The Ultimate Family Road Trip Survival Guide

See recent posts by Tamara Gruber

Keeping the car organized, clean, and safe will cut down on the battles of whose stinky feet are touching whom and why someone’s stuff is always in someone else’s space. There may even be a few moments of silence to relax and bask in the joy of family togetherness. Before leaving home for your next road trip with the kids, make sure you have these items loaded up.

Car Organizer

1. Car Organizer

Why is it that you start a road trip with each child holding their own backpack filled with their books, games, journals, and other personal items, then 10 miles down the road you turn around and stuff is strewn all over the backseat? What you need is a way to keep your little monsters organized. This backseat organizer offers 15 different-sized pockets and even a cup/bottle holder pocket. It easily wipes clean, but what we like best is the Velcro-detachable wallet that keeps essentials close at hand, but still held together.

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Emergency Car Kit

2. Emergency Car Kit

No matter how much your try to prep your car before taking a road trip (e.g. get an oil change, check your tire pressure, etc.), emergencies do happen. It is the last thing you want to deal with on a vacation, but you still need to know that your family will be safe. This all-in-one emergency car kit from First Secure includes tools, jumper cables, and even an air compressor to fix most roadside issues. Best of all, it also includes a first aid kit and safety products like a headlamp and reflector triangle to warn oncoming traffic to go around and keep you and your family safe.

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Yeti Tumbler

3. Yeti Tumbler

Road trips just seem better when the water stays cold and the coffee stays warm to keep you fueled up and ready to drive. Ditch the plastic and styrofoam and opt for a reusable tumbler that actually maintains temperatures for hours. With an easy slide-back opening, the Yeti Rambler makes it simple to sip while keeping your eyes on the road. Plus, the tapered design means it will actually fit into the cup holder. And who can complain about the great selection of color options?

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Personal Fridge

4. Personal Fridge

The sad thing about road trips is how much food gets wasted along the way. It seems so wasteful to leave those large, half-eaten restaurant portions behind. With a plug-in personal car fridge, you can bring those with you and reheat them in the hotel microwave later (and save some money, too!) Plus, it’s a great way to keep extra beverages cool. This is a must-have for campers. Just double check the size that will fit comfortably in your car.

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Car Essential Oil Diffuser

5. Car Essential Oil Diffuser

Stinky feet are not a myth and neither is teenage body odor. If over-perfumed car fresheners or deodorizing sprays make you gag, go the natural route with an essential oil diffuser. A little Purify or Lavender will get the car smelling nicely again. Maybe even add in a little Joy or calming oils to keep everyone chill. This car diffuser from Zaq goes easily from the car to the hotel room and lasts from two to four hours.

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Car Trash Can

6. Car Trash Can

When the snack wrappers and food bags start to pile up, the family car can resemble a garbage dump. Even when you attempt to lighten the load at every pitstop, those pesky wrappers and spare French fries have a way of slipping between seats and getting tucked deep into seat back pockets. The best way to avoid finding them months later is to have a receptacle, where all trash must be placed. This automotive trash can from Rubbermaid stands up straight so it’s easy to get the trash in, and it has a pop-up lid so the trash stays in! It can hang from the seat back or sit on the floor, but the no-slip string on the bottom keeps it in place until you want to empty it.

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Phone Windshield Mount

7. Phone Windshield Mount

Many cars have built-in navigation systems, but if your car doesn’t, or your road trip involves a rental car, you’re going to need a windshield mount for your phone. The last thing you want when navigating unfamiliar terrain is to keep looking down at your phone in the cup holder for navigation assistance. The Kenu Airframe Vent Mount keeps your GPS directions within easy view, without interfering with your line of vision, and its solid construction means it is built to last.

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Winnie The Pooh Audiobook

8. Audible Subscription

Some families swear by movies or video games to make the miles pass faster, but audio books are a great alternative. Everyone can be engaged in the story together. Plus, it gives you something to discuss when you stop for breaks! An Audible subscription trial includes two free audiobooks to test it out before you buy.

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Road Atlas

9. Road Atlas

Yes, we said it. There are times when technology fails… like when you are driving through open fields and your phone that you were using for navigation goes out of coverage. It always helps to keep a handy, dandy road atlas in the car for just such an occasion. Plus, it lets you easily check to see if Google really is sending your down a crazy dirt road just to save two minutes when you would much rather stick to the highway!

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Wet Wipes

10. Wet Wipes

Can we go anywhere without wet wipes? Seriously, they are our silver bullet to so many challenges, rom cleaning up sticky spills to wiping muddy feet to cleaning dirty hands before eating. For long road trips, do yourself a favor and bring a couple of canisters. Pop a packet in your purse, too, while you are at it!

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Travel Towels

11. Travel Towels

One of the best parts of road trips can be the impromptu stops to wade through a stream or jump in a lake. It helps to have a few compact travel towels handy to dry off after. Plus, they come in very handy for swabbing up messes in the car like spilled drinks or (hopefully not) vomit. These travel towels are absorbent, dry quickly, antibacterial, and come in fun colors for everyone in the family.

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Wine Purse

12. Wine Purse

When the driving is done and the kids are in bed, it’s time to relax with a glass of wine. The kids will never even know you’ve been toting your bottle from home along all day in this stylish wine purse. It’s insulated to keep your wine cool and tucked away. It even includes a corkscrew. It comes in many colors to match your outfit, but we love the rose, don’t you?

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