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Parents know packing for road trips means more than just throwing a suitcase together -- when you're vacationing with kids, your road trip essentials list gets longer. Luckily, we're here to help with a few products you might not have on that list already. Whether this is your first or your 50th road trip with your kids, we think you'll find this list helpful. We rounded up some unique items to make the long drive easy on you and your little ones. From finds that will keep your kids entertained to emergency products you'll need in a pinch, we've thought of it all.
What this list won't consist of (but you shouldn't forget): a cooler full of snacks, a car phone charger, extra cash, portable phone chargers, jumper cables, and a spare tire. You know better than to leave for a road trip without these products -- especially with precious cargo in the backseat or passenger seat! What this list will consist of: game-changing essentials you might not have thought of, but will tell all your friends about as soon as you get them home. Read on.
1. This Will Make Your Car So Organized
One Pix Car Backseat Organizer
ONE PIX Backseat Car Organizer - Amazon, $12.99
Parents, you must keep your patience for a fun, family road trip! To lower the number of times you'll hear your kiddo call out for something while you're trying to merge into another lane, consider a backseat organizer so they can have access to everything they may need right at their disposal. Place toys, snacks, and drinks in the organizer -- because it has eight large compartments for water bottles, toys, snacks, and more.
Possibly the best part of the whole thing? There's a touchscreen tablet holder that fits your iPad or Fire, so be sure to download movies on Netflix before getting on the road so kids can enjoy TV without WiFi. The durable organizer is also waterproof and oil-resistant. Just wipe it down with a damp cloth if it gets sticky. Plus, the adjustable webbing strips fit behind most front seats and can be easily tucked into the seat gaps without discomfort for another passenger. Use the quick-release buckles for easy installation.
2. A Travel Pillow Isn't Just For Planes
Car Headrest Travel Pillow
Yoocaa Car Headrest Pillow - Amazon, $32.99
Don't forget a neck pillow for your next road trip. Parents hate seeing their little ones strain their necks as they sleep, but this car seat headrest fits most car seats and keeps their heads nice and secure. It's super easy to install and doesn't require tools -- and it even rotates 180 degrees, so it will support most heights (which means you can use it, too). The U-shaped pillow is made of leather and thickened memory foam. It's going to be so comfy!
3. When Their Tablets Aren't Charged, Try Out This Fun Game
SPY Travel Card Game for Kids
I SPY Travel Card Game for Kids - Amazon, $8
So maybe their gadgets need some charging time. Or, maybe you don't allow a lot of time on the tablet for your kiddos. Either way, the kids should have a form of entertainment that doesn't involve screens, and this I SPY game is one of the best road trip card games for kids. It'll allow kids to have fun while also enjoying the scenery on the way. The seek-and-find card game combines pictures, riddles, and more to create brain-teasers for kids (and adults). You'll receive 48 cards, and it's perfect for ages four and up.
4. A Gentle Honey-Based Solution For Cuts & Scrapes
First Honey Manuka Honey Ointment
First Honey Sterile Manuka Honey Ointment - Amazon, $12.89
You probably have a First Aid kit ready in the car, but having an ointment in your glove compartment for lots of little scrapes, burns, scalds, or cuts that can pop up can be a huge help -- because you don't always need to break out that big kit. We recommend this Manuka Honey ointment. Manuka honey is known for its healing and antibacterial properties -- plus, the high viscosity provides a moist protective barrier to prevent infection and minimize scarring. There are no artificial antibiotics or additives in this -- it's the perfect first aid ointment that's natural and medical grade, so you'll be glad you kept this multi-use around.
5. A Kid-Sized Pair of Headphones That Fold Up
M1 Wired Kids Headphones
POWMEE M1 Kids Headphones Wired - Amazon, $14.99
Kids who love audiobooks and enjoy their own Spotify playlists on their cellphone need headphones, but most just end up borrowing their Mom's or Dad's. Before they go on their next trip, gift them their own pair that they will be excited to own and use all for themselves. These budget-friendly headphones are comfy, lightweight, and recommended for kids three and up. The foldable headphones can be easily stored in backseat organizers or daypacks too, and they are compatible with iPhones, androids, tablets, and more. See the whole list of compatible devices here.
6. Their Own Lunch Box To Store Favorite Snacks
FlowFly Kids Lunch Box
FlowFly Kid's Lunch Box - Amazon, $16.99
A lunch box full of the snacks your child is going to inevitably ask for 20 minutes into the drive is a must -- and you'll be surprised how happy they'll be when you allow them to eat their snacks exactly when they want them. We picked this durable lunch bag because it has sturdy zippers, fun colors, is water-resistant, and has a few compartments. Snacks are sure to stay secure (and cold) in the bag for more than nine hours with ice packs -- and it's very roomy, so it'll fit a lot.
7. A Water Bottle That Also Has a Straw
THERMOS Funtainer with Straw
Thermos Funtainer - Amazon, $15.10
Forget digging in the cooler, this water bottle keeps drinks cold for up to 12 hours. It's lightweight, compact, and very convenient for travel. The push-button lip is easy to use, plus there's a hygienic covered straw that will be fun for the kids to drink out of. This durable water bottle is made of sturdy stainless steel, which is perfect for kiddos who let their belongings take a tumble sometimes. The integrated carry handle features a soft-touch grip, it comes in over 30 colors, and is dishwasher-safe. One reviewer wrote: "Bought these for our 2.5 year old who struggles to drink enough water. Having the right cup makes all the difference!"
8. A Toy They'll Play With For Hours -- And It Calms Nerves
Pop-It Fidget Toys
Pop It Fidget Pop Toys, 4-Pack - Amazon, $5.99
As someone who loves popping bubble wrap, I may need this fidget toy for myself -- this brilliant toy creates a satisfying popping sound and soothes kids by giving them something to do consistently with their hands. It's made of soft, malleable silicone and comes in a pack with four different shapes -- circle, square, octagon, and heart. This is a great stress release for kids (and even parents). The toy is washable, and reviewers love that it's super-durable and even helps kids stay focused on conversations with the whole family.
9. A Portable Art Project That's Mess-Free
Rainbow Scratch Art Book
Rainbow Scratch Art Book - Amazon, $8.99
As a kid who just needed their art set and some paper to stay entertained, I can totally understand why many parents agree it's an essential road trip product for kids. This fun set comes with a book with 20 spiral-bound pages and two wooden pens. It's a mess-free coloring book that features bright colors that hide beneath the matte coating -- kids use the wooden pens to reveal them by scratching them, and they can create their own fun designs without the mess of markers and paint or crayons (just put a napkin under their lap so it catches the shavings. These cool illustrations were so fun to make as a kid, and I have no doubt your kid will love them, too.
10. A Travel Tray That Turns Their Seat into A Playroom
ecoZen Carseat Travel Tray
ecoZen Travel Tray - Amazon, $29.95
This nylon carseat travel tray is perfect for holding toys and crafts to keep your kiddo entertained. It's also great for snacking! There's a cup holder attached. There are side pockets for crayons, books, snacks, tablets, or whatever your kid may need handy. We love that ecoZen kept safety in mind -- it's strong and durable, and the tray will stay securely in place thanks to the front buckle straps. It's also helpful in preventing messes: The soft flap prevents crumbs, crayons, and toys from falling off the tray. It's waterproof, and also comes in a dinosaur pattern.
11. A Set of Natural Wipes That Work Better Than Most
Boogie Wipes Wet Wipes
Boogie Wipes Wet Wipes - Amazon, $6.73
These wipes are made with natural saline, which is gentle on the skin. The wipes clean and dissolve all that stuff that comes out of your kid's nose, but it's also excellent for dirt, germs, and spills. It's an all-in-one wipe that works better than baby wipes and isn't harsh on the skin like antibacterial wipes, so they're good to add to your purse or glove compartment. The soft wipes moisturize with aloe, chamomile, and vitamin E. The wipes were invented by moms who wanted 100% percent naturally-derived ingredients. Not only do parents recommend them, but so do pediatricians. These wipes are free of alcohol and parabens and are hypoallergenic. These will come in handy for road trips and flu season.
READ MORE: Travel Blankets: 6 Cozy Choices for Backpacking, Jet-Setting, and Road Tripping
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