What to Pack When on a Road Trip with Kids: A Checklist

Planning a driving vacation this holiday season with the whole family? Make sure you are covered when it comes to packing essentials you will need on the road, to keep the children safe and happy

By Sahana Charan

What to Pack When on a Road Trip with Kids: A Checklist

An open road and your favourite song, sometimes that is all the therapy you need -- this saying cannot be more true, especially for stressed-out parents who need a break from the exhausting grind of everyday life in the city. Isn’t it a good idea to fill up the gas, get all the logistics in place and just take off on the highway, with your children all excited about the new adventure?

The holiday season is almost upon us and most families will be making their travel plans soon for that perfect vacation. These days, travelling in your own vehicle on an impromptu, fun road trip is quite a popular idea that is catching on among leisure travellers -- both youngsters and families. If planned well and with all precautions and essentials, a road trip can, not only be memorable for children, but also a great learning experience. The best thing about road trips is that you have the freedom to decide when to start and when to take a break. It works well even with small children because you plan your travel day according to their sleep and eating timings.

But being on the road means that you might suddenly find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere when your child is feeling sick. Or the kids get bored staying inside the car for long and start creating a racket. Here is a ready reckoner you can refer to while doing a road trip --

1. Toys and games for the road/pitstops -- Whatever age your child may be, there is a good chance that after a point, she will get bored of looking out the window and will start complaining that she has nothing to do. That is when you can unveil your arsenal of handy games and fun things to do. Bring a favourite toy for the toddler, while for the slightly older one, you can play word games or those that involve names of geographical locations. This will keep your child occupied.

2. Plastic/paper bags -- When there are long road trips and children, there is bound to be motion sickness. So, carry plastic bags just in case your teenager suddenly wants to throw up. For smaller children, paper bags are a good idea because plastic ones can be a choking hazard. Also, make sure you use a separate bag to put your trash, so that you can avoid littering during the trip, especially in eco-sensitive areas. Having said that, make sure your road trip is as eco-friendly as possible.

3. Medications for injury and motion sickness -- This is important, specifically when travelling with children. Carry all the regular medications that your child might need during the trip including those for cold and cough. Apart from that, carry a first-aid kit that has an antiseptic solution, cotton and band-aids, to be prepared in case there is an injury. Also, carry medications for motion sickness.

4. Travel-friendly clothes -- Make sure you carry extra pairs of travel-friendly, comfortable clothes for the children not just in your main luggage but separately in a small travel bag so that they can change during the pitstops before you reach your destination.

5. Sunscreen and other moisturisers -- You have to protect your’s and your children’s skin in harsh weather, depending on whether it is hot or chilly outside. For this reason, carry a sunscreen that is safe to use for children and also carry a good moisturiser for the whole family. Also, the air-conditioning inside the car can dry the sensitive skin of small children, so make sure you carry carry a moisturising baby cream to keep your little one’s skin hydrated. Don’t forget to pack bug and mosquito repellant sprays/lotions to protect your child.

6. Adequate food and drink -- This is one of the most important things on the checklist, particularly since you are travelling with children, as they will need constant nourishment. While major meals can be planned and had at regular pitstops, water, juices and travel-friendly snacks are necessary for that sudden hunger pang at odd times. Carry healthy munchies that won’t spoil for long, as cooked food may go bad after a few hours. You can have whole fruits, wheat and oat biscuits, granola bars, dry fruits and so on to keep the whole family satiated.

Getting out on the road, with the whole family is an experience of a lifetime and an unmatchable way of creating lasting bonds. Drive safely, see new places and take in new cultures and little ones will thank you for it.