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Create DIY Road Trip Survival Packs

Summer vacation is here and many families are hitting the roads. Road trips offer a chance for families to bond while spending time together in the car and saving money on airfare costs. Taking time to put together a road trip survival pack will ensure you are fully prepared, helping make the trip run smoothly and hopefully stress-free. Here are some tips on what to pack in a survival pack to help with boredom, car sickness and anything else that can happen when traveling by car as a family.

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Activity Items

Pack a small bag to keep in the car with you at all times. This should have things to keep the kids busy during the times they are stuck in the car. These activities should be games that everyone can enjoy and share during the trip. Some small activity items to include are:

  • Bubbles - The kids will be laughing and having a blast passing time while trying to pop the bubbles. Use smaller bottles so there is less of a clean up should one accidentally spill.
  • I Spy Bottle - Turn a small plastic bottle, such as one for peanut butter or mayonnaise, into a handheld I Spy game. Fill the bottle three-quarters of the way with brown rice and add small items from the home. Items to include are mini pompons, googly eyes, safety pins, buttons and small toys. Screw the lid on tight and give the kids a list of everything they need to find in the bottle.

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Kids' Travel Bags

Make each child feel special by packing a small travel bag filled with items just for them. A small backpack is enough or even an old diaper bag that is no longer being used will work perfectly. Fill the bag with many surprises to keep your kids busy while traveling. Pack each bag with similar items, while still keeping it different. For example, give each child a coloring book, but select one with each child's favorite characters or storylines. Other items to include in each child's bag are:

  • Silly putty
  • Dot-to-dot books
  • Mad Libs
  • Books
  • Paper
  • Colored pencils
  • Clipboard
  • Flash cards
  • Colorful pipe cleaners

Related: A Guide To Vacationing In Los Angeles

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Cooler And Food Bag

Keep a variety of drinks and snacks in a cooler in the car. This will help with any mid-break munchies. Avoid packing chocolate, mostly because it can melt. Put food in small snack-size bags so everyone can have their own bag when they get hungry. Suggested snacks and easy-to-eat foods to include in your cooler and food bag are:

  • String cheese
  • Bottles of water
  • Drinkable yogurt
  • Granola bars
  • Baby carrots
  • Grapes
  • Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Fruit roll-ups
  • Trail mix

Clean-Up Tools

You will be traveling in the car for long distances. Chances are something is going to happen and someone will eventually end up spilling some food or a drink. Keep a variety of clean-up tools within reach of everyone while on the road. This way you do not have to stop just to get a paper towel or wet wipe for sticky fingers. Some clean-up tools to bring with you include:

  • Paper towels
  • Extra napkins
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Wet wipes
  • Small plastic bags

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There are always some extras that need to be packed. These little extras will ensure that the kids stay busy the entire time you are on the road. Some extras include:

  • DVD player and movies
  • Handheld game devices
  • All necessary chargers
  • Pillows and blankets

Photo Credit: JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images

Travel Necessities

Many of the above-listed items are geared toward keeping the peace in the car while driving. Though toys, games, food and clean-up tools are necessary, so are other road trip-related items. Here are some travel necessities you should have with you in the car or in the trunk:

  • Updated maps and/or navigation system
  • Travel guides for cities you're driving through
  • Roll of quarters for tolls and vending machines
  • Extra change of clothes in case something spills
  • Blanket for roadside picnics

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First Aid Kit

You never know what could happen during a road trip. Someone could get a splinter on an old wood railing or even a headache from being stuck in the car for too long. Here are some items you should have packed in your car's first aid kit:

  • Motion sickness relievers
  • Neosporin
  • Bandages
  • Anti-bacterial wipes
  • Tylenol
  • Sunscreen
  • Anti-itch bug bite reliever

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Roadside Emergency Kit

Many of the items you will be packing for your trip will be useful in case of a roadside emergency. However, there are a few extra items that can be added to your car when packing to help in case of an emergency. These items include:

  • Flashlight
  • Flares
  • Spare tire (check to make sure it is inflated)
  • Tire iron and jack (check to make sure they are there)

Help ensure your upcoming family road trip goes smoothly by packing all of the necessary items you and the kids will need. Make sure to pack things to keep the kids busy, keep you all fed and ensure your safety should an emergency occur.

Related: America's Best High-End Restaurants

Heather Landon is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has combined two of her passions - writing and travel - to share her experiences with others. You can read more of her articles at

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