Introduction by : Lauren Ambrico
I first met Jaci about a year and a half ago in a Christian Truthers Facebook group. My first thoughts of her were: this woman is tenacious, fearless, and her transparency is inspiring. I knew early on we would be close friends. Soon after we became Facebook friends. Within a couple months we became long-distance BFFs. Jaci is a God- serving, truther, trucker-wife, homeschooling crunchy mama of 4... and she is wonderful! She has talked and prayed me through some stressful times over the course of the last year. The passing of my mother-in-law, some postpartum anxiety, and the overwhelming tasks of creating Lil' Olive Tree. She is truly a gift from God. I am an only child, and God knew I needed a sister. He has blessed me with Jaci, and I can't wait to meet her in person one day... perhaps I'll take a road trip. So without further ado, allow me to introduce Jaci Lopez, The Domestic Mombie, and her practical and essential 15 Top product recommendations for a family road trip
15 Top Must-Haves for a Family Road Trip
So you are going on a road trip with the fam, huh? I recently did too. When I made the decision to drive the 9 hours from my cozy north Texas country home to see a friend in north Kansas, I went to the expert: Google. There are dozens of blogs that will give you great lists to pack for your road trip, but you have a family! Face it, even if we wanted all the high tech gadgets they recommend, you and I both know all those fancy gadgets are going to get spilled on, dropped when the door opens, or fought over. If you are like me, you may have an overall low-tech fam any way. So, here is my must have list for my four children, our three boxers and myself for any road trip:
Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links. Read Lil' Olive Tree's full disclosure policy here.
First, the obvious, but sometimes forgotten:
1. License, Registration, Insurance- These should be with you/in your car at all times any way.
2. Jumper Cables- Since not everyone carries these, it’s good to be prepared in case you leave a light on in your car and your battery dies.
3. Flashlight- We brought our Head Lamp with us for a hands free flashlight. This one can also charge your phone in an emergency:
4. Sunglasses- No one wants to squint while driving.
5. Reusable water cups- Stay hydrated while on the road. If you are like me and drink coffee 12 hours a day, you need to stay hydrated also. Staying hydrated will help keep you from feeling sluggish and tired.
6. Chap stick, hair ties, empty grocery bags- Keep your lips moisturized, your hair tamed when your windows are down and garbage bags ready to be used for quick car clean outs at gas fill ups.
7. Water jug- Since our 3 boxers were coming with us, we brought a 3 gallon refillable water jug with us. My mind was at ease knowing that if we broke down, or went a long stretch of road without a place to stop, we would all have water.
8. Blankets- If your road trip is in the winter, keep thicker fleece blankets in the car with you in case you break down in below freezing weather and it’ll take a few hours or more for help to get to you. Also keep chocolate bars in the glove box for the same reason. It’s helpful to have things to help with your blood sugar. This is also why I brought trail mix, a loaf of bread and organic peanut butter with us.
My personal recommendations:
1. Bring a Bluetooth for hands free talk on the road. If you are going through multiple states and you don’t know what the cell phone laws are in those states, it’s good to have a reliable Bluetooth ear piece or head set. I personally LOVE my LG TONE Studio. They have in-ear earphones as well as speakers. I turn on the speaker setting for my younglings when they want to Facetime Daddy, but the ear buds don’t fit in their ears. The battery life lasts for a few days for me, and I’m on them all of the time.
2. Essential Oils: Plant Therapy has the KidSafe line that was super helpful! I ordered the KidSafe Starter 6 Set on Amazon Prime. It includes “A+ Attention,” “Calming The Child,” “Germ Destroyer,” “Immune Boom,” “Nighty Night” and “Sniffle Stopper”. You can order yours here:
3. Rollon Bottles: Make your own EO roller balls before you leave. This way, if your youngling gets fussy or is fighting her sleep, it’s already diluted and ready to use. Make one for yourself for headaches or neck tension also. If you aren’t used to driving hours at a time, it will help keep the neck and shoulder tension down. I ordered these on Amazon. There are six refillable rollon bottles in the set and it came with a handy tool to make removing the ball top easily without spilling oil everywhere:
4. Carrying Case for your Essential Oils: I ordered this adorable little clutch purse. It holds full sized EO bottles as well as the above rollon bottles:
5. Car Diffuser: Diffuse oils in your car to keep everyone calm on the road! This plugs into your car and you only need a couple of drops to fill your entire car with whichever scent you desire.
6. Book Bins: These bins were perfect for holding books between 2 car seats. In the 3rd row of our SUV, 2 car seats sit forward facing with a seat empty between them. I put one book bin to hold the books upright so they can choose which book to look through and read while on the road.
7. I made the younglings busy bags with crayons, blank paper, coloring books, clip boards. I put cardstock in page protectors and put extra fine tip dry erase markers in a pencil pouch with a dry eraser so they could easily erase and draw.
8. Spry Gum: Studies have shown that bacteria cannot break down xylitol, and when chewed after eating, gum with xylitol helps prevent cavities.
9. First Aid Kit: Ibuprofen, children’s ibuprofen, ginger chews, and a snack box. Trail mix, plantain chips, cut apples and carrots are great snacks on the road. Ginger chews are great if you or a little one gets car sick.
10. Water Wipes- There are only 2 ingredients in these wipes which make them great for wiping faces, hands and bottoms.
11. Portable Toilet: OXO Tot 2-in-1 Go Potty for Travel is great to use in public restrooms as well as to use outside if you are in the outskirts without a bathroom for miles:
12. Cell Phone Holder: Something to hold your cell hands free so you can see the GPS map is invaluable. I ordered this one:
13. Car mounted cargo bags: We used these since our boxers were in the cargo area of the back of the SUV. I was hesitant about how sturdy they may or may not be, but they both held up well driving through freezing and below freezing weather:
Rightline Gear 100B90 Cargo Saddlebag:
I also ordered this:
COOCHEER 20 Cubic Feet Waterproof Car Top Carrier
I will say, the roof cargo is not a hard shell and is like a huge duffle bag. The straps were not as long as they show in the picture, so I had to buy some ratchet straps to use to firmly secure the cargo bag. Overall, I would still recommend it as the space you get for the price is incredibly helpful if you are on a smaller budget. Also a tip: lay your yoga mat between the roof cargo bag and the roof of your car. This will help keep the bag from shifting and scratching the roof of your car.
14 & 15. Last but not least, I brought our Fuji Fil Instax camera. My children got a kick out of taking pictures and them being printed right away. I even taught them how to “shake” the picture like I did when I was their age.
Instax Mini 9:
We had a fantastic trip! Driving is rough with young ones. The above mentioned items helped make the trip so much smoother, though.
The Domestic Mombie
Check out these other amazing road trip finds on Amazon: