Top 5 Items To Take On A Road Trip With Kids

top five items to take on a road trip with kids

We take road trips. Lots and lots of road trips.

My husband is a long-distance driving Super Hero and I’m a really good snack-packer.

Together, we’ve driven all over the United States with our three kids. The most common question I get is “how do you get your kids to behave?” My kids are older now, so it’s not an issue, but they’ve been taking road trips since they were babies. And these five items will give you a great start to hitting the road, drama-free.

This is my no means an exhaustive list. But, if I could only take FIVE things on a road trip with us, these are my must-haves.

Item #1 – Dramamine

Dramamine (or the generic version, Driminate). You never know when someone will get car sick. It could be a regular thing or something that is affected by altitude, mountains, curvy roads or any other factor you’ve never experienced. Two of my kids get car sick and sometimes the rest of us just feel a bit queasy. This generic version of Dramamine that I get on Amazon is $6 for a 2-pack of 100 pills each. I keep one in my backpack and one in the car. To go an extra step further, get some of these barf bags that can be put in seat pockets.

Item #2 – Road Trip Bingo

When I was a kid, my mom would offer me 25 cents to play the Quiet Game. Basically, I’d get a quarter to keep quiet. The next best thing is Road Trip Bingo. Kids busy themselves looking for different items they may see out the window. It’s great fun and will keep them away from their screens for a while.

Item #3 – Snacks

I pack healthy snacks, salty snacks, sweet snacks and everything in between. I make sure I have enough snacks and drinks to keep the kids interested. I absolutely despise paying gas station prices for drinks and snacks, so I go overboard when I pack.

We used to use a cooler to pack everything in, but getting ice over and over got annoying. I also didn’t like that I couldn’t pack anything in the cooler that could get wet. Upgrading to a portable refrigerator was a game changer for us and we’ve never used a traditional cooler again. You plug it into an inverter or an outlet in your car and it keeps everything cold. It’s also easy to take into hotels once you’re out of the car. The one linked above is the exact one we use and I’ll have my husband make a video so you can see it in action. I’ll post the link here once the video is done.

Item #4 – A Power Inverter

No matter how new your car is, it will never have enough charging outlets. A power inverter will keep your kids from arguing about charging ports and will give you a place to plug in your travel cooler or anything else that may need a charge. My husband and I keep one of these up front with us, and we put one in the back for the kids. I also make sure I have extra charging cables, but I don’t hand them out until someone needs one. If I give them out in advance, I never see them again. These cables have four different connectors on the end so you only need one cable for multiple devices.

Item #5 – A Car Seat Organizer

You need a place to put your kids stuff. This one is large enough for arts and crafts, books, crayons, a tablet and more. It even has a spot for a water bottle. You can customize these for each child with things they like. I recommend getting one for each kid so they don’t have to share (or argue) and they can pack their own stuff. I had a rule that they could pretty much bring anything, but it had to fit inside the bin. I also added new fun things for them to do that I would pick up at the dollar store.

This is in no way a comprehensive list of all the things I pack on a road trip, but it’s definitely a list of things that are not easily replaceable on the road if you forget. With a fridge, you can stop at Wal-Mart for snacks once you hit the road if you didn’t have time in advance. The kids bins can be filled with souvenirs as you drive. The power inverters are so much more expensive at truck stops. The Dramamine is hard to find at a reasonable price if you wait until you need it and you may have to drive for miles to find it. By then, your car may be filled with vomit. The bingo game is such a fun way to start your trip and set the tone for the drive.

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