I'm sure anyone could create their own worthy list, however, with this being our 2nd long, long, long distant trip, here is my crack at the necessary traveling essentials:
1. Completely packed truck.
Mind you, we purposely did not chose to take the mini-van.
We have a lot of crap to haul with us.
2. "The Bible"
By that I mean the PCS binder. Calendars, confirmation numbers, original documents, directions, etc all tucked into sheet protectors. Divided into 4 sections appropriately labeled: The Move, Roadtrip, Rental House, & School Registration. Literally, everything we need to make this crazy last move run as smoothly as possible.
3. The road trip calendar (which is in The Bible)
4. Travel cot
Because 9 out of 10 hotels rooms have 2 queen beds which sleep 4 people, you can see the problem a family of 5 will have - one of the kids is always odd-man out. To solve this problem, we bought a nice travel cot that folds up quickly & fairly compactly. And because Thomas is the oldest, we let him have this prized bed. And trust me, he loves it. And he loves not sharing a bed with his sister(s).
Other important travel essentials include:
5. Zip lock baggie of "emergency clothes" for each kiddo tucked under their seat. That way, when needed, they are in easy reach and you don't need to dig into a suitcase that is packed away deep in the trunk or in the middle of everything. And trust me, we needed to use one of ours before we even got on the Ferry in Alaska.
6. Portable DVD player(s) & movies. And 3 sets of headphones. This needs no explanation.
7. iPhones for GPSs. Of course, every other feature & app are great too, especially with little kids.
8. Cozy blankets for each kiddo in the car. This is really good to encourage nap time when the A/C is on high & everyone has a full belly from lunch.
9. Backpacks filled with coloring & activity books, crayons/markers, pads of paper for creativity, reading books & maps to keep the kids busy, entertained & happy!
10. A stocked cooler of drinks, snacks, water & other essentials. This also needs no explanation.
11. Small container filled with kids' medicines. We have used this one several times already & we all know that you need to have this on hand when the time calls (driving on the highway or in the middle of the night) because stopping at the store is not as convenient as we all think.
12. Travel tote bag (I use one of my large Thirty-One bags with handles) that stores everything we bring into the hotels each night for comforts. A small portable fan for noise, a small docking station to play some music for the kids when they go to bed (both help with noise & help get kids to sleep while Brian & I are still up), swimmies & goggles for the pool, & night lights for bathroom & room so it's not totally dark for kids.
13. A laundry tote/backpack. Obviously, a family of 5 can make a lot of laundry (even when we conserve and where things more than once), so having an easy-to-tote laundry bag to haul to the wash room is essential. I found a big, cheap backpack-style one that has worked perfect for us.