My Road Trip Favorites and Must Haves

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My Road Trip Favorites and Must Haves

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My husband loves a road trip.

When we were dating we’d regularly drive 10 hours to visit his parents when they lived in St. Louis, MO, or 11 hours to visit my grandparents in North Carolina.

And when my boys were born, it slowed, but didn’t stop.

Thankfully, by that time, my in-laws moved to Shreveport, so it was a four-hour drive instead of ten, but we would still regularly toss everything in the car and hit the roads.

And now that my boys are older and don’t require as much stuff we’re even more eager to hit the roads. In fact, I remember loudly proclaiming in January of 2020 that that would be our year of travel. *bitter laughter*

Moving on.what to pack for a road trips with kids

But now that everyone is vaccinated and boosted, we all got Covid-19 anyway, and it appears that new cases are on a decline, we’re starting to travel more.

Last year we went on a two-week trip where we drove from Baton Rouge to Atlanta, then made the trip from Atlanta to Cashiers, NC then met up with family in West Virginia before driving home. A total of roughly thirty-six hours of drive time.

And my boys did great with a surprisingly minimal amount of complaining either in the car or at one of our numerous destinations.

After all of this traveling, here are a few things I’ve found that make life easier.

Travel Cots:

My kids received some travel cots one year for Christmas similar to these and we’ve never looked back. These things are incredible for cousin sleepovers, sleeping at Grammie’s, and, of course, while traveling. My kids have slept on them in hotel rooms (instead of sleeping in the perfectly good bed they had) at friends’ houses we’ve visited, and in our room when my husband’s whole family split a condo at the beach. They also work great for camping.

In fact, we loved them so much that we upgraded to these, which will work for several years to come and can convert into bunk beds or a couch!

If your child has trouble with new surroundings, giving them a comfortable and familiar place to sleep could help. It definitely did with mine.

Travel Blankets:

Lightweight, compressible travel blankets are my kids’ favorites. They help transform the backseat of the car from every day into The Comfy Zone. They are great for fixing car temperature complaints of “I’m cold!” and also double as a pillow. You can find similar products for great prices on Amazon and other places online.

Snack bag and cooler bag:

As every parent knows, nothing is worse than a hangry kid. This is why we always travel with an assortment of snacks situated within easy reach of the front and back seat. We always make sure to pack an assortment of sweet or salty, healthy(ish) favorites and keep a medium-sized cooler bag in the back/trunk to keep cold drinks like sparkling water and individual milk or juice, along with pre-cut/sliced fruit and sometimes cheese.

This seems so obvious, but it bears repeating. Always. Have. Snacks.

Water bottles:

We do our best to avoid plastic water bottles and the waste associated with them, so each person in our family has their own water bottle that we fill up before we go and then will refill as we need. We love the insulated varieties, but I just got these for our upcoming trip to Florida, because I have heard Florida tap water tastes awful and I’m a water snob. #BatonRougeHasTheBestWaterFightMeAboutIt


Way better than dramamine IMOH. I get horrifically car sick and when we drive through mountains this is the only thing that helps. The kids can also take it, though you need to ask your Pediatrician about the dosage (like I did with mine). I always keep some on hand, along with the proper dosage, to dole out as needed.

Bar Laundry Soap:

Life is messy and sometimes, especially at a hotel, access to a laundry machine isn’t always possible. I usually always travel with a bar in my suitcase to treat stains and launder delicates if necessary.

But then, there was the one time I didn’t.

And, much like the Spanish Inquisition, no one expects their cat to pee in their luggage.

But, then they do and you don’t realize it until you have driven seven hours to the hotel, gone to unpack your clothes, and only then do you realize that every article reeks of cat pee and you have nothing to wear other than the clothes on your back. Cue a desperate search for either a laundromat or someone who sells detergent. Special shoutout to the owner of The Villa on Central Ave. in Hot Springs for stocking this magical soap, which allowed me to hand wash my entire suitcase  (and my suitcase) in the sink and shower and got rid of the reek of cat pee. No small feat #IYKYK

I will never travel again without it.

Drawing Gear:

My kids love drawing and coloring, so I always stock up before a trip on fresh blank notebooks, pencils and colors. This keeps them entertained in the car, but also helps at restaurants that might not have kid menus or where the food is taking an extra long time to come out. I usually always keep something to draw on and a pen in my car at all times for emergencies.


At this point in time, I feel like technology is industry standard for car trips with kids, but even in the car, we try to limit screen time. This has worked incredibly well so far (thank you audiobooks and podcasts) but there always reaches a point, especially on longer drives, where nothing else will do. The boys have an iPad to share and we always pack the Nintendo Switch, which my husband rigs up so both boys can see to play (it’s amazing what he can do with shoe strings and some cardboard). We make sure everything is fully charged and the necessities have been downloaded the night before. The Switch also comes in handy in hotel rooms without smart TVs because you can use it to stream Hulu.

And there you have it, my favorite things for a relatively low-stress family road trip. Am I missing something? Got any other tips and tricks? Let me know!


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