you started, here are 11 family road trip essentials.
1. Cooler with drinks, sandwiches and necessary meds. If you have anything that has to be refrigerated, store it here. Keep in mind though, that a cooler (no matter the size) will take up precious space in the vehicle, so if you can survive with room temperature water and forgo other drinks until you get where you’re going, do so. Coolers are great for leftover sandwiches and such, because they can keep foods fresher longer (that you would otherwise have to toss after the two-hour mark). Anyway to save money on the road is OK in my book, since gas stations are known for hiking prices due to the convenience factor. If you have a baby who requires milk or breast milk, a cooler is non-negotiable.
2. Bag of pantry items. Keep any foods that don’t absolutely have to be refrigerated out of the cooler. Designate and actual bag (tote or backpack) for snacks so that you won’t end up with a hole in a plastic bag. Pack car-friendly snacks, including fruits and veggies, in your stash.
3. Reusable bottles for water. Make sure everyone has a distinct bottle to refill with water wherever you stop. The bottle should fit in a cup holder and have a secure lid. Straws are a bad idea because they aren’t easy to clean and can be dangerous if the driver has to brake quickly.
5. Books and magazines. As long as reading on the road doesn’t cause carsickness, pack any reading materials you’ve been meaning to catch up on and any books or magazines the kids haven’t yet seen.
6. Coloring and activity books/kits. Color Wonder kits are especially great in the car because the ink from the markers only shows up on the designated paper and not on your interior! You also won’t have to worry about lost crayons melting in your vehicle somewhere. My favorite car trip go-to toy growing up was a Magna-Doodle, which provides endless drawing possibilities and zero mess or waste.
7. Road trip games. Nowadays, you don’t need to buy overpriced games at truck stops. You can easily find all kinds of inexpensive magnetic games for the car and road trip BINGO. iSpy is also a very popular game, you can have the kids look for the state welcome signs, and the kids also enjoy seeing how many different plates from other states they can spy while traveling.
8. Tablets, DVD players, DVDs, headphones, and games. As soon as it starts getting dark, road trip entertainment is pretty limited. This is where tablets, DVD players, and handheld video games really come in handy. So that your kids aren’t getting eight straight hours of screen time, consider keeping these tucked away until a certain time each day.
9. Active toys for rest stops. Don’t forget a few active toys, like a ball and a jump rope, so your kids can get some exercise at rest stops. It's inevitable that you'll eventually stop and getting some exercise in after traveling for many hours can actually be relaxing.
10. Small pillows and blankets. Keep these items as small as possible. If you're traveling late at night, it gets rather cool and having blankets on hand will provide the necessary warmth you need without getting overheated by your car's heater.
11. Baby essentials. *if you have a baby* Remember to reorganize your diaper bag before the trip. You likely have tons of stuff in there you won’t actually need on the trip. Do the math and pack enough diapers, wipes, and formula to last you the trip. Don’t assume you can stop off along the way and get more. Save space by keeping sippy cups and the like to a minimum and just wash them more often than usual. Sanitizing wipes are a must for not only cups, but toys, changing tables, and restaurant table tops as well.
We are already once again planning our summer family road trip to Florida, which is a 27hr drive from Colorful Colorado. We've done it before and it's not as bad as you think. However, I always make sure that my car is serviced and everything that needs to be taken care of, brakes, suspensions, oil changes etc., is done before we go. However, most people don't think about their cabin air filters. Did you know that the air in your car can be even more dirty that the air outside? Your cabin air filter does just what the name suggests. It filters the air that comes through the car's HVAC system, leaving the air in your car's cabin clean and fresh and free of pollutants such as dirt, dust and debris. Having also just returned from a road trip recently, I knew that it was time to change mine. (Follow recommended change intervals as noted in your vehicle owner’s manual.) I had driven the recommended mileage that my car suggests and even a little bit more. I also knew exactly what cabin air filter I needed.
I have been using FRAM Fresh Breeze® Cabin Air Filter in my car for as long as I can remember. It's actually the only thing I know how to replace by myself without having to take my car in to my mechanic. It not only keeps the inside of my car as clean as possible but it safeguards my family against outside pollutants. After all we spent quite a lot of time together in our car. I pick mine up at Walmart and finding the exact part I need was so easy. You can use the Walmart/Fram guide to find your car and the part you need, or you can use the included guide in-store. FRAMFreshBreeze.com also provides texting feature which allows your search results (installation videos and part number) to be sent to your mobile phone to help you find what you're looking for easily in store, and also to help with your installation process.
Now after purchasing, it was time to install. If you're unsure about how to install your cabin air filter, FRAMFreshBreeze.com provides installation guides that can help you along your way. Installing my FRAM Fresh Breeze® cabin air filter was actually a breeze. Mine is located under the glove compartment and all I had to do was replace my old and very dirty one with the new one, and now my family can breathe good again. FRAM Fresh Breeze® cabin air filter, filters up to 98%* of dust, dirt and allergens from entering my vehicle, and is the only cabin air filter that uses the natural deodorizing qualities of ARM & HAMMER® baking soda.
It feels good to know that my family will now be breathing better, especially since it's now allergy season and the pollen count is rather high here this year. So while you're protecting the outside of your car, think about protecting the inside and those most valuable to you. And before you go on that road trip, check to make sure that you're using a FRAM Fresh Breeze® Cabin Air Filter and with our road trip essentials, you'll have a safe and pleasant trip.
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When was the last time you replaced your cabin air filter?