Essentials for a trip with kids
Mom Tips,  New Mom

Essentials For a Family Road trip With a Toddler & Baby

Preparing essentials for a road trip with a baby and toddler can be intimidating to say the least, especially if it is your first time. When you take the time to prepare your car and family for all the essentials you will need along the way, you are guaranteed a more successful road trip with kids.

Keep the stress to a minimum by keeping all of the essentials within arms reach, so everyone is happy along the way. And a few extras that will make your trip less stressful and more enjoyable!

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Tips for road tripping with kids

Essentials for your road trip with a toddler and baby


Fast food and junk food from the gas station can be tempting, and something you can incorporate. But in order to avoid the junk food induced tantrums, I recommend you brink nourishing snacks and drinks that you don’t have to make an extra stop for, and will keep you fuller for longer. 

You will get more balance and a better variety when you bring your own nourishing foods for your family, and they generally will save you time and money!

You can bring a small cooler and bring along plenty of water, milk, healthy snacks such as yogurt, cheese, cucumbers, carrots, fruits, etc..

I also recommend bringing a designated bag for dry snacks such as crackers, nuts, or whatever your family likes!

By bringing your own food along, you will keep the breaks to a minimum, and feed yourself and family foods that you know you can feel good about and hopefully save a little money!. 


It’s always a good choice to bring snacks so you have some healthier options and to avoid stopping unnecessarily. The occasional fast food or gas station stop can be fun, but it’s convenient to have snacks with you, especially with little ones. And to hopefully avoid the junk food induced tantrums, who wants those?

First aid kit

We have this one and love it. It it pre-made with everything you could possibly think of, while still being small and lightweight. Luckily we have only needed it a few times, but it’s always a smart thing to have on hand, especially with kids around.

Something I like to include in our first aid kit is active skin repair. This stuff is amazing! It is a non-toxic first aid healing ointment. We use it for just about everything; cuts, scrapes, diaper rash, sunburns and any other skin irritations. I don’t leave home without this stuff, its truly that good. 

Medicine bag

I would rather bring these items with me then need to run to the store in a hurry if my child has a fever or cough (depending on where your headed, they might not have what you need) . Illnesses seem to creep up at the most inconvenient times, so it’s best to be prepared in the case you need them. 

Things you might want to bring:

In addition to these, we also bring along any supplements that help boost the immune system while we are away from home. And don’t forget any prescription medications your family may need. 

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Prepare for an emergency

Some instances that may disrupt your road trip:

Weather: You never know what kind of weather you will run into when you are on the road. In the case of an emergency and you have to pull over, make sure you have the necessary supplies, especially when traveling with children. Those might include water, food, blankets, flashlight, first aid kit etc..

Flat tires: Flat tires happen when you least expect them and without a lot of notice. If you are renting a car make sure you check for the spare before you take off. If you are driving your own car, double check that you have the necessary supplies in the case you need to change the tire. And well….make sure someone knows how to change a tire.

Roadside assistance: Look at your insurance policy before you leave and get to know what your roadside assistance will cover, you never know when you will need it.

First aid kit: Like I stated above, I feel it’s important to mention again. First aid kits are always important to travel with, especially with kids. We have this one and it has everything you could think of.

Keep important documents handy: Make sure you have your phone, wallet, insurance, and registration within reach in the case you need it.

Bag of essentials

Have a bag handy that you can keep in the backseat. Have all the necessities you might need along the way so they are within arms reach, and you aren’t  digging through bags trying to find what you need.

Things you might include:

    • Diapers
    • Wipes
    • 2 or 3 change of clothes for the kids
    • A few shirts for yourself, you never know!
    • Changing pad
    • Socks
    • Extra blankets (those suckers come in handy)
    • Bottles( if needed)
    • Formula (if needed)

If staying the night somewhere on your drive before your final destination, you might include your overnight essentials in this bag as well. This way you aren’t searching through your larger luggage.

You might add:

    • Pajamas
    • An outfit change for everyone
    • Toiletries
    • Any supplements or medications you might need

You also might consider keeping overnight essentials such as; a pack and play, sleep pod, or any night time necessities accessible so you aren’t trying to find them all the way in the back of your trunk when everyone is grumpy and tired.

Sun shades

If your kids are used to sleeping in dark spaces, these sun shades came in handy for the car. You pop them right on the window and it makes the backseat nice and dark.


I always like the comfort or my own blankets and pillows while on vacation or road tripping. I usually bring a pillow for my husband and I and one for our toddler so he is comfortable for the drive. Make sure to pack any lovie’s or blankets your littles can’t sleep without either. It would be a tragedy to leave those behind! Bringing a few extra muslin swaddle blankets is always a good idea as well. They are so versatile and can be used for some many things.

Plastic or reusable bags

Having a few plastic bags on hand is always nice to collect trash, store dirty diaper until you can find a trash can or store any clothes that are dirty. You never know with kids! Keeping the dirty items out of the way and places in their own bag will help your car stay cleaner while road tripping. They have bags you can buy for this but I like to reuse old produce or grocery bags I already have laying around.

Mini vacuum

Okay this might sound a little extra, but hear me out! You probably know how big of a mess your toddler can make in the car let alone on a road trip! The crumbs, trash, dirt, sand (if at the beach) will start to accumulate. This mini vacuum is affordable, small and gets the job done quick! This is something we always have in our car, even at home.

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Don’t forget some music for the adults! I’m sure you will listen to your toddlers favorite song or show over and over but make sure you turn something on for yourselves too!

Have plenty of old and new activities for the kids

Here’s a few of our favorites:

Car seat activity station: This allows a flat surface so they can do activities such as color, read books, or eat snacks. It also has plenty of pockets for crayon, drinks, toys and books. It’s a nice way to keep semi organized when you are traveling with kids. 

New crayon & a drawing pad: There is something exciting about brand new sharp crayons that your toddler will love so much, they are also inexpensive!


Ipad or tablet: We have this amazon kids tablet and it works perfect for road trips. You can preload it with movies, shows & games to entertain your toddler. It is a really affordable tablet option that has worked out great! This mount has also come in handy, you can keep it secure on the back of the headrest. 

This busy board has been a life saver: It is a great sensory activity to advance those fine motor skills that will keep your toddler entertained for a long time. Our son loves this toy, we take it everywhere with us.

Books: I always like to get a few new books for road trips so my son has something new and exciting when we are stuck in the car

Purchase a few new toys: You don’t need to go overboard, these can be small. But there is just something about NEW that will keep your toddlers interested for longer. I like to keep these toys hidden for cases of emergency.

If you’re on your last stretch of the drive and you feel your toddler getting antsy, that’s a perfect opportunity to pull one out. 

Infant car seat toy: If you are traveling with a newborn, toys most likely aren’t necessary. They will do a lot of sleeping and eating. If you have a baby that is 3+ months I can’t recommend this car seat toy enough! Our son loves it and It will keep him entertained for a while.

I would also recommend bringing a few other toys such as a crinkle book or rattle. Once they are 6+ months you can give them something as simple as a napkin or wipe container (my 7 month old’s favorite) and they will be happily entertained. 


Some additional road trip items you might want for the kids:

Make road tripping with your toddler and baby more fun with these family essentials

It might be intimidating preparing for a road trip with a toddler and a baby. Whether it is your first time or you are a pro, there is always a level of stress involved. By preparing these road trip essentials you are sure to have a smoother ride!

Do you have any road trip essentials when traveling with a toddler and baby?


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