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Group Travel 101

What to Pack for Your Family Car Trip

By: Liz Patterson

If planned and prepared for right, a family car trip vacation can be one of the most fun and memorable experiences. It allows you time to get to know each other that you don’t normally have, and you get to see exciting new places too – all the from the comfort of your car! However, in order to make this trip a hit, you have to make sure to pack right. So let’s go over some essentials of what to pack for your family car trip.

First of all, let’s talk about clothing. From experience, we’ve found that the more comfortable clothes you have to wear, the less people complain about being stuck in a car all day. Cozy, comfy clothes or pajamas are the ideal traveling outfits. Another tip is to try to bring dark colors or dark prints, for these will hide the stains that are inevitable from eating and drinking in the car. This is especially helpful for little kids.

Always remember to expect the unexpected. In other words, pack for rain even if the weather forecast is sunny. Bring a sleeveless shirt or two even if you’re going to Vermont in the fall. You never know when the weather might decide to throw in a few surprises, and when you are traveling you can’t just go home from the park if it rains. You have to be ready to brave the elements and have a good time no matter what happens.

You also want to prevent hazardous suitcase explosions that occur when you have to dig everything out then throw it back in because what you need is at the bottom. Think about the order in which you are going to need the things you pack and lay them in the suitcase in that order. Put the pajamas on top, the next day’s clothes, then the swimsuit, then the next day’s clothes… You get the idea. This will save you time and the hassle of lugging around a jumbled bag that won’t zip up again.

Now that we have discussed clothes, let’s look at the next most important thing: entertainment. Yes, you might think food or supplies tops entertainment, but what good is the satisfaction of having every tool you might need when you have to listen to “are we there yet” constantly?

A great idea to minimize complaints and keep everybody happy is something to listen to. Bring a variety of music that you all like and try to get everyone to sing along. If you’re singing you can’t be bickering, after all. If music isn’t the thing for you, consider finding a book on tape. With a story to be caught up in, miles fly by quickly and enjoyably. Or you could bring along a favorite book of jokes and keep everyone laughing. Whatever you choose, it will certainly make it more fun than silence and staring out the window.

The more organized your preparation is, the more fun your family car trip will be. So don’t be intimidated by the packing. Jump in there and have a blast. You’ll end up creating memories to smile at for years.

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