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Kids Road Trip Must Haves

I have been wanting to do this blog post for a while.  Over the past 6.5 years with kids we have taken so many trips.  Some flying, and many driving, so I wanted to share what my favorite items are.  I definitely think that kids road trip must haves are a bit different than flying, due to space and time, so I will try to explain why I picked these items, and elaborate on a few other tips for you all!

Kids Road Trip Must Haves

Road trip with kids favorite round up

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13 // 14 // 15 // 16 // 17 // 18

Added Tips

Before I get to the breakdown of the kids road trip must haves, one thing I will say when it comes to road trips, is there is a fine line between taking advantage of the added space due to your car, verses over packing.  You can definitely enjoy some of the luxuries you don’t get to bring via a plane ride, but don’t go overboard.

** a few items that aren’t on the above graphic

Bring a few trash bags –   If there is an accident in the car or throw up you will want one.  On top of that using one for dirty laundry during the trip is super helpful.  We always just throw the bag in on the way home and it never goes past the laundry room.

A Roll of Paper towels – That sounds simple, but is so easily forgotten.  It can save the day if needed.

Medicine – I will touch on this during the breakdown from the graphic, but when we travel in the car we always bring kids tylonel type medicine.  We have been caught in so many situations where we need it.

Batteries – So many kids items take batteries.  When we travel I bring a few double and triple A batteries.  (believe me I learned the hard way with a 2 am trip to the drug store for batteries in Hilton Head years ago!)

Kids Road Trip Must Haves

  1. Tula Blanket – I have a few different blanket brands that are my favorite, but I love that these big blankets are super soft but roll or fold up small due to the fabric!
  2. Double pocket pencil pouches – I keep crayons in one and a small notepad in one, or sometimes matchbox cars or animals.
  3. Sterilite Container – I can not take the credit for this, however I think its genius and I have used it on our last few road trips.  I pack one of these for each kid with snacks in each compartment, other than one of the long ones.  I take that one out and put one of these juices in it.  They have a visual of their snacks for the trip, have access to them, and can decide if they want to eat them all at once, or spread it out.  I also like that the container serves as a flat surface to color.
  4. These utility totes are my favorite.  I have a a few styles, but love the ones with compartments. You can pack them up with food, toys, diapers and wipes, you name it.  I love that I can just easily carry it into the house or hotel when we get there.
  5. Gathre mat – I always throw one in.  Whether its for on the way if we end up needing to pull over to picnic, or for when were on vacation and I need a place for my kids to do a craft or eat something messy.  Its a small item that can make life easier.
  6. External charger.  If your car doesn’t have charing ports near your kids seats and they will be using tablets or something similar this will save the day.
  7. Kids Backpacks – have your kids pack the toys they want in one backpack.  I keep it at their feet, but mostly love that it gives them a bag thats the same size to pack up.
  8. Wireless headphones
  9. Replay Recycled cups – I bring these because I can put anything in them and they are an easy clean.  I don’t like the kids to have juice boxes and such in the car, so in the car they save us from messes, and can transition from different liquids on the trip.
  10. Countertop high chair – if you have a child highchair age, this is a great investment.  We got one when our oldest was a baby and have used it SO MANY times over the years.
  11. Toddler Monitor – Disclaimer I don’t yet have this, but will be getting it before out next trip.  This toddler monitor  can hang on your hotel room door or any other door and alert you if your child opens it.  I think for a hotel room or something similar it would be great so I could shower.  my older two kids are more than fine to be left alone in the room while I am in the bathroom showering, but this would give me piece of mind!
  12. White noise Machine – I love that this one can be battery oporated or plugged in.
  13. Collapsible toilet seat – this is the best invention ever for travel!
  14. Lite Brite – The new Lite Brite’s are super small with a little container that holds the pegs.  They are great for travel!
  15. Vomit bags – I know it sounds crazy, but these are amazing.  We keep a stash in our glove box ALWAYS, but on road trips I put one on each side of the third row, because if that urge hits I want them to catch it. Trust me you will be happy someday that you made this purchase.
  16. Travel crib – we personally got this one when we had walker.  It is smaller than most and can be carried in as a backpack.  Either way, a pack n play is a must.
  17. Thermometer – I touched on this with the medicine comment above, but if there is one medical thing you pack, make it your thermometer.  You won’t want to have to buy one, and you never know when you will need one. My kids tend to get run down on vacations super easily and thats when they get sick.
  18. Toddler blow up bed. – this bed is AMAZING. We got ours about 4 years ago, and the outer material is much much much more durable than an average blow up bed.  You put a crib sheet over the middle part and my kids love it.  Jack is 6.5 and still uses it when we travel, so it does age well, and I can honestly say I think its worth the price.  It comes with its own pump too!


Overall, traveling with kids is a bit stressful.  There is a lot to pack, and you will try to guess what you can live without more than you want to.  These items I can honestly say that all of these kids road trip must haves are items I LOVE (aside from the toddler monitor that I don’t yet have), and I truly feel will make your time with young kids and travel much easier!  Is there anything you never leave home without?  Drop it in the comments! And for more travel favorites check out this post on my mom travel favs!

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