The Ultimate Road Trip Packing List

roadtrippackingSo, you’ve decided to hit the road with the family?  A road trip can be a fantastic adventure and packing the car with the right gear will help avoid blood sugar meltdowns, stave off boredom, and allow you to reach your destination as smoothly and safely as possible.


One thing I always do before a road trip is head to the market and stock up on a couple of bags full of non-perishable snack items.  When I’ve driven to Florida on my own with my girls, I wanted to limit stops as much as possible so as not to further lengthen and already lengthy drive.  I also throw a few small containers into the bag so that I can dole out individual portions of bulk snacks.  I also pack a small cooler bag with a couple of cooler packs for refrigerated snacks and we never hit the road without our Kleen Kanteen water bottles.

  • Granola and cereal bars
  • Pirate and Veggie Booty
  • raw cashews, almonds and other nuts
  • squeezy applesauce
  • tube yogurts
  • stick cheese
  • bag of kid-sized apples
  • crate of clementines
  • refillable water bottles

Unplugged Activities

Part of the fun of the road trip is to go old-school and play some of the car games we played as kids.  Remember playing, “I went to the grocery store and I bought apples.  I went to the grocery store and I bought blueberries and apples…?”  We like to do our own versions of this alphabet game depending on where we’re headed and choose activity appropriate items–I went camping and I brought…I went to the beach and I brought, I went to Disney World and I brought, etc.  There are all sorts of games like that you can play and a quick Google search will give you a bunch.  In the meanwhile, we also pack other games and activities for the car.

  • Melissa and Doug License Plate Game
  • Rubberneckers: Everyone’s Favorite Travel Game
  • Eeboo Travel Bingo
  • Books (as long as your kids can read in the car without feeling queasy)
  • Activity & Coloring Books
  • Paper, Pens & Crayons for Coloring & Hangman

Plugged Activities

Yes this site is called Kids Unplugged, but everything in moderation is my motto and a few doses of tech can certainly help the hours spent in the car pass more pleasantly.  Here’s a list of the gadgets and gear I pack for our trips.

  • Portable DVD player (our car is not equipped with one)
  • A bunch of DVDs – I let the girls each pick a couple/few before we leave
  • Iphone with the Pandora app
  • Iphone and DVD player chargers
  • Audio Books – our local library has a great selection of books on CD
  • FM transmitter – this little device allows you to play music from your IPhone or the sound from your DVD player through the car speakers
  • A mini to mini stereo cable to go between the FM transmitter and your output source (DVD player, Iphone, Ipod, etc.)
  • DC to AC converter – great gadget that plugs into your car’s 12v DC cigarette lighter and allows you to plug in a traditional 110v AC plug.  Mine also has USB ports to charge other devices
  • Apps such as googlemaps and Pandora are great to have as well
  • Camera and video camera

Safety & Miscellaneous

  • Cell Phone
  • Real maps of your travel route
  • Road Side Emergency Kit
  • Flashlight
  • Spare Tire or Donut
  • Travel First Aid Kit
  • Wet Wipes
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Paper towels and tissues
  • A few plastic grocery bags for trash
  • Pillows and blankets

I’d love to hear about some of the items you pack for family road trips.  Leave me a comment below!



  1. Love this list, Gina. You’ve totally covered every aspect anyone would think of and those some of us would miss!

Speak Your Mind