7 Must-Have Items to Keep in Your Car for Family Road Trips

kid headphones car

Road trips with children are notorious for being less than fun and generations of parents can tell you exactly why. But with the right preparation, a road trip can actually be a good time. Of course, the smartest way to ensure that is to keep a small road trip pack on hand at all times in the car. This way if a short day trip becomes a longer one thanks to traffic or unforeseen issues, you are prepared.


But what can you keep in the car to make even a medium-sized drive with kids bearable? You'd be surprised. Here are seven different items that can be kept in the car at all times for impromptu road trips and any other time.

road trip

Image © Volt Collection/Shutterstock and via The Stir

  • Warm Blankets


    Image © David Fossler/Shutterstock

    If you have more than one kid, you will be SO happy you packed blankets. One child is inevitably "freezing" (on an 80-degree day), while the other is SO hot. This way both kids can be happy. Crank up the A/C and throw a blanket on the cold one. Done and done.

    More From The Stir: 25 Great U.S. Spots to Take Your Kids Before They Graduate High School

  • DVD Player


    Image © sonya etchison/Shutterstock

    Sorry low-tech mamas. You will want this. Whether it's attached to the car or in the form of an tablet or whatever, you will be wanting something to distract those kiddies. Maybe this isn't one to keep in the car but to ALWAYS bring in and out of it. Trust me.

  • Candy!


    Image via neilconway/Flickr


    I don't care how anti-sugar you are, there is NO WAY you are getting through a road trip without at least having a backup sugar stash. Even if you never use it, just the knowledge that it's there can get you through the hard moments. I keep ring pops in the car. Just in case.

  • Audiobooks


    Image © Volt Collection/Shutterstock


    When the DVDs get boring, this is fun for the whole family and surprisingly soothing. An hour or two of fun for all. Buy a few and you are well on your way to a calm trip.

    More From The Stir: Dos and Don'ts for Your Next Summer Road Trip 

  • Headphones


    Image via nikonvscanon/Flickr

    When the DVDs get loud, you will be happy you can clap these over the little one's ears and pretend they aren't there. It's amazing!

  • Car Bingo



    Car bingo is a great game that can keep everyone happy for a long drive. Or even a short one! Look out for street signs, license plates, animals, and restaurants.

  • Socks


    Image via sockladyspins/Flickr


    Little feet get cold in the car, and trust me, your kids will be MUCH happier with no shoes and some fluffy socks. Invest in a couple special "car" pairs and your kids will think they're on a first class flight.

safety driving

More Slideshows