So, you’re planning on chucking the kids in the car and setting off on an adventure?
Here’s a list of super handy gear for road trips with small humans that’ll make your life soooo much easier! I hope 😉
Headrest Hook – Hang your bag, a garbage bag, a towel, anything at all of the back of your seat. The possibilities are endless and the effect it has on general tidiness in the car is awesome. I actually use cheap carabiner clips from Bunnings but these ones are on my wish list too.
Munchkin Snack Catcher – These saved me when our kids were younger, they are perfect for giving to toddlers so they can snack on the drive without upending the entire contents of whatever you give them into their seat. Halved grapes, Nutrios, sultanas and all sorts of cut fruit work really well.
Wow Cup – These were another game changer for us. They are the holy grail, the elusive cup that doesn’t leak. You can have these banging around in the car and never worry about getting everything wet. They are also great for kids to drink at night because they can be used while they are laying down without any spilling.
Wee Guard Car Seat Protector – Perfect for when you have a little one who is just out of nappies and things are still a bit hit and miss. Or, for babies who tend to have the odd nappy explosion, cos that sucks so bad too!
Dry Bags – Store any wet or super dirty clothes, deal with the fall out of toilet training on the road or stash your swimming gear when you leave the beach. They keep the stink and the damp away from everything else in the car. I get these ones pictured at BCF.
Wipes (or wash cloth in zip lock bag) – Wipes. Every road tripping parent raves about them when it comes to essential gear for road trips and they are super handy. You can get these biodegradable ones from Amcal. If you are feeling a bit guilty about how many you go through and how it’s impacting the environment you can do the old wet washer in a ziplock bag trick. As long as you rinse it regularly and change the cloth daily it doesn’t get stinky, promise!
Zip lock bags – There are a million uses for these but the biggest one for me at the moment is clothes storage for the kids. I chuck one outfit for one kid in each bag, including socks and undies. Then all I have to do when I get the kids dressed is pull a bag out and I know I have everything I need right there. Use the link to check the size I get. Just keep the environment in mind, there’s no reason they shouldn’t last you for years and if you do need to chuck the bags at some stage make sure they go into the soft plastic recycling.
Headphones – You have probably heard me rave on about podcasts and audiobooks when it comes to keeping the kids entertained. If you don’t want to listen to the Play School series six times or you have kids of different ages who want to listen to different stuff then head phones will be your friend! You can get the ones pictured for $10 at Target. I’ve done some lists up of great podcasts and audiobooks that we love that might help you out.
Chuckies Sick Bags – I haven’t had this battle yet (she says while touching wood!) but I’ve got some friends who do have the issue and the sick bags are a lifesaver they reckon.
Queasy Drops – If you have kids who get carsick then take something to help settle queasy tums. There are a number of different options out there but I liked the look of this one as it’s all natural. Ginger is the winner apparently and there are a bunch of ginger based tummy settling options out there if you do a quick search.
Esky/Cooler – If you’re trying to keep the road trip food plan healthy and as cheap as possible then taking an esky is definitely the go. It means you can take perishables without worrying about stuff going off and you won’t end up spending a fortune on sandwiches and takeaway meals at service stations. You can get the one pictured at Anaconda.
Garbage Bags/Bin – I used to use old shopping bags but now that they have been banned (yay!) I’ve had to come up with another idea. I use a large Tupperware container with a lid now and just upend it into the bins at truck stops. Otherwise, you can grab compostable bin bags like these ones from Flora & Fauna . The combustible bags I’ve come across don’t seem to ever have handles so I tie a knot in one side so they can be hung on the hooks on the back of the seat.
Comfy clothes – I stuffed up the other day and ended up with the last clean jumper for Max being a hoody on a long drive day. He hated it, the hood behind his head in the carseat was driving him crazy and didn’t I hear about it for an hour or so before we ditched it. Same goes with Ivy and jeans. I make sure I chuck them both in soft cotton, stretchy, not too tight clothes fo the long drive days.
Sun shade for the window – I mucked around with a few different cheaper versions of this when the kids were little, like magnetic ones and others with suction caps. I found that they usually had gaps around them that still let in sun or that they just kept falling off. Also, you couldn’t have the window down with them on. The ones that slide over the window stay put, don’t leave gaps and you can have the window down without it shifting.
First aid kit – There are all sorts of first aid kits out there, somewhere like St Johns Ambulance will give you info about the different options. It’s definitely worth having one in your car. In saying that, my own little medicine box with all my essentials gets a whole lot more use on our trips. I pack, bandaids, Stingoes, Panadol, Nurofen, oral antihistamines, nail clippers, tweezers, Betadine ointment, a thermometer, scissors and Sudocreme
Mirror for rear facing car seats – I actually didn’t really think these were going to be very useful until our second Bub arrived and decided she was going to scream the place down every time I put her in the car. They were way down on my list and I tried everything else first which is a bummer cos as soon as the mirror went in she was fine! Turns out she just wanted to be able to see me so she knew I was there. Makes sense.
Picnic rug – You are going to end up on the side of the road at a truck stop, or trying to have lunch on the sand at the beach or just setting up in a playground along the way for a picnic. A picnic rug is a must to keep the dirt/sand/ants outta the lunch. You can get these amazing rugs (pictured) at Wandering Folk, they are so beautiful! Or, check out my shop for beautiful larger recycled plastic mats that I reckon are pretty fab too 😉
Car Seat Organiser – If you have kids you are well and truly aware of how much stuff you end up needing when you head off. It’s a total trip to keep it all organised and stop the car looking like a bomb hit. These organisers are one good way to tackle that problem.
In car entertainment – Podcasts, books, apps and audiobooks are great for entertaining kids on the road. Here are some posts I have done with different ideas when it comes to in car entertainment… Apps for road trips with kids (that don’t involve screens), perfect podcasts for family road trips, my favourite stories on Audible and ten ways to entertain your kids on a road trip.
Large water container – I mentioned water bottles at the beginning of the post, but there’s nothing worse than running out of water and listening to kids complain about being thirsty for half an hour while you look for a servo. Also, buying bottles of water is expensive! I keep a big container of water in the boot to fill up all of our drink bottles along the way. You can get the one pictured at BCF.
For more ideas about handy gear for road trips with kids check out what to pack when you are road tripping with kids and road trip & camping toys that don’t take up too much space.
There’s a heap of super useful posts on this blog that will make adventuring with wee humans a whole lot easier. The best way to check out what’s there is to head over to the index, that way you can find the posts relevant to you without having to dig around for ages.
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