Teens tend to love traveling, but most of them hate riding in the car for long periods. This makes a family road trip a challenge. The Ultimate Road Trip Packing List for Teens: How to Survive contains ideas I use for travel planning for my own family. Parents will reap the gifts of a well-crafted road trip packing list as well because there will be less complaining from teens. This brings smiles to parents’ faces and makes for pleasant traveling, so I’m sharing my ideas to help:) Check it out below!
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My family loves to travel and we try to take a vacation every year. Whether we fly or drive, I have my kids pack up a backpack with things to help prevent boredom. My teens often have low patience for long trips so they benefit from careful planning for a packing list. Boredom leads to complaining, so it’s best just to try and avoid it with a good plan;) Pleasant travel time depends on keeping kids occupied; this is my goal as a mom. We need to survive the travel portion of the trip to get to the fun stuff.
I have three boys, so these ideas are boy-focused, but I’m sure girls may love some of these things too;)
The Ultimate Road Trip Packing List for Teens: How to Survive
Food & Beverages
Two words. Pack snacks:)
Food and individual snacks are essential for traveling with teens. Teens get hungry and then cranky; I list this first for that very reason. Here are some ideas of what to pack for snacks for a family road trip:
- beef jerky
- cashews, peanuts, almonds, pistachios (unshelled is easiest in the car)
- Nutella® with breadsticks
- granola bars
- fruit roll-ups
- individual bags of chips
- string cheese or cheese sticks (pack in a small cooler)
- yogurt drinks
- individual packets of crackers
- snack mixes with crackers and pretzels
- trail mixes with raisins and nuts
- favorite candies
- sports drinks
- water bottles
- iced tea
- soda pop
Stopping at a gas station for snacks is also a favorite part of going on a road trip for my kids. It’s fun for them to pick something while out on the road.
Parenting Tip for Traveling with Teens: Let teens have a say in trip activities. If teenagers help plan the trip, they will be much more willing to participate, plus they will have more fun!
Phones & Electronics
Phones are a must for teens if they have one. Electronics of some sort are a necessary evil on road trips with kids. They work so well to occupy kids and teens that they are an absolute essential for a travel kit. Bring along a tablet or iPad with movies loaded on it as well to occupy kids.
Making sure the car charger works before leaving is an absolute must. I even bring an extra along in case one dies on the trip.
A portable charger is an ideal item to pack as well. Be sure to charge it up before embarking on the trip. This is a perfect charger back-up in case the car charger isn’t working or if the cord doesn’t reach the person using the device.
Kids can even read on their phones, so phones aren’t all bad;) See below for some book suggestions.
Books & DVD’s
Whether the book is an actual physical book, an audible book, or an ebook on a device, books are a great way to occupy kids. Plus, it will get them off of games for awhile anyway.
Bring a portable DVD player or iPad to play movies on while in transit to help them stay occupied and entertained. Happy riders who don’t complain make for a happy car ride!
My boys have enjoyed these books and/or movies:
My fellow females, check out this awesome new Contemporary Teen and YA Romance novel (moms and teen girls;) coming out this summer in July (2018). I’ve pre-ordered it myself and I can’t wait to read it!
And this sweet one is on my list to read too this summer:)
Ear Buds & Ear Phones
Test the earbuds and earphones prior to the trip to make sure they work. Bring extras because if one set breaks, it’s a disaster and everyone in the car will be listening to several games, movies, or music all at once. Sounds like a crazy situation and no one will survive it!
Have teens load up their phones with a playlist so they can listen to music on the drive. There are free apps to put playlists on. Teens may already have song lists on their phones, but if not, before a road trip is a good time to add them.
Items for Comfort
Neck pillows are a must for traveling with teens. We were in an airport once and my boys wanted a neck pillow as their souvenir because they wanted to be comfortable on the flight. I kept asking them if the neck pillow was really what they wanted and I got emphatic nods. They were so happy on the plane for that trip so I knew it was a good purchase! Now they bring the neck pillows anytime we go on a road trip too.
Small soft throw blankets from home are great to bring along too for comfort or if they get cold. Blankets work great also if some people are cold, yet others want the air conditioning on full blast. If we are driving, sometimes my boys have brought the pillows from their own beds. Sometimes my boys even take a nap! Blessed is the nap even in the teen years, my fellow moms!
Other items for comfort include:
- lip balm
- ear plugs (for sleep or for the introvert who needs silence)
- comfortable shoes
- comfortable clothes
- jacket or sweatshirt
- personal mist fan (can use with or without water)
We stumbled upon the personal, portable handheld mist fan one year. My boys fell in love. It can be refilled with water or it can even be used just as a fan without water (if you don’t want the car to get all wet).
We always seem to have disagreements in our car about whether the air is too high or too low. If my boys each have their own fan, they can cool themselves when needed, which is perfect because it reduces complaints!
Tip: Bring a towel!
Bonus tip: My boys also use these fantastic fans for sports practices or when outside to cool down. They are perfect to bring to an amusement park too. We’ve been on vacation to amusements parks where these fan spritzers are sold and they are usually expensive, so save yourself some money and bring your own!
For kids who like to write, get them a travel journal to record all the fun things they do and see on the road trip. This will give them something to do plus help them create a keepsake of the trip they can enjoy for life.
Teens could even take photos and put them into the journal to make it more like a scrapbook.
For the young teen artist, get him or her a new drawing notebook, pens, pencils, or markers for the trip.
Educational Activities & Games
If you can get kids to do something educational (but still fun), that’s a bonus! Try having them do a word game with Mad Libs® with a sibling. Loads of laughter often results! These books are a blast from the past for me, I loved these books as a kid! They can be as silly or as serious as they want with it.
If kids are within reach of each other, which could be good or bad depending on moods, they can play games. We love to play card games on trips.
FitSand (TM) Travel Zipper Carry EVA Hard Case for UNO Card Game – Black Box, Blacker Box, Best Protection for UNO Cards
All Things Equal, Inc. Loaded Questions On The Go card game
Magnetic Board Game Set by GAMIE – Includes 12 Retro Fun Games – 5″ Compact Design – Individually Boxed – Teaches Strategy & Focus – Great for Road Trip/ Travel/ Camping – Best Gift for Kids Ages 6+
While this next game is for 8+ and might be more appealing to younger kids, I think teens will enjoy it too, especially with younger siblings in the vehicle.
Road Trip Packing List Essentials to Survive Traveling with Kids!
I hope this post about road trip essentials with The Ultimate Road Trip Packing List for Teens: How to Survive Family Travel helps families plan for their vacations. Parents will reap the benefits too of a well-crafted road trip packing list with road trip supplies to keep teens and kids happy. These road trip necessities make for pleasant traveling with kids.
I hope you have found some useful ideas that will help your teens and kids endure long travel times to help improve the travel experience for them (and you).
Tell me your own road trip packing list essentials to survive traveling with kids in the comment section below, we need to help each other out in this parenting world! I’d love to hear your ideas.
Have fun on your trip!
Looking for more ideas on family travel? Check out these ideas teens might enjoy on vacation.
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