Family Travel

The Ultimate List of Road Trip Essentials for the Whole Family

written by GIANNA ALDANA

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family roadtrip essentials"
family roadtrip essentials
Graphics by: Caitlin Schneider
Graphics by: Caitlin Schneider

I can admit that I’m a certified road trip over-packer—mostly thanks to growing up taking vacations with a big family. I often have to resist the urge to pack everything I own, but over the years, I have gotten significantly better at packing only the necessities. So, if you’re planning on taking on the adventure of a family road trip, no need to sweat—we’ve gathered the ultimate list of road trip essentials.

Let’s be honest: A huge part of what makes a successful road trip is the car ride itself. Speaking from personal experience, a loaded snack bag, a comfy travel blanket, and a migraine relief stick are just a few road trip essentials that can change the game. Nowadays, there are tons of nifty accessories and gadgets labeled as “travel necessities,” but the list is overwhelming. With time, I’ve discovered which products are worth the purchase and which can be skipped.

To help prepare you and your family for your next getaway, we’ve put together a hefty list of road trip essentials that’ll be loved by the whole crew. From entertainment to food accessories, we’ve got you covered with road trip essentials that’ll make your journey that much more enjoyable.

Road Trip Essentials To Pack for Your Next Getaway


Every road-tripper knows that organization is key when traveling. It’s inevitable that your car will be overflowing with luggage, snacks, and toys—so save yourself the trouble and add some organizational accessories into the mix. After all, nothing gives you peace of mind more than a clean and organized car.

car back seat organizer
Car Storage Organizer

3 styles available

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car trashcan
Amazon | HOTOR
Car Trash Can

10+ colors and patterns available

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middle seat food cooler and organizer
Amazon | High Road
Car Seat Organizer
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trunk car organizer
Car Organizer

8 colors and patterns available

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headrest hooks
Amazon | Amooca
Head Rest Hook Pack

10+ colors available

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cooler tote bag
Allpa Gear Hauler Tote

5 styles available

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Food Accessories

Would it really be a road trip if it weren’t for all the snacks you get to indulge in? I personally think munching on your favorite (maybe not-so-healthy) snacks is the best part of the car ride. With these food and beverage accessories, mealtime has never been easier or this mess-free!

toddler food and snack tray
Amazon | Travel Tray
Car Seat Cup Holder Tray

6 colors available

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owala water bottle
Amazon | Owala
FreeSip Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle

10+ colors available

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collapsable snack cups
Amazon | BraveJustice
Collapsible Silicone Snack Container

10+ colors available

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snack organizer
Amazon | GoBe
Snack Spinner Container

6 colors available

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cup holder tray
Amazon | This HIll
Cup Holder Expander and Tray
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reusable zip lock bag
Target | (re)zip
Reusable Leak-Proof Storage Bags

6 colors available

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Tech & Entertainment

While we tend to rely on screen time for road trip entertainment, sometimes you need something else to throw in the mix. From a pair of headphones that will tell kids Disney stories to a Kindle for the passenger princess (mom, of course), there’s something in here for the whole family. Trust us: Having these items in your road trip arsenal will make a world of difference. 

Even with all of these options, it’s a given that you or your kiddos will be reaching for a phone or tablet at some point. With that comes the need for chargers, cords, and cases. Keep those as organized as possible with the tech accessories below.

mickey mouse headphones
Disney 100 StoryPhones Bluetooth Kids Headphones & Story Shields

2 colors available

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Kindle Paperwhite

3 colors available

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writing tablet
3-Pack Writing Tablet
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indestructible book set
Amazon | Workman Publishing
Indestructibles Book Set
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road trip topics
Amazon | TableTopics
Road Trip Table Topics
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mini sensory board
Amazon | Spoilu
Travel Busy Board
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travel tray
Amazon | MENZOKE
Kids Travel Activities Tray
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ipad tablet holder
Amazon | BIGASUO
Car Headrest Tablet Mount, Set of 2
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car charger
Amazon | FOVAL
Car Power Outlet Adapter
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calpak tech organizer
Tech Organizer

10+ colors and patterns available

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Cleaning & Sanitizing

The reality of road-tripping with kids is knowing that there will be messes you’ll have to clean up during the drive. To make things easier for you, we’ve rounded up some travel-friendly cleaning supplies and sanitation products—including hypoallergenic wipes for messy little hands and individually wrapped flushable wipes (because you never know where you may have to go).

portable vacuum
Portable Hand Vacuum

4 colors available

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hand sanitizer set
Amazon | Noshinku
Pocket Hand Sanitizer 4-Pack
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flushable wipes
Amazon | Stall Mates
Individually-Wrapped Flushable Wipes
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honest cleansing towels
Amazon | The Honest Company
Multi-Purpose Cleansing Wipes
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Sleep Accessories

Everyone knows that the best way to make time fly is by taking a nap (or two). Whether you’re traveling with babies or big kids, these sleep accessories will make sure that everyone can get their much-needed rest as comfortably as possible on the road.

window shield
Amazon | Enovoe
Car Window Shades 2-Pack

2 colors available

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seatbelt pillow
Amazon | Boxiki
Seatbelt Pillow Cover
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travel blanket
Amazon | PAVILIA
Travel Blanket Pillow

10 colors and patterns available

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hatch portable sound machine
Rest Go

5 colors available

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Beauty Essentials

In addition to the usual toiletries you pack for any trip, it can be helpful to have a couple of must-haves easily accessible. You’d be surprised at how many times someone needed chapstick or extra sun protection while in the car. It also doesn’t hurt to throw in a face mask to incorporate some self-care on your car ride!

aquaphor travel set
Target | Aquaphor
Immediate Relief Repair Balm
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face and body sunscreen
Target | La Roche Posay
Face and Body Sunscreen
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travel capsules
Set of 6 Travel Capsules

7 colors available

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stress-relief face mask
Target | Pacifica
Stress Rehab and Caffeine Sheet Mask
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Health & Safety

If there’s one category you can go overboard with, it’s this one. When it comes to health and safety, it’s always better to be on the safer side and pack extra just in case. Our picks below ensure that you’ll have everything you could ever need.

dramamine for kids
Amazon | Dramamine
Kids Motion Sickness Relief
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first aid kit
Amazon | Band-Aid
All-Purpose Portable First Aid Kit
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migraine stick
Amazon | Basic Vigor
Migraine Stick
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kids nausea band
Amazon | P6
Kids Motion Sickness Bands

8 colors available

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emergen-c for kids
Amazon | Emergen-C
On-the-Go Immune Support Supplement
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car safety kit
Target | Justin Case
Deluxe Safety Kit
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