15 Must-Have Items for a Family Road Trip with Kids
Heading out on an adventure with kids is exciting and a test of patience (for both the old and the young!). Watch those long hours speed by with our favorite items for keeping everyone happy and entertained as you hit the open road.
Write This Down
Encourage your kids to remember every moment of the trip with this smartly designed travel journal, which is full of fun graphics, clever prompts to get them writing and playful stickers and badges. They can even share their journeys with friends and grandparents by mailing back the included postcards.
Buy It: Amazon, $13.49
Food is an absolute necessity when traveling with kids. Fend off those hangry moments with a fully stocked cooler that can be easily stowed between seats. Cheese sticks, squeezable yogurts and fruit are healthier, but also delicious options, to throw in along with dry snacks, like pretzels, crackers and nuts.
Buy It: Food52, $45.00
Resourceful & Earth Friendly
Storage bags for all those snacks are a must. For those of us trying to be more mindful about our plastic consumption, invest in a few of these reusable silicone food bags. Available in snack, sandwich and half-gallon sizes, as well as a variety of fun colors and patterns, these bags are a smart addition to your cooler and can be used over and over again on your trip.
Buy It: Amazon, $9.99-$11.99
Road trips often include a one-night stay at a hotel on the way to your end destination. Make your life simpler by having each kid pack a small backpack with overnight essentials. When you stop, everyone grabs his or her bag and you (thankfully!) don't have to unload the entire car.
Buy It: Pottery Barn Kids, $26.50-$59.50
Color Their World
Make sure your kids have plenty of art supplies to get creative on the open road. We love these twistable colored pencils. No tiny shreds of crayon paper all over your car, no sharpening required, they are truly a parent's dream.
Buy It: Amazon, $12.99
A Blank Slate
Now for the place to unleash the imagination. These mini sketchpads are easy for even your younger kiddos to hold in their laps and give everyone space to play and create, including games of tic-tac-toe or hangman, drawings of the sights they see and a place to create their own comic book.
Buy It: Amazon, $11.99
Let's be honest, very few of us are going to tackle a road trip without a single screen. The Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet has a kid-proof case and two-year worry-free guarantee. Let them listen to audiobooks and music and watch their favorite shows to give everyone some peace and quiet during this very enclosed family time moment.
Buy It: Amazon, $129.99
When everyone needs a little break from each other and are ready to settle in with their tablets, grab these Bluetooth headphones so that your car is not bombarded with a combination of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, a Harry Potter audiobook and Cardi B all at the same time. And you can enjoy a moment of silence…until they're ready for their next snack.
Buy It: Amazon, $29.98
Classic road trip games, like I Spy, 20 Questions and The Alphabet Game, are the perfect way to involve the whole family while you're traveling. This Spot It! On the Road game is a great addition to your arsenal of pass-the-time games, letting players race to spot matches between the cards.
Buy It: Barnes&Noble, $12.95
Travel-sized versions of family-favorite games, like Sorry, Battleship and Scrabble, are another fun and fairly inexpensive way for kids to entertain themselves in the backseat. Specifically designed for a moving vehicle, the cases have spots to hold all the pieces while playing so you're less likely to lose anything.
Buy It: Walmart, $11.88
Now You See It, Now You Don't
Mess-free markers are ingenious, allowing kids to color without parents ever worrying about getting markers on seats, clothes or the car. They only show color when used on the matching Color Wonder paper. Tuck this activity set up front with you and around hour five when the kids start getting stir crazy, hand it back for a new lease on your car life.
Buy It: Amazon, $11.95
Taking Out the Trash
Instead of stuffing napkins and straw wrappers in doors and cup holders, contain all your trash in this portable garbage bag. Simple to empty when you stop at a rest area or gas station, it'll keep your car neat and tidy as you ride down the highway.
Buy It: Amazon, $12.99
No More Messes
You really can never have enough wipes when traveling with kids. Whether cleaning up spills, washing hands and faces or wiping down picnic tables, you'll never regret having an extra stash or two of them in the car.
Buy It: Amazon, $16.37
Goodbye Motion Sickness
If anyone gets car sick, having these ginger chews handy are a life saver. Not only does ginger help to curb nausea, but it also settles an upset stomach if roadside food doesn't agree with your kiddo's tummy.
Buy It: Amazon, $7.29
This trunk carryall keeps you organized when running everyday errands and toting kids around to extra-curricular activities. And it takes all that accessible storage with you on the road. To corral all those last-minute additions that kids are throwing at you — beach balls, flippers, frisbees — or to hold all your picnic and quick stop needs, this tote makes life just a little bit easier.
Buy It: Amazon, $28.99