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10 Essential road trip items while traveling with kids

Road Trip, Kids, Essentials,

Road trips aren’t like they used to be. Gone are the days of being bored in the back seat with nothing to do other than read a book or color on a few pages. There are so many things for kids to do today that we should never hear that question we asked one too many times. “Are we there yet?”

Not only will your vacation be fun. The road trip to that destination should also be fun. There are just so many ways to make that possible. Here are 10 essentials for a road trip with kids. 

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Starting off the list is a cooler. You could go with the crazy $200 Yeti bag, a hard plastic Coleman/Igloo or the soft sided Coleman/Igloo. Heck even getting the $5 bag at Five Below works. 

The main goal of the cooler is to keep your drinks and snacks cold. Nothing worse than buying a couple waters when you fill up only to have them warm an hour later because you didn’t have a cooler to put them in.

Plus we all know that at the worst possible times the kids will be thirsty or hungry and you have nothing cold or nothing at all.


We all know that kids eat and they can eat a lot. It doesn’t matter if you are packing them “healthy” snacks or pringles and chips. If your the family that only gives their kids carrots and humus. Great!! Just hope you remembered that cooler we talked about.

snacks, cheetos, cheezit, Road Trip, Kids, Essentials,

I don’t care what kind of snacks you pack for the kids on your road trip. For me she gets some pringles, fruit snacks and string cheese. Maybe we will pick up some nuts at the gas station. Who knows but I do know this. Before we hit the road on our next road trip there are some snacks already packed and ready to go in the cooler. 



This should be a no brainer but you may be surprised by the amount of people who don’t buy water ahead of time. It will be so much cheaper to stop at the store and buy a case of water for your trip than getting them at the gas stations along the way. 

Again we can keep them cold using that cooler we made sure we packed up before we left. 


No matter if you are taking your road trip in the Summer or Winter you should have at least one blanket in the back seat for the kids. Whether it’s to help them sleep when you are traveling at night or to keep them warm from the AC blasting. 

A blanket is a must have essential item on all of our road trips. Doesn’t matter if we are heading an hour away  or heading all the way down the coast. A blanket has helped keep her comfy while sleeping overnight.

Road Trip, Kids, Essentials, picnic, nap, sleeping, comfy,
Use the blanket in the park for a picnic

Plus you can also use the blanket for a ride side picnic. You should already have some drinks and snacks in the car and if you planned ahead maybe made a few sandwiches. Get off the highway and hit up a park and have a nice relaxing picnic all the while sitting on the blanket you remembered to pack.


I like to use the plastic shopping bags you get at any store. They are the perfect size and can be easily stored anywhere. 

In the glove box, center console, under the seat or in the seat back. They come in handy for a number of things other than just collecting trash while in the car. Have sandy or muddy shoes. Stuff them in one of these bags to keep the sand and mud out of your car for a little while longer.



You just never know when these suckers will come in hand. So much better than a napkin. I like the wet ones brand. They hold 20 in a pack and are easily resealable. If for some reason you forget to reseal them you will only have 19 or less dry out. 


Road Trip, Kids, Essentials, books, reading, teens,

None of us want our kids to be on their electronics the whole trip. Having them bring their favorite book series along for the ride is a great idea. Also getting an audio book can help everyone pass the time on the road trip. 


Giving your kids an old cellphone or a camera to snap pictures along the way is great for two reasons. 1) You get the perspective of the road trip from their eyes. What did they find interesting along the highways and back roads? What did they like at the pit stops you made. 2) It is great memories to have for both you and your kids when you get back home.

The things my daughter takes pictures of on our different adventures, really amaze me sometimes. It’s great getting to peek into her mind and see what she finds cool and interesting when we travel to different places. 



Whether it is a Nintendo Switch, DS or even a cell phone something that can play games or watch movies can make the time fly by. I have personally found that my daughter didn’t spend as much time on the Switch or even her tablet than I thought she would. 

She would play a game for a little bit then maybe watch half a movie. The rest of the time we would play the alphabet game or I-spy. If you’re a single parent like me, it can be some great times with just the two of you. 

We never want to be unprepared when taking long road trips so having some form of electronic entertainment is a must.


This can be coloring books or blank pieces of paper. What they are drawing or coloring on isn’t very important. The important thing is to bring color pencils. You really want to leave the crayons at home. 

Road Trip, Kids, Essentials, color pencils,

Crayons can and will melt in a hot car. So unless you remember to bring them into your room at each overnight stop they won’t be any good to them. 

Road trips are nothing like they were in the 80s or 90s. Today kids have so much to keep them from getting bored. So will you skip the flight and take a road trip instead next time?

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We post helpful travel guides, packing lists, reviews, helpful tips and so much more weekly. Leave us a comment below and let us and others like you know what your essential items are for a road trip.

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