Road trip with children: Packing essentials

Road trip with children

Packing up the car and heading out on a road trip with children can often be a much easier option than getting involved with air travel. But a road trip with children does need a bit of preparation if you want to avoid whining, meltdowns and endless rounds of are we there yet! With that said, here are our packing essentials for a road trip with children:

Plenty of entertainment

  • Stock up on plenty of activity, colouring and sticker books (having a good range always goes down well) combined with crayons, pencils and pens.
  • Road trip games like printable scavenger hunts, card games like Are We There Yet and guessing games like “What Am I” are always a hit.
  • Magnetic travel games – you can buy assorted multipacks for very reasonable prices online.
  • CDs of songs, audiobooks and the like
  • Fully charged up tablet loaded with all their favourite movies and games for long car rides when all of the above has been exhausted! Don’t forget to pack a fully charged battery pack and cables for any devices too. And also headphones!

Getting your set up right

  • First, let’s talk about car seats. It’s super important to have a comfortable car seat for children which offers solid support. I always like to check that our daughter’s car seat still fits and is comfortable before her before we set out on a long road trip so we don’t get caught out with an uncomfortable passenger. Here’s a list of the best safety seats for your child you can find online at
  • Car seat organizer – these can be really useful for a road trip with children. Check out which offers efficient car storage. Namely for holding all of the above list in an accessible place which helps to avoid endless requests of “I want this” or “Please could you pass me that”.  
  • Neck pillows – people either love or hate them but if you love them, then pack them!

Food and drink

  • Snacks, snacks and more snacks!
  • A coolbox – we often pack a cooler with us for any food that needs to remain cold until we reach our destination. A great way of literally emptying your fridge out and taking it with you so as to avoid any unnecessary food waste.
  • Reusable water bottles – one per family member.

Other essentials

  • Anything can happen on a road trip so be sure to have packed a first aid kit, wipes, tissues, a quick-drying towel to mop up any spills hand sanitizer, any medicines you might need and of course bin bags.
  • If any of your family is prone to getting car sick be sure to pack car sickness sweets, sick bags and any other natural or OTC remedies you might need.
  • GPS – or if you’re using an app on your iPhone like Wayz make sure you’ve downloaded everything you need before you go.
  • You breakdown cover membership card!
  • Sunglasses (because there is nothing worse than squinting at the sun for long periods of time).
  • Gear for all-weather – it’s always handy to keep coats/rain jackets/suncream/blankets in the back. I’m always amazed at how quickly the weather and temperature can change on a road trip!

Going on a road trip with children soon? Then I hope the above list is helpful. Is there anything else you would add to this packing list for a road trip with children? Do leave a comment and share.


Picture credit: Background photo created by senivpetro –

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  1. Definitely waterproofs. We have jackets and trousers that roll up in a tiny pouch and those go in a bag and into the boot even if the forecast is fine – you never know! Also a flask and proper mugs – coffee just isn’t worth drinking out of a plastic mug.

  2. Gloves, I always forget them and have to buy new ones, I swear there must be 50+ pairs hidden somewhere but I never seem to find them

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