Headed on a family road trip? Let’s be honest – traveling with kids is an extraordinary yet somewhat challenging experience. Having the right road trip essentials in your diaper bag, glove box, and luggage can make everything easier and less stressful. Road trips done right with the family create incredible core memories but may come at a cost to your sanity (and your wallet). But when you’re prepared, you can tackle any emergency or hiccup! We’ve got you covered with the best family road trip games and activities, road trip essentials for emergencies, and everything in between.
At Safe in the Seat, we’ve been on a road trip or two (or ten), and we’ve got the ultimate road trip packing list. You can head over to our Amazon Shop for our entire catalog of helpful road trip products, and today we’ve rounded up our top picks.
50+ Family Road Trip Essentials
Road Trip Essentials for Emergencies
First aid kits are a necessity for any trip! This compact option has everything you need, and it’s the perfect size for the car glove box, your luggage, or the diaper bag.
Whether the kids left the dome light on or the door didn’t get shut all the way, a dead battery in the morning isn’t an uncommon family road trip mishap! This portable charger can jump-start your car and get you moving. And it can also charge your phone and tablets!
If you have a child with motion sickness struggles, you’re probably already dreading your upcoming road trip. We have a bunch of motion sickness products in our Amazon Storefront that will hopefully keep your kiddo comfortable. Grab a few of those prevention tools, but always keep your car stocked with vomit bags.
These are the best wipes to keep in the car! Even when your littles are out of diapers, keep these wipes on you at all times. They’re over 99% water-based, which makes them great for wiping faces, hands, and even small messes around the car. The fact that they’re water-based makes them a great, gentle cleaning wipe for your car seats as well!
These are a must when you have kiddos! Kids mean messes between potty accidents, spills, etc. You can toss any wet or gross clothes or items right into this bag to keep them sealed and out of the way until you reach your destination. These are also great for trips to the beach, splash pad, or unexpected play dates – easily store your sandy and/or wet bathing suits.
When you’re family road trip packing, you need to plan for setbacks like flat tires! Having a spare tire is ideal, but this Fix-A-Flat aerosol solution is great in a pinch. The can will patch and inflate your flat tire in no time!
Baby Road Trip Essentials
When you have your children safely rear-facing, it’s difficult to see what they’re up to when you’re on long drives. This is specifically nerve-wracking when your child falls asleep in the car. A safety mirror allows you to see your child in the rear-view mirror, so you always know they’re safe. Ensure your mirror is soft-sided, and don’t let the view become too much of a distraction. (More on common distractions while driving, HERE.)
Whether you’re changing your baby at rest stops or in the back seat, you need a good diaper-changing pad. This pad is nice and soft, and it’s also great inside and out of the car (hello, public restrooms!). It’s perfect to lay in the trunk on a pit stop to quickly and easily change your little one. Its small size also makes it easy to easily store in your trunk or back seat.
Safe car seat toys must be soft-sided and pose no choking risk. These foot rattles are perfect for infants who have more limited entertainment options in the car. The best part? These won’t fall on the floor after a few minutes.
These sensory toys are great for little hands to play with, shake, and chew on! They’re completely soft-sided, and they rattle when your little one shakes them. Parent-hack: Attach it to your baby’s pacifier clip and to their clothing so they’re less likely to toss it!
These little books are super tactile for your baby’s little hands and curious minds. They’re full of bright, vivid colors and crinkle sounds and safe to chew on! We are always recommending them because they’re always a favorite from you all!
For any other car seat toys you grab for your baby, use these pacifier clips! You can clip their pacifier or favorite toys to their clothes using this handy tool. (Make sure you don’t attach the pacifier clips to the car seat’s harness straps.)
This soft-sided caddy is a great storage solution for not only diapers, wipes, and creams but for anything that your baby may require on your trip! Organize everything just the way you want to with the adjustable dividers. Not only is it soft and flexible for convenience, but it’s also a safe option in the event of a car crash because of its soft material.
Toddler Road Trip Essentials
Pop tubes are a toddler favorite, and they’re perfect for car seat fun. They are open-ended, soft-sided, and don’t include a ton of pieces. Even your older kids will love these!
Busy boards have so many opportunities for play. Your child can practice buckles, buttons, clips, zippers, and shoelaces to expand those fine motor skills while in the car. Plus, it’s shaped like a firetruck, which any toddler would love.
When you’re doing road trips with kids, you’ve got to be in tune with the bathroom situation along your route. Though it might seem like there are plenty of rest stops on the way, when your toddler has to go, they’ve got to go. This portable potty will make it easier to make a sudden roadside stop to tinkle. The best part? It’s foldable, which makes for easy car storage!
If you have access to water, then you have access to this AWESOME activity! These are a great, mess-free way for your kids to color while on a road trip. Just fill the pen with water, and let them color to their heart’s desire! Once the page dries, the color disappears, so your little one can use it over and over again.
These activity cards are a great way to keep your little one busy on long car rides and road trips. Hand them just a few at a time with a dry-erase marker, and they can do each small activity to keep them busy for hours.
Road Trip Essentials for Kids
These headphones are adjustable and super comfortable for your kiddo to use all of the time, but especially in the car on a road trip! They also fold and become compact enough to fit into a backpack or small bag. Headphones are imperative to lessen distractions for the driver and for when you have multiple kids in the car using tablets and devices!
We hate to break it to you, but those tablet holders that hang over your headrests are unsafe in the event of an accident. Although they may still become a dangerous projectile in a car crash, handheld devices are still safer. We love this case because it has soft sides, 3 handles, and even a strap for you or your older kiddos to wear cross-body when you’re out of the car! It also has a stand on the back, which is great for propping it on a table when you get to where you’re going! Pro tip: in the car, you can stand it up on a pillow on your child’s lap for movies and TV shows!
Now THIS is a game-changer! This bag went viral for makeup and other toiletries, but fill it with small toys and activities, and you’ve got the best activity bag for on-the-go! Keep your little one busy for hours, and let them explore what treats and activities you store in each compartment. The ultimate way to avoid “I’m bored!” while being nice and compact. Keep it in the car, take it into restaurants, and always have it ready to go! It’s a great way to stay organized. Don’t forget to pick up one for yourself and your toiletries too!
Use this awesome road tape to create an interactive visual for your kiddo to track how far they’ve traveled and how much time is left in the car! Minimize the “are we there yet?” questions by having your child mark on the tape each landmark you pass or for each stop you make. As they see the tape filling up with markers, they can see that they’re getting closer and closer to your destination!
If your child is creative and/or loves to use their hands, this origami kit is a great way to keep them busy and entertained! They can follow the step-by-step instructions to learn how to fold each project as they progressively get more challenging.
These flexible and magnetic building pieces are great for engaging multiple people in the car! Let your creative juices flow, and see what you all come up with to build and create. Or, let one child build a massive creation just on their own during the long journey. These are great for getting your creative juices flowing and keeping multiple kids (or adults!) entertained for a good chunk of time.
These reusable wax sticks are another great creative outlet for your kiddos to come up with fun creations on their own. They easily bend and twist to become any shape you want, and they can connect to make anything from a pair of silly glasses to a whole community of stick people. These will keep your kids entertained endlessly.
Entertaining older kids on a road trip doesn’t need to involve screens. Well, at least not standard electronic screens! This LCD writing tablet gives hours of fun and can be reused again and again.
If you want to make your road trip with kids really exciting, these decoder activity books will transform the driving time into an exciting spy adventure. There are dozens of activities to keep them busy the whole way!
These classic Interstate Highway travel bingo sets never get old! You can play them again and again with the whole family or by yourself. The assortment pack comes with four different versions of the bingo game to keep the fun coming.
Road Trip Essentials for Adults
Between diapers, wipes, wrappers, and disposable food containers, you’ll generate a lot of waste on your road trip. To keep your car organized, have a waterproof car trash can on your vehicle seat. And don’t forget the trash bags!
Babies need to eat, and they’re not always on the same schedule as you. So, stopping to breastfeed is essential when driving long distances. These nursing tops are perfect for making those stops quick and easy. For more on safe car feeding, check out this post.
On a long road trip, pacifiers, bottles, toys, and more will end up on the floor or in the dirt. You need wipes to sanitize those tools and get them back in the hands of the littles. These wipes make that easy!
Moms, we know you love your Stanley cups, but hard-sided water bottles are a big safety risk. If you were to get in a crash, the cup would become a dangerous projectile. However, we want you to stay hydrated. Do so with a silicone tumbler instead!
This little vacuum is a fan favorite! It’s small and portable and easily fits right into your glove compartments. Its size makes it super easy to get into all of the nooks and crannies of your car and car seats after the endless snacks during the whole road trip.
These charging cords are essential for any road trip because the last thing you want is for any device to run out of battery on you. These chargers work quickly, and they’re nice and long for when you need to reach the USB port at the front of the car to your kiddo’s iPad in the back seat.
Road Trip Essentials for Comfort in the Car
These bags are great for packing snacks for your long journey. Pop these in the freezer before you leave, pack them with your family’s favorite snacks, and keep them nice and cool in the car. They’re super foldable when empty and are great for school lunches too.
When you have small kids, you know how important it is to keep things fun and fresh to make them excited. This is ESPECIALLY important when it comes to food! This fun and tactile snack spinner is a fun way to serve your little one some healthy snacks and treats while you’re traveling and at home.
These zip-top silicone snack containers can store all of your road trip snacks in a safe soft-sided vessel. That way, if the container gets thrown or it becomes a projectile in a crash, it won’t cause injury!
These pillows are great for the home and the car! If you want to encourage a nap in the car during your trip, these pillows are great for your child to cuddle with and relax in their seats.
If your kiddo is forward facing in the car, their little legs may get uncomfortable dangling from their seat for longer amounts of time on a road trip. These inflatable footrests are a great option to rest their feet comfortably in front of them. Because they’re inflatable, they can easily store and travel with you wherever you go.
Road Trip Pit Stop Essentials
We know that it’s important to stop the car, get out, and get some stretches every couple of hours. A great opportunity to do this is at a park or in a nice open green space. This outdoor blanket is perfect for a picnic lunch or to let your baby roll around a bit outside of the car. The best part? It folds up to be super compact!
This is a great way for your kiddo(s) to get some energy out while you’re stopped! The prompts will send them off to find things in nature that they should be able to find in any park or green space. It will keep their mind and bodies occupied during that much-needed outdoor time.
Another great outdoor toy to keep your kiddo moving when you’re taking a break outside of the car. Warning! These things can go FAR! Make sure your play area is large enough for kids with a strong arm! These are great to easily store in the car since they’re so compact.
Another lightweight and easy-to-store toy to help get some energy out while at a pit stop. Have a contest to see who can throw theirs the farthest!
Either inflate these before you leave or once you get to your pit stop. These knobby balls are great to toss or kick around while taking a break outside of the car. They’re also a great sensory option for kiddos who may need some sensory stimulation!
Winter Road Trip Essentials
Children wearing heavy, puffy coats in car seats aren’t safe. These coats compress in an accident, leaving a dangerous space between your baby and their safety belts! So, if you’re driving in cold weather and need a winter layering solution, try the Buckle Me baby coat that fastens over the harness straps for safe and cozy riding.
If you don’t need something as thick as a Buckle Me baby coat, a car seat poncho works great. It fits and feels like a blanket, but it won’t fall off with the first kick. Plus, it’s 100% winter road trip safe!
When you’re on a road trip in winter, you never know when you’ll hit extreme weather. In these situations, you may need to pull over or find a place to turn in for the night. While you’re resting or waiting, snow and ice can pile up on your car, and this snow broom is the perfect fix!
Summer Road Trip Essentials
Car rides in the summer heat can be tough. Keeping your children cool in the back is essential for keeping them safe and comfortable. The Noggle can deliver cold air from the front of the car to the back of the car in seconds.
Window shades are helpful for keeping the sun out of your child’s eyes while they nap and enjoy the ride! They can also provide protection from damaging UV rays.
Though you can’t get sunburned through a car window, you can still receive sun damage to your skin! This is because a car window only blocks out one type of UV rays. So, to keep your baby’s skin healthy on a hot road trip, coat them with sunscreen.
Make road trips fun, safe, and easy with these road trip essentials!
Is your family gearing up for a memorable family road trip? The right items can take your trip from a stress-filled disaster to a serene and cherished memory. Once you collect your road trip essentials, make sure to stop every 2 hours to let kiddos stretch out! This is especially important for infants, but you can read more about road trip safety HERE.
Plus, you can get the latest updates and advice on our Insta. With such handy online resources, you can take us with you on your road trip too! (Don’t worry, we won’t be in any of the family pictures.) Have a great vacation!
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