20 Essentials Moms Need For a Long Road Trip With the Kids

Mandy Velez | Apr 22, 2019 Home & Garden
20 Essentials Moms Need For a Long Road Trip With the Kids

Dependable Store
Dependable Store

Road trips are usually fun in the movies. Everyone gets all excited to spend a few days on the road, singing songs, stopping at shady (but cool-looking) diners, YOLO! Or discovering long-lost small towns. Moms in real life know that this road trip Hollywood fantasy is utter BS when there's a baby or kid involved. Unless the children happen to be the best and most agreeable travel companions with strong bladders, which if that is the case, way to go. But for most parents, that is a pipe dream. Keeping toddlers entertained in the day-to-day is hard enough. Add the confines of a moving, metal box? Forget it. 

Don't worry too much. Yes, it may be hard, but there is hope to getting through a road trip with as minimal stress as possible. It comes down to proper planning. In the same way a map or trusty GPS system is needed to get to the destination, there are tools parents probably should have to get through the trip in one, sane piece. Whether they're tools of distraction, fun gadgets, or simply "road trip" hacks, pick the item (or items) that'll work best. It may actually prevent a meltdown or two and the family will get able to enjoy that diner after all -- if the team can make it there before stopping for yet another bathroom break. That is the only thing we can't really help with. But check out the finds we put together below!

Psst: If purchasing an item on this list, CafeMom may receive a small cut. Each item and price is up to date at the time of publication; however, an item may be sold out or the price may be different at a later date.


  • Magnetic Travel Games

    1

    Keep it classic (and the kids busy) with a good ol' board game. The magnetic sets keep pieces attached to the board so no one will cry about any "lost pieces" mid-game. They'll be experts by the time they reach the destination.

    Travel games ($10, Oriental Trading)  

  • Personalized Road Trip Book

    2

    Make the journey an adventure! This personalized road trip book allows kids to feel like this adventure is storybook worthy, because, well, it is. Their own driver's license is included!

    Road trip book ($35, I See Me!)

  • Desk-To-Go

    3

    A critical road trip mistake is giving children crayons and a coloring book but no lap desk to stabilize the art that is about to happen. Get a desk-to-go to make sure they have a solid foundation to work on during the trip.

    Lap desk ($12, Target)

  • Headphones

    4

    Break out the iPad and stick these headphones on their little heads. They're made for kids and fold up nicely for easy storage next to them on the seat or in a bag. 

    Headphones ($22, Target)

  • Back Seat Organizer 

    5

    This seat-back organizer is the answer to a parent's tidiness prayers. Store toys, food, water bottles, and more in one of the different-sized pockets. The best part? It minimizes the need to reach from the front seat to the back to hand over a sippy cup every five minutes. 

    Back seat organizer ($18, Amazon)

  • Scratch-Off Map

    6

    One of the reasons kids ask "Are we there yet?" so often is because they have no idea where they are and its relation to the destination. This scratch-off USA map remedies that; plus, scratching off a state is very entertaining. 

    Scratch-off map ($12, Amazon)

  • Grab and Go Baby Wipes

    7

    Road trip or not, every parent should have wipes ready and available. This pack comes with a handle to attach to a bag or just for easy access from the bottom of a travel bag. 

    Wipes ($10, Macy's)

  • Pop-Up Garbage Can

    8

    There has to be some unsaid rule that copious amounts of trash must be produced on road trips. Prevent it from blanketing the car floor and other places by using this pop-up trash can. It's easily moveable and easy to store.

    Pop-up trash can ($16, Amazon)

  • National Parks Adventure Book

    9

    Going to see national parks? This National Geographic book will teach kids everything they need to know about them in a fun and engaging way. The best news: Reviews say it kept people's kids busy for hours. 

    National parks book ($5, Amazon)

  • Car DVD Player

    10

    Whether there are movies on an iPad or these portable DVD players, they'll keep the kids busy for hours. This player set comes with two screens and two pairs of earbuds. 

    Car DVD player ($95, Google Express)

  • Travel Bingo

    11

    The license plate game can get old after a while. Take looking out the window to the next level with these print-out bingo cards. Kids can watch for things such as a tree (easy) to a red car (a little harder) to a bridge (hard.)

    Travel bingo ($3, Etsy)

  • Spill-Proof Auto-Flip Water Bottles

    12

    Is there anything worse than a spill that gets the seat wet and there's nothing anyone can do until the next stop? Not really. This double water bottle pack will make spilling hard to do, so kids can drink to their heart's desire (until the next bathroom stop).

    Water bottle ($20, Kohls)

  • Kids Travel Tray With Water Bottle Pocket

    13

    Take the lap table to the next level with a travel tray. It pops up like a mini-desk for games, coloring, and more. Plus, it has a pocket for a drink bottle on the side. 

    Travel table ($20, Amazon)

  • Puffy Sticker Book

    14

    With multiple outfits to stick on and put together, count on lots of time spent playing with this fashion sticker set. It comes with 76 puffy stickers and a convenient carrying handle to carry it around. 

    Melissa and Doug sticker book ($5, Amazon)

  • Travel Pillow

    15

    Help the kids avoid uncomfortable sleeping positions or not being able to sleep at all (knocks on wood). Strap this seatbelt pillow on the belt and make naps easier than ever. Works for toddlers or school-aged kids. 

    Seatbelt pillow ($8, Amazon)

  • Emergency Portable Potty Cup

    16

    Portable potty cup -- say that five times fast. This life-saving device is perfect for families with little boys who can't hold their pee just yet. No more pulling over on the side of the road and covering poor little guy with a towel. Just whip out the potty cup. Problem (sorta) solved. 

    Potty cup ($9, Amazon)

  • Back Seat Cooler

    17

    Who said coolers were just for ballgames or the beach? This back seat cooler stores drinks and snacks needed to sustain the road trip so kids can dig in at their leisure. Thank us later for preventing many of those uncomfortable arm "reach backs."

    Back seat storage cooler ($40, Dependable Store)

  • Pick-Up Grabber Tool 

    18

    Oh, we are so serious about this gripper tool. Think of this: Baby or toddler is given food or a toy. It falls. Baby or toddler wails and it's not a good time to unbuckle and reach back in the back seat to retrieve it. Just grab the gripper and restore sanity in the car again. 

    Gripper tool ($21, Walmart)

  • Water-Reveal Coloring Pad

    19

    Painting can happen in the car with this Melissa and Doug "Water-Wow" art book. It's "no mess" as a refillable water pen reveals colors on the page when wet. The four coloring pages are reusable so the fun never really has to stop. 

    Melissa & Doug Water Wow! book ($5, Amazon)

  • Back Seat Mirror

    20

    Sometimes, staring at oneself in the mirror can take up some time -- at least for babies. Keep them busy with, well, themselves. Or at least allow them to see more of what's around them. That can take up their time, too. (Bonus: It can hold a tablet.)

    Backseat mirror ($20, Buy Buy Baby)

  • Pin It! 

    21
    20 Essentials Moms Need For a Road Trip With Kids Pinterest Image

    Add this graphic to your Pinterest board if you are a mom who loves to do a road trip with your kids 

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