Family Road Trip Essentials You’ll Regret Leaving off your List [Free Checklist Included]

If you’re planning a road trip with kids why not download this free Family Road Trip Essentials Checklist to ensure you don’t miss off any of these 27 essential items!

As a mom to two boisterous kiddos, I created this Family Road Trip Essentials Checklist for myself initially, to make sure I didn’t forget any of these important necessities for our next trip. However, having spoken to a number of other moms, I realized how useful this checklist could be for other families, like yours.

If you’d like the free printable version, scroll down to the big pink button at the bottom of the post to grab it!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read the full disclosure for more information.

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27 Family Road Trip Essentials for your next Trip

These are the 27 items that we never leave without when travelling with our kids. So far, they have done us well, and no matter what our road trip throws at us, we have weathered the storm with these essential items. They’ve seen us through hours stuck in traffic, emergency poo stops, near starvation (as far as the kids were concerned!) and back-seat vomiting. I’m sure they’ll serve you well too!

1. Baby Wipes – No matter how old your kids are, you should never be without a baby wipe!

2. First Aid Kit – Just in case!

3. Hand Gel – Not all rest rooms have soap, and sometimes nature calls at an inconvenient location!

4. Toilet Roll (And a Travel Potty if you have a Toddler!)

5. Snacks – Lots! In case you get stuck in traffic for hours! I go for healthy snacks as far as possible to avoid dealing with kids on a sugar high in a confined space! I also avoid crumbly, messy snacks!

6. Water or Juice – To avoid our drinks going yucky and warm, we use these insulated water bottles with a straw, from Amazon. They keep our drinks cool for up to 24 hours (or hot for up to 12 hours if coffee is what you need!) They’re leak-proof too!

7. Ear Plugs – There are certain situations where the driver just needs some quiet to drive safely and the kids are beyond it! This is where ear plugs can become necessary to make it to the next rest stop!

8. Sun Cream

9. Sun Hat

10. Sun Glasses

11. Car Window Shades for the Kids – There’s not a lot more irritating on a long road trip than having the sun constantly in your eyes, especially when you’re little. These car window shades, from Amazon, are great for blocking out that sun and take less less than 5 minutes to put up!

12. Books – We pack stacks of new books for our road trip. Our kids just love reading, and the novelty of new books always helps! To keep to budget I usually get this pile of books from a thrift store, the library, or do a book swap with friends!

13. Audio Books and Music -My kids absolutely love listening to audio books on long drives! They are especially good when it’s a twisty road and they feel too travel sick to read. We love this selection of stories from Julia Donaldson, available on CD from Amazon.

14. Activities – Activity Books, Printable Activity Sheets (like this Free Vehicle I Spy), Stickers, Coloring, small lego box, busy books (like this one from Amazon), and small toys.

15. Comfort Item (e.g. Stuffies / Soft Toy)

16. Loose Change – For those rest rooms you have to pay for and for those magazines and candies the kids will inevitably beg for when you stop!

17. Vomit Bags (or Washing up bowl) – For Travel Sickness or Food Poisoning incidents!

18. Disinfectant Wipes – To clean accidents and bodily fluids from your car and possessions! (Trust me, when it happens, you’ll be greatful you have them!)

19. Trash Bags

20. Change of Clothes – No matter how old we are, we always travel with a full change of clothes for all the kids and us near the top of our luggage! It’s always best to be prepared, especially if one of your kids is prone to travel sickness!

21. Bargaining Chips! – It’s always best to be prepared! We always keep a few favorite candies or small toys just in case we need a spot of good old-fashioned bribery to get us to the end of the trip! I don’t advocate for bribery in my parenting most of the time, but being in a small confined space with one’s children for hours can quickly change you!

22. Tissues

23. Raincoat

24. Flashlight

25. GPS

26. Phone and charger

27. Picnic Rug & Cooler – While not necessarily an essential, depending on traffic, it can be far less stressful to carry your own food with you, so you can stop and eat whenever you need to, no matter where you are. This Cooler, from Amazon, works great for a picnic and is budget-friendly!

If you’d like to grab the FREE Printable version of this list, scroll down to the big pink button at the bottom of the post to download it.

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Top Tips for Travelling with Little Kids

Travelling with young kids is hard work! But that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun, or at least manageable! Let me share with you the best things we did for our kids, as toddlers, to make our family road trip just that bit easier!

1. Schedule in plenty of rest stops

2. Always pack more snacks than you think you need!

3. Try to get them an early night before travelling

4. Have some fun car games up your sleeve!

5. Discuss the road trip before hand so expectations are reasonable for everyone. Walk through the day with them ahead of time so they know what to expect.

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FREE Printable Family Road Trip Essentials Checklist

To grab a copy of my Family Road Trip Essentials Checklist, simply click the big, pink button below. You will be asked for your name and email address and my free printable will then be sent to you immediately. Download it, print it off, and you’re good to go! When printing, make sure to check the ‘fit to printable area’ box to make sure it looks it’s best!

Hope you have a fantastic road trip!