All the best road trip essentials for traveling with kids, organizing the car, and streamline packing + the ultimate packing checklist.
This post is sponsored by Walmart.
After a stressful few weeks (who am I kidding… it’s been a stressful year for all of us honestly), it feels SO GOOD to finally venture out for road trips this summer.
Robert, the kids, and I are heading to the North Carolina Mountains soon to enjoy family time unplugged in nature (well, as nature-y as I get anyway), so I’ve been gathering up all of our road trip essentials this week.
My family pokes fun at me because I am THE Type A packer. I keep a packing checklist on my phone at all times. Our collection of travel sized toiletries is teetering on hoarding levels.
When we’re in that car, I’m like Mary Poppins pulling all kinds of magic out of my bag to keep the kids from killing each other in the back seat. (Where are my other prepared mamas? Ya feel me on this?)
This is the first trip that I’ve had my Walmart+ membership at my disposal to prepare all the travel games, car organizers, and packing necessities, and it’s been a huge time-saver in our preparation. If you’re planning a road trip soon, I thought maybe sharing my big list of travel must-haves would help.
This summer, instead of running all over town to fulfill our packing checklist, I placed an order with Walmart+, and everything showed up on our doorstep within a few hours. Oh. my. gosh. why have I never done delivery for travel prep before?
Here’s all of our travel essentials…
Road Trip Essentials
Travel Essentials for the Car
1. Backseat Organizer – Keeps are car from becoming an explosion of chaos while also making toys/activities in easy reach for my kids so they don’t ask me to reach for all the things in the floor board.
2. Bluetooth FM Transmitter & Charger – If you have an older model car without Bluetooth, this is a must for streaming music and hand-free calling. And helpful to have when charging devices on the go.
3. Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes – This tropical scent is so good. I use them not just for hands but wiping down surfaces too.
4. Car Trunk Organizer – This thing is the BEST for sneaking in extra storage space to keep everything you need in easy reach, especially in an SUV so people sitting in the middle row can grab what they need.
5. Auto Safety Kit – If you’re ever stranded with car trouble, you’ll be glad you have this.
6. Mobile Phone Mounting Kit – To help you stay hands free and keep your eyes on the road.
7. Colgate Max Fresh Wisp – Love these for when you desperately need a quick toothbrushing on the road (all those car snacks).
8. Rayovac Flashlight – Just in case your car battery dies in the middle of nowhere at night, this is good to have nearby. The handle glows in the dark.
9. Car Trash Can with Storage Pockets – To help tame the garbage situation and yay for more compartments to stay organized! Can’t have enough.
10. Tide Pen to Go – There’s inevitably always a spill on someone’s shirt while inhaling those car snacks.
11. Travel Pillow, Eye Mask, and Ear Plugs – So you can snooze while the rest of the car is noisy.
12. Sunglasses – Don’t go on summer vacay without em. These are so cute.
13. Soft Cooler – We keep this in the floorboard with cold drinks and snacks so we’re less likely to stop and spend more $ on gas station junk food.
14. Olly Goodbye Stress – I’ve used these gummies for years and SWEAR by them to ease my anxiety on the road (along with taking CBD).
15. Blanket – Good to have if someone gets cold or you need to spread out a blanket at a rest stop for a picnic (or on a picnic table). Plus, it’s designed for the beach if you’re going to a beach destination.
16. Car Headrest Tablet Holder – So people in the backseat can sit back and watch a movie on the ride.
17. Dramamine – The adult kind too because motion sickness is the worst on a road trip.
Travel Essentials for the Kids
1. Loaded Questions Junior – LOVE this game! These 200 topics create great conversation, hilarious moments, and an opportunity for family bonding.
2. License Plates Across the States – An activity book full of puzzles, trivia, and travel games with stickers to play the license plate game.
3. Charades for Kids – Classic Charades designed for kids. It’s extra challenging playing in the car.
4. Crayola Color Wonder Art Kit – This comes with a lap desk for easy coloring in the car but prevents my toddler from drawing all over the backseat.
6. Dramamine for Kids – A definite if your kids are prone to motion sickness
7. Children’s Neck Pillow and Sleep Mask – My 8 year-old absolutely will not sleep without an eye mask. What’s that about?
8. Children’s Benadryl – One more to add to the first aid kit in case someone has an allergic reaction.
9. Uno – A classic game to play anywhere.
10. Highlights Fun to Go Travel Games – 20 travel games with an included spinner for multi-player or single player if only one person is in the mood to play.
11. Kids’ Water Bottle – This one and the Camelbacks are the family favorites
12. Kids’ Wireless Bluetooth Headphones – Always a must for watching movies, listening to their own music, or playing games on a tablet in the car
13. The Everything Kids’ Giant Book of Jokes, Riddles, and Brain Teasers – Our whole family gets into this… we’re entertained by riddles even when the kids don’t want to play.
14. I Spy Travel Card Game – The best scavenger hunt on the go.
15. Kids’ Backpack – We have a rule in our house that each kid can pack 1 backpack of toys, books, and activities on vacation.
Travel Essentials for Packing
1. Laundry bag – Good to have in the hotel room for separating your dirty clothes from your clean ones and simply tossing the bag in your suitcase when the trip is done.
2. Hanging Toiletry Organizer – It’s so helpful to hang everything you need right on the bathroom door when you get to your destination.
3. First Aid Kit – Best to be prepared for whatever scrapes and booboos some your way.
4. Hardback Suitcase – This suitcase is great for fitting everything in the trunk snuggly without wasted space.
5. Kids’ Suitcase – This one is so cute and only $20!
6. Jewelry Roll – My necklaces would always get tangled in the suitcase, but this helps prevent your jewelry from being ruined.
7. White Noise Machine – I hate trying to sleep in a noisy hotel with thin walls. Problem solved.
8. Pill Organizer Box – So I can take just the vitamins and supplements I need for the week without lugging the bulky bottles.
9. Shrink Pak – These packing bags remove air from your clothes so you can save twice the space in your suitcase.
10. Ziploc Accessory Bags – Perfect for storing all of the smaller items like make-up and toiletries.
11. Wrinkle Release – If I’m without an iron or just don’t want to lug one out, I love this for freshening up our clothes after unpacking in the hotel room.
12. Elderberry Gummies – For a much-needed immune system boost
13. Bluetooth Speaker – If we’re traveling somewhere with a beach especially, this is a must for playing our favorite music while hanging out at our destination.
And just so you can witness my very Monica Gellar-ish 2 page packing checklist I’ve kept on my phone for years, here’s a printable version you can use. I check it off while I pack and I check it off again when I’m repacking for home at the hotel or Airbnb so we don’t leave anything behind.
You can download the printable packing checklist by clicking here or the button below to subscribe and get access:
(If you’re already a subscriber, the direct download to the printable checklist is in your inbox and at the bottom of every email I send. Access the printable library here.)
Everything from our essentials list is available on Walmart+ so you can get it quickly.
If you’re new to Walmart+, it’s a membership to help save money, time, and add convenience to everyday tasks.
For some zip codes, members get fast free shipping from Walmart.com and your local store (excludes freight and Marketplace items) and free delivery from your local store ($35 minimum, restrictions apply) on all kinds of items that can be purchased in Walmart’s stores with the same everyday low prices.
Other benefits include member prices on fuel and mobile scan & go so you can check out with your phone as you shop in-store.
Do you have any other road trip essentials to add to the list? Or any out-of-the-norm things you’ve found helpful to pack? There are so many things to remember it’s a miracle we end up anywhere.