After traveling over 150,000 miles together, we have figured out what products are our road trip essentials for traveling with kids. With eight people, preparation and organization are key to making the trip memorable and pleasant.
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Since it will be our first long road trip in over three years, and our twelve-seater van is brand new, we need some handy items to keep the van clean and organized for our long trip. I might also have thrown in a few fun surprises for our kids. 😉
1. Car Vacuum
We aren’t letting the kids eat snacks in the car, or drink anything except water. Even so, dust, dirt, sand, etc. somehow end up everywhere, and I hate the gritty feel under my shoes. Enter this super cool vacuum that plugs into your car adapter! Yay!
2. Trash Cans
The best way to keep random tissues, mint wrappers, scraps of chewed up paper and other junk from piling up is to put trash receptacles in key spots. This HOTOR one can hang on the back of a headrest, or sit on an empty seat.
It also corrals liquids, so we don’t have to watch as carefully what our kids stick in there.
3. Travel pillows
For our bigger kids, we are getting inflatable pillows that also come with ear plugs and eye masks. They are easier to pack away when not in use for our preteens and teens.
4. Chargers for devices (or appropriate toys for kids under 2)
We have at least one screen available per kid. There are some times where all the fun activities are done, Mom and Dad need some quiet, and the Great Plains are just… plain.
Our van has some standard outlets, but I bought several extra cords (to replace those that our kitten chewed up). No one wants to get to that point in the day where the battery is done and you’re stuck with nothing to do until the bison get off the road. Ask me how I know!😒
Am I the only mom who has to buy these as often as new toothbrushes? I sure hope not!
I typically have a couple of extra pairs, one around the house, one in the glove box of every vehicle, and one in my purse. I don’t buy expensive ones, because, kids.
7. Bubble Bum booster seat
We discovered these boosters on a trip a few years ago when we were flying with children and hitting states with different car seat law requirements. They are inflatable and deflate completely to pack away when not in use, so they are super handy to keep in a car where you don’t always have kids with you.
Also for flights, Bubble Bums are not much bigger than a water bottle when deflated and rolled up. Since they are smaller than a traditional booster, they also work for 3 kids across in older/smaller vehicles where a standard booster won’t work. Super comfy, or so my kids tell me! We love them.
8. Water bottles
I like these Contigo ones for general use.
My boys have gone through about 2 dozen varieties of the Camelbak ones.
9. Mad Libs (Road Trip Edition)
Updated after the trip: I bought this book as a prize for our prize bag to be handed out at some point when we needed something novel. It did not disappoint!
Our whole family was engaged in coming up with random words to create funny stories. This homeschool mom loved the sneaky parts of speech review that everyone got, too.
Several of my kids get carsick, and crunching or sucking on a Lifesavers mint provides nearly instantaneous relief. We buy a huge pack of these and hand them out without question whenever someone says “I feel gross.”
The 4 year old now says he has a headache as soon as he gets in the car—so that he can have a mint. 🙂
11. Carsick bags
And we’re home!
Our new van, and all these fun accessories, helped make this our most comfortable and fun road trip ever! We can’t wait to get on the road again. Even with 6 kids and some 7- or 8-hour drive days, we had few complaints and mostly happy memories.
What accessories are on your “must-have” list? Put them in the comments so I can add them to my next packing list!
© Copyright 2022 Jennifer D. Warren