Raise your hand if you enjoy taking road trips with kids? For me – they are fun but extremely stressful. There are essentials for a road trip with kids that can make your travel more enjoyable though. It is so important to be prepared for anything – car sickness, potty accidents, hunger, thirst, and boredom.
We took our first long road trip with our daughters this past weekend. It took us 9.5 hours to drive to Ohio and 10 hours to drive back. I would like to say the trip was uneventful, but during the last hour of our drive, Annabelle vomited all over herself, her toys, and her car seat. Thankfully I had plastic bags ready for our oldest who gets car sick, as well has cleaning wipes.
If you’re going on a road trip with kids, don’t forget these 10 essentials for any kind of emergency.
1. Grocery Store Plastic Bags
I always save our grocery store plastic bags to use for trash or soiled clothes on a family road trip (or even plane ride). It is easier to toss a vomit covered shirt into a plastic bag, tie up the top, and place it on the floor until you get home.
2. Wet Wipes/Antibacterial Wipes
From dirty hands to juice box spills, it is helpful to have a big container of wet wipes to clean any messes your children may create. I also stock up on Lysol Wipes for the big messes, like vomit, and hand sanitizer for quick disinfecting after a bathroom break at a rest stop.
3. Portable Toilet Seat
Annabelle usually refuses to go to the bathroom in a public place unless I line the entire room with protective paper. I bought oversized toilet seat covers Annabelle approves of for public restrooms.
4. Insulated Water Bottles
Bringing along your own water will save you money (and time from stopping) for thirsty travelers. We like a variety of insulated water bottles – from the 10 oz. Contigo, to the 12 oz. Camelback, to a 12 oz. Frozen themed Thermos, the girls have tried them all. I fill the bottles with ice and water before we leave the house and pack them in a small cooler on the floor in the backseat where I can easily reach them and pass them out when the girls are thirsty.
Another way to save money from overpriced gas station snacks is to bring your own. I buy snacks for road trips in bulk – Goldfish, Fig Bars (our favorite), popcorn, apple sauce pouches – whatever your kids like you should bring in the car.
6. First Aid Kit
Accidents can happen on road trips – from the pesky paper cut to the sister squabble ending in a scratch, it is always important to have bandaids and ointment on hand. I have a First Aid Kit with 121 pieces for any scenario that is lightweight and easy to bring along on a road trip with kids.
7. Change of Clothes
If your children end up covered in food or water, or perhaps you don’t make it to a rest stop in time, it is so important to have a change of clothes easily accessible in the car. I pack a change of clothes in my diaper bag every time I leave the house – underwear, socks, shorts/pants, a shirt, and a sweatshirt.
8. Pillow and Blanket
We like to leave for our road trips while the children are still sleeping early in the morning or late at night. My daughters prefer their own special pillow and blanket in the car (and at hotels), so we always bring our own on a road trip.
Most kids like to watch a movie on a long road trip – so we obviously bring along a portable DVD player and iPad. However, Annabelle can become car sick more quickly when she is staring at a screen, so I have a backpack filled with activities: stickers, coloring books, colored pencils (less messy), Imagine Ink books, a baby doll, barbies, etc.
One item I haven’t purchased yet is travel activity tray – with pockets and a flat top, it seems genius for kids in carseats.
When you’re driving a long distance with kids in the backseat watching different electronic devices, it can be hard to hear your GPS or your own music. Make sure your kids have headphones with tangle free cords to plug into their devices.
Caitlin Houston is a Wallingford blogger and mom of two who loves sharing all of her favorites on the Caitlin Houston Blog. Learn about fun activities at home, family friendly travels, easy recipes and more.