Does going on a road trip with your children cause you anxiety? It used to for me too. After each road trip, I learned something and was able to prepare better. This blog post shares my list of must have items for road trips with children. Some of these items I bet you would not have even thought about!
Prior to heading out on a road trip, my spouse and I take on different roles and responsibilities. He takes care of everything to do with the vehicle. I think he washes the car, gets an oil change, fills up the tank with gas, changes some of the fluids, checks the car, and packs emergency items for the car. I’m totally guessing because I honestly have no idea what he does. I just know that he is usually in the garage the night before for a long time, and he always has a solution when something goes wrong during the trip. As for my responsibilities, I pack clothes and everything I think we may possibly need to get to our destination comfortably. (Pretty broad description, I know.)
Looking back, a couple of road trips we took were significant. Once, we were trying to be spontaneous and decided to dip our feet in a lake we drove by. It was fun until my daughter fell in shallow water and got completely wet. Another time, my daughter got sick while we were at a museum and threw up repeatedly in the car during our two hour drive home. You can bet we learned a lot from these two main experiences.
Here are the must have items I suggest based on our experiences. They are ranked from the most obvious to ones you might not have thought about:
FOOD AND SNACKS - Nobody wants a hangry child during a road trip. Pack a cooler full of sandwiches, finger foods, and fruit/veggies. Pack separately some snacks and treats (to bribe the children when they are getting really impatient.)
STUFFY FRIENDS AND ANIMALS - Your child will want to bring his/her favorite “friend” to go on the road trip with them. Huge bonus if your child likes to talk to his/her friend during the trip! (Cheap entertainment! Failing that, go to the next point.)
ENTERTAINMENT - There should be electronic and non-electronic forms of entertainment. Try to bring items that don’t have a lot of pieces, either big or small. Puzzles are a terrible idea. My daughter likes to read, draw and watch Netflix on an iPad.
IPAD - Have movies and series downloaded in advance and some games you know your child will like. You will want to download some things that are completely new to your child too.
CHARGERS AND BATTERY PACKS - For your phone and iPads. It is unbearable for anyone when you are still four hours away from your destination, your child is happily watching something, and the battery on the iPad dies.
COMFORT ITEMS - Blankets, pillows, and fans for any temperature. It is amazing how the temperature can make children temperamental.
EXTRA CHANGE OF CLOTHES FOR YOUR CHILD - You should pack an entire change of clothes for your children and clothes for different temperatures. These clothes should be packed separately and accessible. The last thing you want to do is have to unpack the car to find a dry pair of pants.
SUNGLASSES FOR YOUR CHILD - Had to put this in a separate category because this is something we always forget, and my daughter ends up squinting in the car.
FIRST AID KIT - Either buy one from the store or make your own. Remember to include good tweezers for slivers and your child’s favorite cartoon band-aids.
PUKE KIT - This kit includes extra absorbent paper towels and ziplock bags. The last item will allow you to seal in the puke and not have to smell it during the ride.
BAGS - Garbage bags for garbage, compost bags for random food scraps, reusable bags for random things that won’t fit back in the car for some reason.
KandooⓇ Flushable Wipes - These are perfect for potty breaks along the road. KandooⓇ Flushable Wipes clean up to 30% better than toilet paper, and they’re flushable, biodegradable and hypoallergenic. We started using them when my daughter was potty training, and we still use them. You can get them at Walmart when you pick up road trip snacks and other things on this list!
While this looks like a lot of stuff to pack, it really isn’t and is totally worth the work. Trust me, you don’t want to be stuck in the car with a sick child and scrambling to find her a bag to puke in. There you have it! Follow this list of things to pack and you are set for your next road trip! Good luck and have fun!
Disclosure: I am being compensated by Kandoo Flushable Wipes for this post but the content and opinions are all mine.