We’ve done three long road trips with young kids so I’m here to tell you what road trip accessories you REALLY need. When planning a road trip with kids you need to focus on two major areas:
Packing for a Road Trip with Kids
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make the whole road trip go more smoothly, but if you cut corners in these areas the whole trip will be a lot less enjoyable. (Ask me how I know).
You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to keep your kids entertained on a road trip. You also don’t have to spend hours on Pinterest curating the perfect road trip car games board. We don’t have iPads or iPods are portable DVD players. Nope, our four kids get by with . . .
Remember when we were kids and we spent hours playing Tetris on our gameboys in the back of the minivan? Well, if it was good enough for us …
You can buy both of these old game consoles online and they are JUST as entertaining, if not more, than their fancier, newer counterparts.
And you can find hundreds of used gameboy games on Amazon or at your local game or thrift store. Or better yet, ask your friends and family.
We own three Gameboy advances and 2 DS consoles, not to mention countless games, and we didn’t pay for any of them. I’m a big believer in “it never hurts to ask”.
Hop on Facebook and ask “Hey, anyone have any old Gameboys they don’t use anymore?”. I promise you, they do. But their kids are too busy playing on their iPods to care about them. I have found that people are more than willing to part with these relics that are taking up space in the back of a closet.
There are a billion tablets out there these days but we are loyal kindle owners. Why take out a loan for an iPad when you can snag a kindle for only 50 bucks?
There’s even such a thing as a kids edition of Kindle and I have serious regrets for not purchasing one. It comes with a 2-year worry-free guarantee. Our last kindle, which I loved dearly, did not survive 2 years. Sigh.
It also includes one year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited which gives you free access to 10,000 kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games.
And it’s still a fully functional Kindle tablet. The next Kindle I purchase is definitely going to be the kid’s edition. To find current prices on all kindles visit Amazon.
Multiple USB Car Chargers
I’m sure you’d be hard pressed to find a vehicle in America these days without a phone charger, but do you have a multiple USB charger?
Trust me folks, you’re going to want to keep your phones and kindles charged. I can tell you from personal experience that just charging one thing at a time isn’t going to cut it.
There are tons of them on Amazon. Your future road trip self will thank you.
In my humble opinion, the more car organizers the better. During a road trip with kids the inside of your car quickly dissolves into total chaos.
Books, crayons, sippy cups – without some real organization everything ends up lost and/or in the floorboards with little people stomping all over them at the next rest stop.
There are heaps of car organizers to choose from on Amazon. I recommend getting more than one. As many as your car can hold! I repeat, do NOT skimp on the road trip car accessories.
Have one for toys, one for snacks, another one for misc cleaning supplies (because surely you’re going to pack baby wipes, right?) and medicines.
They even make ones that you can slip an iPad into, if you’re into that sort of thing. Go wild.
And while you’re at it, get a real travel garbage can for the car. I know it seems like an old Walmart bag will be good enough, but trust me, it won’t.
This one pops up but can be zipped flat for storage. Plus, it’s waterproof. You’re supposed to be able to pour a drink in the thing and not have it leak.
Have a kid who gets car sick? You might want to consider investing in some honest to goodness barf bags. It’s totally a thing.
You can find them reasonably priced on Amazon and they can be a real life saver in an emergency. And let’s face it, a kid getting carsick is always an emergency.
Two of my kids are prone to motion sickness so we used to travel with a beach bucket that we had affectionately named the Barf Bucket. It was easy to pull over to the side of the road or stop at a gas station and rinse it out and keep going.
Clearly, that’s not ideal.
What to Pack for a Road Trip With Kids
That’s it. Keep em’ entertained, organized, and unlikely to barf on themselves and you’ve got a good road trip on your hands. We’ve driven from California to Maryland, Georgia to British Columbia, and back from British Columbia to Georgia with a detour down the west coast and I’m telling you, this is the ideal road trip with kids packing list .
*post contains affiliate links