Since the kids have been young, we’ve been doing extended road trips with them and, over the years, we’ve discovered a few items that remain essential. Of course these are only 3 of many, and essentials change over time, especially as the ages change.
With two teens and 2 adults, there are 4 smartphones in the car, along with (sometimes) an iPad or 2 for the younger ones. That is a lot of technology to keep charged. Much as I’d like to set up solar panels on the roof and keep things going that way, it’s not happened and won’t soon. Enter the ZUS Smart Car Charger. This little device plugs into any DC 12V (cigarette lighter) socket and then charges TWO devices faster than I would have imagined was possible. The company says it’s twice as fast as other chargers and I believe them. Not sure how this thing works, but it does. Every car should have one of these, road trip or not. (There’s also a secondary function of being able to find your car via app, should you forget where you parked it, but we never used that, so I can’t speak to the efficacy of it.) [*We used this on our Mammoth Cave trip, a life saver.]
With two smaller children (almost 6 and 9 years), the Disc-O Bed Kid-O Bunk remains a stalwart in our road trip gear. Not only do the bunkbed-style cots give us a lot more room when tent camping as a family, these are a godsend in hotels. We generally try to stay in a single room while at hotels (less expensive and it keeps the family together), but have you ever tried sleeping on a convertible sofa at a hotel? Ouch. The frame usually has a metal bar that runs right across the small of the back, making for some restless nights. The Kid-O Bunks solve that problem, pack relatively compactly, and give a comfortable night’s sleep for everyone.
Probably the least favorite, but also necessary essential is a good First Aid Book, along with a kit. The Outdoor Medical Emergency Handbook: First aid for Travelers, Backpackers & Adventurers (Firefly Books) is the prefect fit. It covers a very wide range of possible ailments and injuries, then uses step-by-step images to convey how best to treat each issue. This is not only a practical book, but visually it’s quite interesting, and makes for good reading at the campfire. It’s flexibound and has a waterproof cover, so this book should last for quite a few trips.
As I said, these are only 3 of many essentials – what are essentials you bring along on the family road trip?
These items were provided for editorial purposes – all opinions are my own.