Preparing for a Family Road Trip

Preparing for a Family Road TripThis week we’re heading out to California to visit my family. For us, that means a family road trip over the course of which we’ll drive about 2500 miles.

Many people recommend making lots of stops along the way in order to break up the trip for kids. We actually find that tackling the drive in one long day with lots of bathroom and stretch-our-legs breaks but no touristy stops works well for us. We generally leave around 3-4am and drive until we get there. It’s easier for our boys to know that they’re spending all day driving for one day than to get up for the second day and drive again (which makes it feel like we’re spending two days driving, even if it means we stopped earlier the night before). This also allows us to spend the most amount of time visiting family at our destination before we need to turn around and drive back home. We might tackle the driving differently if it was a sightseeing trip, and definitely would if there were places we wanted to see along the way.

So today, I’m getting things ready to go. I’ve prepared our packing list, so I know what we need to bring. This helps me to make sure that I don’t forget anything obvious or important (like bathing suits, the camera battery charger, or my toddler’s lovey). I’m also making a list of the food we’ll bring for us to eat on the road. On these trips, we pack all of our meals and eat as we get hungry in the car. That way we can spend our time outside of the car with our bodies in motion – and we all need that movement after so much sitting – instead of sitting in a restaurant.

I’ll also spend time preparing our house for us to leave. I’ll make sure all of the plants are watered, let our neighbors know that we’ll be out of town, and remind our friend who agreed to come by and feed our fish when we’ll be leaving (if he wasn’t coming by, I’d also put a hold on our mail).

I’ll pack all of our suitcases and the non-perishable food items, and we’ll have all of those loaded into the car the night before we leave. When we wake up, I’ll pack up the perishable food in our ice chest, we’ll all load into the car, and we’ll be headed west.

So what does our packing list consist of? Here you go:

California 2015 Packing List
Whole Family: 9 days

For Me:
5 underwear
5 socks
3 bras
5 tops
1 pants
1 jeans
1 skirt
Bathing suit
sweater
pajamas
jacket
hat
sandals
loafers

For 6yo:
5 pants
5 shirts
5 socks
5 underwear
sweater
Hat
Bathing suit
Jacket
shoes

For Toddler:
5 pants
5 shirts
5 socks
8 underwear
sweater
2 pajamas
Bathing suit
Hat
Jacket
sleep sack
diapers
gnome baby (lovey)

My husband packs for himself

Toothbrushes
toothpaste
dental floss
face serum
shampoo
bar soap
deodorant
brush, hair clips
vitamins

my book (fiction)
6yo books (3 little house books)
calendar
phone/charger
camera/charger
i-touch/charger (loaded with music/books on tape)
Computer/cords
6yo’s camera/charger
powdered laundry soap

backpack
cash

toddler toilet seat

For car:
Blanket
Spoon
Napkins
Garbage sack

snacks:
3 gallon water bottle
small water bottles for everyone
sliced turkey
cut veggies
guacamole
cheese
bars
nuts
coconut
chicken salad
entertainment:
masking tape
books – 5 picture
drawing paper
crayons
6yo’s self-packed project bag

Mary Poppins CD (for my boys’ dance performances)
Items to deliver to CA folks

 

What do you bring when you pack for road trips?

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