Jun 172015
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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FuelTheLove #CollectiveBias

road trip essentials for families

Ah, the family road trip. There is nothing quite like it. The preparation, the unexpected glitches and plenty of fun and silly times. A road trip creates memories that will last a lifetime. To make the most of your trip, you need a combination of preparation and a “roll with the punches” attitude, because the unexpected will occur, and is often what makes those memories.

walmart road trip bridge

Many of you already know that my family took an eight hour road trip from Boston to Washington DC this past April. It was our first major road trip and since it was such a success,  we’re planning a six hour road trip to Hershey, PA next month!  I definitely feel more prepared for future journeys after our first major road trip this year. If you are planning a trip this summer, here are some road trip essentials for families you won’t want to leave home without:

  • Create a checklist. Once you know what you are bringing, create a checklist so you don’t forget anything. This will give you peace of mind, so you aren’t heading down the road wondering if you forgot something.
  • How much should you pack? The older your kids are, the less you should pack  as far as clothing is concerned. With babies and toddlers, you need to make sure you have plenty of changes of clothes due to accidents and spills and that can take up precious trunk space in the car. When the kids get older, less is definitley more.
  • There are things you will want to keep handy and up front with you such as wipes and maybe a roll of paper towels in case of spills.  I usually have a small bag for trash up front, too!
  • Snacks!! You should keep a variety of healthy snacks within easy reach. Nuts, raisins, granola bars and pretzels are all good choices. In a small cooler pack things like grapes, carrot sticks and other treats that are easy to eat.

road trip essentials for families

  • Reusable water bottles, preferably not plastic. It is a good rule of thumb to limit drinks in the car to water only. This will prevent messy spills.
  • Electronics. If you have an in-car entertainment system, that is great. E-readers like Kindles are nice and so are tablets. However, it is also a good idea to limit them and encourage them to spend time talking, singing, playing “road games” or even just to talk about the area you are driving through. If you are entering a new city or state, spend time talking about it.  What kinds of things have happened here? What is the area known for?
  • A first aid kit is a necessity. Bandages, antibiotic cream etc.
  • A sense of humor. This is one of the most important things you can bring on your trip!

Those are everything you will need to make sure everyone is entertained, comfortable and happy for the ride itself, but is your car ready for the journey?  It’s important to make sure your car is in good shape to drive long distances and getting an oil change is one of the ways you can make sure that you take care of your car before you set out onto the open road. Did you know that you can get your oil changed at Walmart, while also being able to shop at the same time?

walmart oil change

Talk about killing two birds with one stone.  Not only do oil changes cost less at Walmart, talk about convenience!

At Walmart, they use Pennzoil products for their oil changes.  Did you know that Pennzoil is designed for complete protection and will allow you to drive an extra of 550 miles per year vs. a dirty engine?  Talk about taking good car of your car for a long road trip.  I feel good knowing that all Pennzoil products help clean out sludge that lesser oils leave behind.

There are several options as far as oil changes go at Walmart, but I got the High Mileage Vehicle for my car. The High Mileage Vehicle oil change helps to reduce leaks and oil consumption in worn or higher mileage engines. It’s a motor oil that is specifically designed for new or late model vehicles with over 75,000 miles, to help keep the engines running clean and going strong for a long time.

You can also get a Conventional Motor Oil or a Platinum (synthetic motor oil) depending on your cars needs.

Pennzoil also offers a free warranty that covers 15 engine parts that may fail due to engine wear or which experience abnormal wear due to friction. (For more information, check out the Pennzoil Warranty Site.)

Guess what? From June 10th – September 9th, Pennzoil oil changes will be on Rollback at Walmart ACC {Automotive Care Center} stores.

  • High Mileage $35.88, compared to the regular Walmart price of $39.88. {Industry standard price is $46}
  • Platinum Full Synthetic $45.88, compared to the regular Walmart price of $49.88. {Industry standard price $66}

And did I mention that you can get your oil changed while you shop?  The oil change only took about 25 minutes and they texted us when the car was ready.  It makes life a million times easier to get two things done at once. Now that the car is ready, we are all set to head out on our next adventure!

walmart road trip family

Now it’s your turn.  What are some things you bring with you on road trips?

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  163 Responses to “Road Trip Essentials For Families #FuelTheLove #CollectiveBias #ad”

  1. What great tips and agree that with two kids here the electronics is a must, such as the iPad to keep them entertained at the very least.

  2. Ha! I like road trips too. I think they’re fun. 🙂 We take the Kindles, the headphones, the water, the snacks. I used to bring homework because how fun is that???? lol I bet your trip to Hershey is going to be a blast!

  3. A lot of people will be taken road trip this time of the year and your tips will be helpful especially traveling with kids.

  4. We always have at least a half dozen roadtrips during the summer and I try to be prepared for each. Making sure the kids are situated with snacks and distractions and also making sure our vehicle is road ready are definitely important. I had no idea that Walmart had this service. I’ll be checking it out before our next trip!

  5. You are definitely ready for a great trip… Thanks for listing all thise important things. I also always get the sunscreen ready for summer trips.. And extra pillow for the long road trip. It helps :).. Enjoy Hershey Park.. We went there and will soon post it in my blog 🙂

  6. I think I would be kind of terrible at road tripping. I get cranky in the car SO EASILY and I’m such an overpacker. But… it sounds like fun!

    Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird

  7. Love the last photo! Definitely a great list. Snacks is definitely important with kids!

    • I agree, I love the last photo. I would love to take a road trip and visit Hershey Park. I can’t wait to hear all about it.

  8. Great advice and so timely–I just planned a big road trip. For Oct. Good tips!

  9. It looks like you plan very similarly to how I plan. I had to chuckle at the sense of humor comment, because that is the truth!

  10. I think I follow almost your whole list, need to start bringing snacks though to save money

  11. Snacks, snacks, snacks. Snacks are absolutely essential for any road trip. A hungry kid is a cranky kid.

  12. Great tips! I know snacks would be #1 for us because my kids NEVER stop eating, ever! LOL.

  13. I did not know that Walmart had an oil change shop! I’ve never seen that before.

  14. What a great list! Thanks for the tips!

  15. Electronics are a must! 4 out of 5 of our kids have tablets. They are a must for keeping them busy with games and movies!

  16. Awesome! I actually need an oil change! I love the Sam’s Club stop and didn’t know that Walmart has this too. What a great idea, especially since our stopping trips are always over an hour…sometimes two! I will definitely get the oil changed at an awesome price while we shop!! Maybe the brakes too 🙂

  17. That’s a great list. My kids also like to bring pillows during road trips.

  18. That is a good deal from Walmart. Loved your family selfie too 🙂

  19. Snacks are #1 on my road trip packing list lol! This is a super list! We like to bring books on CD’s sometimes to make the trip go faster.

  20. Packing for road trips is always a mess in itself. We only have our puppy and ourselves, but it’s still hard to remember everything that we’ll need!

  21. Great tips … I always dread road trips. Going to be more organized this summer before we hit the road.

  22. It’s so nice that they give you the option to shop while waiting for your car to be done with service. I love convince!

  23. I use those same tips when I travel. One thing I also do. I pack a smaller bag inside my bag. To store the things bought on the trip as souvenirs.

  24. Your my hero when it comes to travel tips and this is no exception. I think its easy to overlook Walmart as the oil change place. I’m heading there today to get mine done. High mileage vehicles need that extra care and I want to be ready for our next road trip. Thank you for enlightening me 🙂

  25. We love to take summer road trips and plan to cover a ton of the midwest this summer. Will be consulting your list when tackling the daunting challenge of packing!

  26. This is great information. We love road trips.

  27. Great reminder since I totally need an oil change!

  28. These are great tips for roadtips and super timely as we are getting ready to head out on one! Thanks for all the tips and yes I do need an oil change!

  29. The chargers! We always almost forget the chargers!

  30. We were on a three year road trip when we traveled around in our fifthwheel. Snack, water and a good book were my must haves. I didn’t drive…heh

  31. We bring plenty of snacks and activities to keep the kiddos entertained. I think the longest we have traveled with the kids was 5 hours.

  32. It’s been a while since I took a long road trip. For sure you need to bring along your sense of humor and lots and lots of water–especially if it is summertime!! The Walmarts near me does not have the car service or I would certainly take advantage of it,

  33. I always make sure I have a pillow and a blanket in the car, even in summer. My husband likes to keep it meat locker cold in the car, and I end up freezing.

  34. This is such a great post. I love you pictures. Ear plugs or sound canceling headphones help when the kids start fighting. lol

  35. A sense of humor is definitely a must on any road trip. Plenty of restroom stops and lots of snacks are great, too.

  36. I never really road tripped with me kids until they were in their teens. They mostly just plugged in their phones and ignored the world. Lol.

  37. I love road trips! These are all great tips

  38. Such great essentials. I need to go on a road trip soon!

  39. Great idea! I love how you can show at Walmart while getting your car done. Makes things easier and more fun with the kids.

  40. Definitely a checklist! I always have to make one of those or I will forget something!

  41. I’m the QUEEN of bringing snacks on road trips. I get hangry if I don’t bring enough food for me (and, okay everyone else).

  42. A sense of humor is a must on our family trips. It never goes exactly as planned.

  43. We never go on road trips without the kid’s tablets and snacks and drinks. And still they are always asking “Are we there yet?” by five minutes in!

  44. It is important to plan your road trip ahead of time. Make sure the kids have something to do in the car as they always get bored. As kids my sister and I used to always ask if we were there yet.

  45. Definitely we bring tablets and snacks! I also like to bring crayons and coloring books!

  46. Snacks are a must with my boys! We have to keep food any where we go.

  47. Snacks are a must have when we are traveling. A first aid kit is also a great idea as well.

  48. As avid road trippers (just took one for my birthday and going on another in a week and a half) love this. So very true about keeping a list – and the car should always be safe and in tip top condition – including those oil changes that help with great gas mileage, too! 🙂

  49. A sense of humor is an absolute must!! We always bring snacks, books, music and that kind of thing. I can’t wait for our next road trip!

  50. Electronics and snacks are always at the top of our list. I’m bored and I’m hungry are usually the most complaints that we hear, so we try to go prepared to avoid this!

  51. Wipes and paper towels are a must. I remember one year that my younger son threw up all over the backseat and we didn’t have any napkins in the car. Needless to say we are are always prepared now.

  52. This is a great list. We bring lots of snacks and toys on road trips. My kids also love to bring their travel pillows.

  53. We always go to walmart for our oil changes! Love Pennzoil!

  54. With two kids electronics are a must. The portable potty is a must have for the traveling toddler. Snacks, make the trip better for everything and charging card for all of those devices.

  55. Looks like a great trip. We just drove 6 hours to Florida

  56. We are currently on a road trip and my wonderful husband had our oil changed just before we left. These are all some great tips, especially the snacks!

  57. Keeping plenty of water and non-perishable snacks for the road trip will be something I keep in the car. We’re looking to go to Key West this Summer once the vehicle maintenance is completed.

  58. Roadtrips are the best memories i have with my families. Enjoy and.capturing the moments

  59. I have the best memories of the road trip I took with my daughter when she graduated from college. We drove across country from Utah to Massachusetts. Lots of laughs!

  60. Yes, yes and yes to this! My family takes a ton of road trips and everything you named here is a must to have!

  61. It sounds like you have now mastered the trip essentials for families to travel! What great ideas and will be sharing with me friends who will be embarking on a family trip soon!

  62. These are great tips! I travel to Italy with the kids every summer and snacks are my life-saver, lol!

  63. Road trips are so much fun for families. Such a wonderful bonding time for everyone. Usually we bring snacks, drinks and some movies to play in our van. Can’t wait to take a trip soon.

  64. Road trips are always fun, we took a lot when my girls were dancing. The checklist is a great idea because 30 minutes in I always remembered something I didn’t pack

  65. Great tips for road trips. My hubs always uses Wal Mart for his oil changes and tire rotations. Good info and a great reminder!

  66. Do you drive on road trips? I’m more of a passenger myself. I hate driving anywhere. We go to Brake Masters for our car maintenance because Walmart (in our town) has a bad reputation for car service.

  67. These are some great tips! It can be stressful trying to remember everything, and once you’re in the car, it is too late. Also, an oil change is so important before any car trip. Great deal!

  68. I LOVE roadtrips and I agree with your tips! Especially the healthy snacks, the bag for trash and the water (spilled chocolate milk smells really nasty when spilled in the car). On a recent road trip for girls weekend my friend went to get her car looked over “just in case” and found that there was a nail in her tire, so looking at things like the oil and such are really important pre planning!

  69. We have road trips last weekend I felt that my kids had a tons of fun experienced. I’m sure your kids are very happy and enjoyed that day.

  70. Your family is so cute! I love these tips! I am all about only offering water to drink too!

  71. Seriously great tips for a road trip. I’m going on a 2 day, each way, road trip soon and your tips will help.

  72. You really kill two birds with one stone (a horrible saying, I know) when you get your car checked out while you shop, that’s a smart thing to do. I love your idea about bringing refillable water bottles on the road trip.

  73. I’ve said since Christmas I wanted to do at least one summer road trip, but I feel like we are never going to pull it off. :/

  74. I agree with all this! I’m usually on top of snacks and breaks, and my husband is always harping on the importance of the car being tuned up and in tip top shape for a road trip (and he’s right!!)

  75. These are excellent tips. We just went through this last weekend. I had to have the oil changed in the car and the tires rotated so that my husband was prepared for his trip. I ended up tagging along with the boys.

  76. We always take snacks, drinks, wipes, grocery bags for trash, travel games, a 1st aid kit and a prepaid credit card in case we wind up needing to purchase something in a strange area.

  77. First aid kit is a must! I also make sure not to forget my camera because I take a lot of photos while on the road. 😉 And of course, snacks, water, etc.

  78. There is nothing like a good roadtrip. I find myself having to prepare a full week in advanced.

  79. I love road trips ! They’re a always so fun! This year I plan on learning how to drive so I can start taking road trips around the country I am hoping to end up by the beach. This is such a great guide to road trips

  80. So this post couldn’t have come at a better time since I’m road tripping to Boston tomorrow! Thanks for the great tips.

  81. This is a great list. We make sure I have electronics to keep the kid busy and a thermos of coffee for me. We also like to listen to Audio books. Harry Potter is one of our favorites.

  82. Great post Robin, thank you for these tips! 🙂

  83. We’re always prepared before our road trips. My husband checks the car, and I make sure to bring plenty of snacks and our smart devices. =D

  84. Great list of items needed for a road trip. I love that Walmart has everything to make sure your road trip is a safe and fun one. It really is a one stop shop.

  85. Great tips, thanks for sharing. I always take some extra music, when you cross state lines and no longer get your favorite radio station you will be glad to have your own music. Have a wonderful trip.

  86. Your travel tips were spot on! You should write a travel book! Great photos, love seeing your family, they have awesome smiles!

  87. This is a great list. You’ve got to have safety and entertainment covered for any trip.

  88. I forgot they did tires there! That is a great stop for full on convenience. You can get a ton done there and for so much less!

  89. A great checklist for roadtrips! We are hoping to do one yet this summer and will have your list handy!

  90. We have a few must-carry-alongs for our road trips: audio cds heads that list and dry snacks. It always seems like my 5 year old gets hungry 5minutes into any drive!

  91. Those are all great tips. I also love that you can get your oil changed while you shop.

  92. Thank you for these awesome tips. We are scheduled for our road trip next monlth and thes comes in handy. Roadtrip is fun!


  93. I always make sure to bring snacks! It can get super expensive to grab fast food or gas station snacks the whole trip!

  94. This is a great list for road trips. We always pack snacks and lots of stuff to keep the kids occupied.

  95. Great tips! One day I will actually remember that I can get my oil changed while I’m at Walmart LOL

  96. Snacks are SO important on a road trip. Getting hangry while stuck in the car together is no good.

  97. I’m forever forgetting the safety kit and forever buying bandaids as a result.

  98. These are great tips. I especially agree with bring snacks and have a sense of humor!! Kids on a road trip can be lots of fun if planned correctly!

  99. Snacks are a must for keeping everyone happy.The power of food!

  100. Food and entertainment are my two primary concerns. The rest I can deal with before and after. I get so many of my supplies from WalMart.

  101. I think this is a great list, especially the snacks. We don’t go anywhere without snacks!

  102. Snacks and music are crucial on any road trip! Couldn’t go without either one.

  103. These are great road trip tips and we will be taking a few over the summer. I could not imagine traveling without a wide variety of snacks

  104. We always get an oil change , buy snacks, and create a playlist for every roadtrip. Looks like you guys had a great time!

  105. We bring many of the same things, but always bring wipes, ipads, and cold drinks and snacks, so we don’t have to stop too often.

  106. Fantastic tips. A checklist is so handy and snacks are vital!

  107. Check lists are a must. I would not be able to survive any road trip without them. LOL… Oh and this is a great reminder that I have to get a check up for my car before we head to Galveston… Thanks so much

  108. This is awesome! I love when I can get a lot of things done in one place.. especially when I’m on the road on a trip!

  109. We always separate our stuff so the kids can easily find what they need. electronics in one bag, books and crayons in another, etc.

  110. That is a great deal for synthetic. Thanks for posting the prices because I have always wondered that.

  111. We bring a lot of snacks, but a trash bag is an excellent idea, too!

  112. Ugh, my cars both need new tires soon. Not looking forward to the cost.

  113. I am glad that my tires are good. I make sure that all is good for any trips.

  114. Great checklist! Looks like you are all ready for an awesome road trip!

  115. Checklists are so important when you are going on a road trip. If i don’t make one i always forget something.

  116. I don’t think I could even fatom a roadtrip without a pile of DVD’s and my portable DVD player. SNACKS! of course and some coloring books.

  117. We used to bring a little TV and VHS tapes but that’s a thing of the past these days. But no matter what generation, SNACKS are the bomb.

  118. I can’t tell you how many times the Checklist trick has saved me! I always forget stuff, unless I make a checklist. Then we always have what we need!

  119. We are going on a few road trips this summer and I am grateful for check lists like this because I always end up forgetting something.

  120. Im actually planning a roadtip right now! I have a car review with a Mazda so I needed this list…especially having SNACKS!!

  121. Great tips! I’ll have to pin this for later. We have lots of road trips lined up for this summer.

  122. Being prepared is an absolute necessity for a road trip! You might have to go hours without something you need urgently!

  123. We love a good road trip! I have been taking my kids on a Spring Break road trip the past few years and my list is identical to yours. It’s often the smaller things I end up appreciating most: roll of paper towel, small garbage can, different sizes of Ziploc bags!

  124. I’m all about checklists! You have some great ideas, these really are the essentials.

  125. These are some great tips for road tripping! I’m hoping to be able to go on a road trip later this summer.

  126. We always have snacks and reusable bottles for our road trips.

  127. I loved this article! I especially liked the advice regarding making a check list. I always try to ensure my kids have card games to play as well. They keep them pretty occupied.

  128. All the smiles! I want to go to DC so bad. The drive from here isn’t too bad either. Hubs thinks kiddo might be bored so we might wait another year or two.

  129. You definitely can’t forget the snacks or electronics! And I don’t know what I would do without checklists for any road trip!

  130. I do agree that the older you are, the less clothes you need to pack. You can always wash clothes if needed.

  131. A cooler with water, snacks, a blanket, pillow, and electronics. <– This will get us through a long road trip. 🙂 When my son was a baby/toddler/pre-schooler, he was awesome on road trips… he's 12 now and more difficult. You'd think it would be the other way around. 🙂

  132. I can’t go anywhere without creating a checklist!

  133. I need to work on packing less for myself. I still seem to always over pack! The electronics are a must for my kids. Snack are VERY important. I try to have wipes at all times for spills too.

  134. great tips! I also highly recommend the handy, healthy snacks within reach! Definitely have wipes and paper towels. We also keep a couple of old beach towels and a medium garbage bag within reach — because we have had cases where you suddenly hear “daddy I think I am going to be.. bbbblllaaaaackckckk” and it’s done before you can pull over. ugh.
    some small scented spray in the glove department is not a bad idea either. ha

  135. Snacks and food in general make the vacation for me! Looks like you’re ready.

  136. Wow! This is so handy and definitely very nice! Love all the tips!!

  137. These are really great Tips! I always find myself over-packing then having no space for new purchases. I need to check the weather i advance to know what to bring

  138. Oh man, you just reminded me that we’re wayyyy overdue for an oil change! I’m glad I saw this post. High Mileage oil isn’t something I had considered previously but that’s a great idea and I’ll definitely be making the switch after this so, uh, props to you for providing a useful review 😛 haha

    (We’re *also* overdue for one of those long road trips…)

  139. We always love taking road trips, but they can be tiring! Definitely agree with bringing lots of snacks that are good for you, keep you energized, and are easy to eat. I also couldn’t agree more about having a sense of humor. Chances are things are going to go wrong, especially if you’re traveling with kids. Laughing is always better than crying, right?

  140. We love road trips, but it is always great to be prepared for snacks!

  141. Besides snacks? Ha! Books, magazines, a notepad, and my journal. I write down tidbits of what’s going on because I can’t remember everything, and I want to make sure I do! lol

  142. Snacks and drinks are biggies for us too! I make sure to keep lots of baggies of activities for the kids too

  143. This is an awesome list of essentials for traveling with the family. I have to admit I think the biggest things are the checklist and the sense of humor. Thanks for sharing.

  144. My family loves road trips! Thank you for sharing tips and your roadtrip essentials.

  145. Snacks for sure, devices and the Chargers and water

  146. Great tips! We always make sure to pack phone chargers and water for the dogs. Thanks for sharing the rollback info at Walmart, too! #client

  147. We’re hitting the road to go to San Diego soon. Lots of snacks and kid entertainment are on the list! You’re right, a sense of humor is a must too!

  148. Road trips are so fun and they make the best memories!  I’m sure your family had a blast. You were definitely well prepared.

  149. Going potty before the trip and at every stop because you know the moment you don’t is when someone will cry they have to pee. Bring some type of notebook/puzzles/coloring book for entertainment …that or video games/movies. Also a very important part, always, always, always make sure your trunk is properly closed. Trust me it is embarrassing when you are having to pull off the side of the road to pick up all your luggage that just spilled out on the highway at a check point.

  150. We drove from the West Coast of Florida to the East Coast and back again stopping for gas on the expressway, since there was no more gas stations for 45 miles, the gas station was triple the amount of the normal product cost, we said next time lets be prepared!

  151. Road trips are a lot of fun. The kids learn a lot. Always important to have your car maintained for any road trip.