Here are some tips to help you pack for your family:
1. We recommend two essentials for a family car trip – cooler and ‘stuff’ bin! The cooler holds sandwiches, soda and water for the trip; the ‘stuff’ bin holds games, books, puzzle books, favorite toys, crayons, pens, markers, map/travel books, etc. for the kids. Depending on the age of the kids will depend on what’s in the bin. If they are old enough to play with DS toys, then pack a couple of them. Make it known that all the toys are available for ALL the kids – reduces fighting. Keep the cooler within reach of the front seat so when kids are ‘napping’ the driver and navigator will still have access to cold drinks.
2. Bring your own pillows and some blankets if you hope for napping kids. If you don’t have room, at least bring a couple of throws they can use as a cover or pillow.
3. For the adults, we suggest that the trip be mapped out in advance and all drivers know the routes to be taken. This will reduce friction in the front seat too! Make sure you have a collsion.kit in the glove box in case of a fender bender and a first aid kit too.
4. Be sure maps are in the front of the car, and all brochures and reservations for fun activities are kept in one place and one person is responsible for them (Mom or Dad usually). This way they can be easily found when needed.
5. If your vehicle has limited storage space, pack lightly for your trip to reduce the number of bags you have to fit in the car. Many cars have racks on the roof to hold large items – use it for your trip if you need to. Make sure you tie down the luggage in the rack with rope. Tie-downs can snap and cause serious injury. Bring extra rope in case the knots get stuck – then you won’t be stuck. You can also use this area to pack your ‘equipment’ such as skis, kayaks, etc. You can even rent a roof top storage unit that you can toss luggage into!
6. For pets; be sure to bring plenty of water and stop often for potty breaks. Just like the humans in your family, pets need breaks and need to stretch too. Familiar toys and treats will go a long way. There are also many car sized crates and “seat belts” for pets to keep them safe in the car. Check it out before you travel by car with your family pet.