Ultimate Family Summer Road Trip Essentials

Complete summer family road trip essentials packing list including my best tips for a more enjoyable Ultimate Family Summer Road Trip with kids and all the Essentials you will need for your Summer Vacation.

Ultimate Family Summer Road Trip Essentials

With summer comes summer vacations and for the past several summers we have racked up the miles across this nation exploring states to the west and east of Chicago. Last summer we explored the east coast from Washington D.C. to Niagara Falls and everywhere in between.  This summer we explored Orlando because we were missing a proper summer these past few months as Chicago has had a relatively cool summer. Certainly nothing like a typical Midwest summer of my youth

Did you take long family road trips as a child? I can say no we did not, my lame parents never took my brothers and I anywhere! I don't want my kids to not know the nation they reside in, so we load up our vehicle and head our exploring and adventuring. My husband has many tales to tell our children about all the great road trips his parents took him on each summer.

Ultimate Family Summer Road Trip Essentials

We have traveled during the summer months for the past several years and pretty much have a great system in place. Our vehicle is fully laden to equip us for the two weeks we will be away from our home. We spend a lot of hours in our vehicle and that meas close quarters during that time as well. Very close quarters. Sometimes after a very long day of driving and the children are at their very last minute . . .  the touching and poking begin. It is out of sheer boredom I know.

So how does one make all the long hours in a vehicle manageable? Since I am the mom, I am often left with all the planning; from the total vacation plan, the hotels, the hot spots to stop etc. I really want our family road trip to be fun and creating lasting memories for my kids. So, I am sharing that will aide in the summer road trip planning.

Ultimate Family Summer Road Trip Essentials

These Ultimate Family Summer Road Trip Essential Tips won’t get you to your destination any faster, but hopefully, these essential tips will aide in making the time pass by more quickly to eliminate boredom.

Ultimate Family Summer Road Trip Essentials

Ultimate Family Summer Road Trip

Essentials Tips

Each of my kiddos gets a small day pack in the car and in the day pack goes the various items to beat boredom.


This would include, paper, pens, markers, books, electronics and small games. We have small personal DVD players for each kid and I pack age appropriate movies in each day pack. My son doesn't really watch movies any longer, so the DVD players and DVD are mostly for my daughters.

Travel Tip: Purchase a dual headphone 2-way splitter adapter so a movie can be shared! Put all your cords, chargers, extension cord and plugs and adapters in a resealable bag as well!

Ultimate Family Summer Road Trip Essentials

This past trip we brought along the Diary of a Wimpy Kid DVDs (4 movies of #DOAWK). My kids are a bit obsessed with Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. We have all 12 of them! Plus, we even stood in line for over two hours once to have Jeff Kinney autograph ALL our books. My children even had the opportunity to interview Jeff Kinney!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is about the Heffley family road trip to Meemaw’s 90th birthday celebration. If you are really taking a super long haul, watch the entire set of all the Wimpy Kid DVDs!! Greg is re­spon­si­ble for some ill-timed mishaps on the Hef­fleys’ road trip. Miss­ing paci­fiers, a shriek­ing tod­dler, mo­tel squalor, Chee­to-lov­ing seag­ull at­tacks, fart­ing piglets, and MORE. This DVD was FUNNY! My husband and I were laughing through the entire movie! This was a great addition to our Ultimate Family Summer Road Trip! #WimpyKidHE


I pack the coveted favorite snacks that are not normally allowed. My children adore when I put in sacks they do not get in our home.

Travel Tip: We have a small, hard cooler on the back seat that holds drinks and refill with ice each day. This works amazingly well for us and keeps all our water and juices cold all day long.

DIY Trail Mix

DIY Trail Mix

One of my favorite snacks to bring along is a DIY Trail Mix. I set out all the add-ins and my kids simply add-in what they like in their own DIY Trail Mix. Each kiddos gets a jar and they pop that in their day pack.

DIY Trail Mix

Travel Tip: If you add crackers or pretzels, keep in mind they will get a bit soft. Also, I select to put in the unsalted pretzels as the salted fro some reason just makes everything else taste bad. Additionally, if you do put in chocolate bits, keep in mind they may melt. But, when they do melt, they mash together all the nuts and dried fruit into big chucks. Personally, this is my favorite part of the DIY Trail Mix!

Emergency Preparedness

I always give my kids sun glasses, sun block, lip balm with SPF, as well as insect repellent. I give them a small container that has plastic bandages and a small container of antibiotic ointment. Pain relievers for the kids as well. My daughter hurt her neck on one of the roller coasters this year and thankfully I had brought along some really good essential oils!

I also include hand wipes for messes and dirty hands, tissues, umbrellas and the ever present stuffed animal and blankets! We even brought along a couple of small pillows.

Ultimate Family Summer Road Trip Essentials

These are my tips for essentials for an Ultimate Family Summer Road Trip. I'm sure I forgot something, because I always do. One great thing about traveling our nation is there are plenty of stores along the way. Family Road Trips are all about making lasting memories. I want my kids to tell their children about our Ultimate Summer Road Trips some day!

What are you plan ahead essentials for your family summer road trip!?