What are the “Must-Have” Items on a Road Trip with Kids?

Val Curtis

While preparing for our upcoming road trip with my kids, I posted “What are your Must-Have Items on a Road Trip with Kids?” on my Facebook feed and the answers hit the range from SO AWESOME to hysterical. This list is a work in progress and I hope you will add your favorite items in the comments below. There are some affiliate links in here to our Amazon store so you can grab these items ASAP.

I truly have my GENIUS friends to thank for this incredible list and we also have Road Trip Tips to Keep Your Kids Engaged.

Must-Have Items on a Road Trip with Kids

  • Baby wipes (mentioned multiple times)
  • Road tunes (check out these Pandora Playlists and these fun playlists from Mama’s Morning Groove)
  • Healthy snacks (GREAT ideas here)
  • Camelbacks
  • Sunscreen (link is to our new favorite!)
  • Activity books
  • Headphones
  • Chargers
  • First aid kit
  • Washcloths in a baggy with bottled water for a refreshing face in the middle of a hot afternoon
  • Cameras for the kids
  • Audio books or radio theater programs (Side note: Check your local library. They probably do digital lending and include audio books. I download a “family book” to my iPhone that we can listen to together, then add a couple to each of their iPads. Headphones are a must, then!)
  • Travel bingo
  • Window markers or dry erase markers and paper towels
  • Benadryl (Note from a friend: One of my kids had a crazy sudden allergic reaction while we were driving in the middle of nowhere. It was terrifying. Now I keep it in my glove box at all times.)
  • Walking shoes and easy slip on shoes
  • Magnetic play sets
  • Tick kit (tick remover, magnifying glass, antiseptic wipe, Ziploc to seal tick into, rubbing alcohol -to pour into the baggie with the tick, instructions for proper tick removal, identification, tape to label bag with time, and location of bite)
  • Yelp app (We have had incredible luck with finding great restaurants!)
  • Waze app (This is a MUST! Give it to your kids and let them navigate the way!)
  • AAA card
  • Travel neck pillows
  • Trash bags
  • Small bags for grabbing on the go (dry bags and StuffIt sacks are GREAT!)
  • Hats
  • Chapstick
  • Quarters (From a friend: “…quarters for the kids to pay me if there are “incidents” ( which include, poking, hitting, and yelling STOP IT!). You keep your side of the street clean and incident-less, you keep your roll of $$$$.”)
  • Lavender oil to keep the driver relaxed. 🙂
  • Good old-fashioned road map and highlighters
  • Laundry detergent
  • Rainbow Loom (heh heh – we should probably add fidget spinners, slime and bottles for flipping. Nope.)

Cool products

 Back Seat Organizer


Car Organizer


Nite Ize LED light — the arms are flexible!


From the “Sense of Humor” category:

  • Earplugs (funny, but not a bad idea for the kids!)
  • Corkscrew (self-explanatory)
  • Cheese from a can (no comment)
  • Duct tape (this was mentioned several times)

Best advice

From a friend: “Pack the mental attitude that things are going to happen out of your control and that in my experience these perceived negatives can be gateways to unforgettable experiences. Be like water and flow!”

What would you add to the list?

Pin for later:

Must have items on a road trip with kids