How to pack for a family road trip
How to pack for a family road trip
Preparing to go on a road trip with your family can be stressful. There are so many things to think about that it is easy to forget something. Involve the entire family in the process with this step-by-step approach:
Make a poster of the itinerary that includes pictures
Give each member of the family a small travel case for inside the car and have them put things in it for use while traveling. Give them guidelines to follow, such as reading material, writing utensils, personal electronics, tissue, and a grocery sack for garbage. Let them know that they are responsible for what they bring and that when they use something, it is their job to put it back in their bag. Label bags and items with names. Keep snacks in a central location away from small children, and hand them out only when they are to be eaten.
Designate suitcases for specific events: i.e. swimming or water gear, Sunday best, playing at the park, and riding horse.
Talk through the itinerary of the trip with the family. As you discuss each event, have family members gather the items they will need for that event. Put them in the designated suitcase. Label in such a way that all know which suitcase is for which event.
Once you have packed for the events, pack for the days. Put items for very young children with the older children or adults who will be responsible for helping them bathe and dress. Label the suitcases with the names of those using them, and pack enough underwear, socks, pajamas, and generic clothing for the number of days in the trip. Have each individual get the items from their room and put them in the suitcase.
Toiletries for the family can be kept in a special carrying case that all share, or for older children, in their designated suitcase, using plastic zip-lock bags to keep liquids from spilling on the clothing should a container leak or break. Check to make sure they have shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, and razor, if needed.
If you will be preparing your own food on the trip, have a container specifically for dishes and food preparation materials. Include cups, plates, bowls, silverware, sharp knives, serving spoons, stirring spoons, mixing bowls, pots and pans, tablecloth, soap, washcloth/towel, a large bowl or basin for washing, and fire starting equipment.
When packing the food, think through each meal on the itinerary and what will be needed for its preparation. Pack food by meal as much as possible, keeping in mind what foods need refrigeration before and/or after the meal.
Do a last minute run-through of the itinerary as a family to make sure that you have everything you need, then pack items in the car so that the suitcases are in the order of when they will be needed.
Take a few moments before you leave on your trip to have a prayer if you pray, or a moment of quiet thought if not. (NOTE: this is usually when you remember something you may have forgotten earlier!).
Family road trips can be enjoyable for all when we take the time to involve our family in the packing and preparation process. Children will know what is expected of them, and parents are less likely to be overly stressed. All can look forward to the days they have together as a family.
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