Pack right for your next family road trip

Posted by: Cal on 31/05/2013

Category: General

Heading out on the road this winter to visit faraway friends or take a warm-weather vacation with the family? Family road trips are a great chance for bonding with your partner and kids, but it would be naive to imagine that hours crammed together in a car will go off without a hitch.

However, when you pack smart for the trip, you'll be better positioned to have an enjoyable ride that every member of the family will look back on fondly. After making sure your vehicle is up to date on things like tyre maintenance and oil levels, start packing up these items for the best family road trip ever:

Plenty of entertainment options

The scenery of rural Australia may seem enthralling to you, but kids will likely get bored easily during a long trip in the car. That's why you have to be prepared with plenty of entertainment options for the ride.

Colouring books and crayons, a sketchbook, and other simple, mess-free craft components will suit many children on the road, as will travel versions of favorite board games. Let the kids pick out a few books, magazines or comics to bring with them, too.

Consider investing in a few card games designed for road trips, like 20 Questions, to engage the whole family in the fun. Books on tape are also a great option for the whole family.

Electronic entertainment options are a must for most kids these days. Portable DVD players, tablets and handheld video games are all great options for entertainment in the car. Make sure these devices are charged up beforehand or that you have extra batteries or car chargers to juice them up on the road.

Make sure there are enough headphones for everyone, too - you won't want to hear how much fun the kids are having while you're driving.

Staying satiated

Hunger can be the worst mood-killer during a road trip, and most parents won't feel like stopping off for a snack every few miles. Pack a cooler full of snacks that you know the kids will like, making sure to include plenty of healthy options.

Individually packed crackers, muesli bars, fruit snacks and whole fruits like apples, oranges and bananas are all great for the car. Keep these within easy reach of the kids, or stash them in the front seat with you so you can dole out the goods when necessary.

You will also want to keep plenty of water handy in the car. Consider packing a lunch box or other small cooler full of just water for the front seat or for the kids in the back seat.

Almost every snack will create some type of trash, but you can prepare for this ahead of time, too. Attach car trash bags to the back of your seat so the kids can reach them, or bring a few plastic bags along with your snacks. Some pre-moistened sanitary wipes and paper towels may also be useful.

Safety first

Although it's unlikely the kids will sustain any serious injuries while sitting in the back seat, it's a good idea to pack a first aid kit for the road. Include some bandages, but make sure you have plenty of pain medication for headaches and motion sickness remedies in case anyone in the car starts to feel woozy.

You should also pack any allergy medicines and any prescription medications in the first aid kit.

Once you've stocked the car with these goods, you should be ready to enjoy a memorable trip with your family.