Gearing up for a road trip

Hey! We are finally going off on a road trip tomorrow… It’s been almost 4 years since our last major one so Sanjib and I are pretty excited. But with us is a little kid, our 3 year old who is not just active but very, very curious. And on the way back, we will have our elder one too with us, an equally active and curious nine-year-old. There is, therefore, a lot more planning and packing to do then usually needed. ‘Veteran’ road trippers that we are, Sanjib and I got most of the stuff needed in just one 30-minute trip to the super market. Our conversation: Coffee pouches..check, sugar pouches..not there…doesn’t matter..just take a plastic container with cubes…thank heavens for these one cup soup pouches…



But shopping trips like this don’t happen out of the blue. and they are certainly not the beginning. Days before this shopping episode or should I say a couple of months ago, I was surrounded by guide books and maps, trying to plan the best route from our home in Assam to our son’s school in Ajmer, Rajasthan. Once I (or we… anyway it’s the same thing 😛 ) decided on the route, we started getting route maps ready for our daily route. At the same time, I also started making a list of things to take, places to stay the nights, spoke to friends for tips.


There are probably 101 things that you need to check check check before it’s all done. However, you do not have space for 101 things…so here are 15 things that you MUST take with you on a road trip with kids.


1. A Global Positioning system (GPS) for your car. We have one by Garmin that we had got in 2010 and luckily it’s still working fine although we hardly use it where we stay…It’s only in trips like this that we start thinking about it. Your car might already have one pre-installed, If there’s no GPS, don’t worry, there’s always Google maps in your phone.


2. Hard copy of Maps. Yes, I know. It’s a bother but still, you never know when your network goes off or the batteries run down. Anyway I guess this is something that makes you feel like you are travelling..just take them for the feel good factor if nothing else!


3. Car Papers. Make sure all your car papers are intact. As you will be travelling through different states, this is very important. Insurance papers, Pollution check papers, Registration… check, check.


4. Personal papers. Check your credit/debit cards, driving license, passport or any other ID apart from driver’s license, medical insurance papers/copies, hotel reservation papers, any prescriptions you may need to fill.


5. A playlist on a pen-drive. We do get radio all across the country but sometimes, you might want to listen to your own choice and it always helps to have a pen-drive full of your favourite songs. Take two if need or three or four, keeping different moods separately.


6. Toiletry case. What all should you put in it? There are so many things that you want to put in but you know you can’t so let’s stick to the basics that you will absolutely need. Maybe we can leave out the foundation and blusher from the car toilet case. Here’s a list: Wet wipes, hand sanitizer, hand wash, a small jar of baby lotion, tooth paste and brushes, hair brush, shampoo pouches, a small jar of shower gel, face wash, lip balm, a lipstick and a kajal pencil. A roll of toilet paper.


7. Medicine. Take along a few basic stuff. Antacid (we are taking Eno pouches), paracetamol tablets, pain relief tablets (yes, you might need them), any prescribed medication, pediatric paracetamol, anti-histamine and tummy upset medication. Mosquito cream is also there on the list. Nasal spray and Band-aids also please.


8. Sunglasses and sunscreen.


9. Food!! There are so many things you need. As with the rest, you cannot carry everything but the essential. What we are taking is coffee sachets, sugar cubes (would have preferred sachets), hot water flasks, milk powder, juice, single cup pouches of soup, mini oats packets, maggi packets, bananas, oranges, bread, jam, cheese slices, biscuits. Take some boiled eggs too for the day, wherever you find some. a few cans of coke or Red bull does help to keep you awake. so take a few. Take a cooler full of water bottles and drinks likes these. Never take alcoholic drinks along on a road do not want them, believe me. We will stop for food but sometimes, you do not have a single place (yes, NOT a single place for food) through over many, many kilometres. And then suddenly you come across a small shed selling can quickly make some soup or maggi for yourself and the kid.


10. Your camera!! This is a must and you should not forget to take it along. Keep it charged and charge it every evening if you can. download the day’s pictures on your laptop or on a hard disc and keep it free for the next day.


11. A car charger. Take one with different heads for different phones.


12. Blankets and pillows. It’s a long, long way after all..and you need to sleep so why not do it properly?


13. Comfortable shoes or sandals. Be comfortable and do not pay heed to fashion… of course there are fashionable comfortable shoes too..but the main focus should be on comfort. Take a change.


14. Some travel games and a frisbee. Just in case.


15. A flashlight and an umbrella.


Well, these are the most essential stuff.. you can add more. Stuff like binoculars, fishing rods, tents… Once you start, the list gets endless. ultimately it depends on what you are making the road trip for… The most important thing is your spirit of adventure… do not forget to take it along.

Rhinusmita Kakoty Lahkar

Rhinusmita Kakoty Lahkar

Rhinusmita Kakoty Lahkar started off as a reporter cum copyeditor for the magazine North East Sun. She has been an editor with Tata McGraw-Hill and have also been associated as a freelance with publishing houses like Rupa, OUP, Wisdom Tree, Viva. She has been deputy coordinator with Centre for Science and Environment. She is passionate about sports, books and movies.