Road Trip Essentials When Traveling With Toddlers

The holiday season is right around the corner, and for many of us this means taking many road trips to visit family.

Travelling with toddlers can be fun, but it can also be slightly nerve-wracking.

Especially when they start asking for things you don’t have.

Like ratty old stale crackers they never wanted to touch in the first place.

But now that you’re on highway, they all of a sudden waaaant it and neeeed it.


This year, I plan on smart packing.

Smart packing involves packing methodically. Thinking about what your toddlers usually use/do at home, and bringing them to your car.

You can even buy car-friendly alternatives to the items you already have at home. So rather than bringing a bunch of crayons and papers, consider getting a portable drawing board that is only to be used in the car.

In my experience, kids seem to be more interested and intrigued in things they don’t get to use all the time. You know, they don’t just want any old random stuff.

Having some designated items for road trips will make seemingly long car rides super fun and enjoyable for your little ones.

In preparation for all our holiday outings, I came up with this list of toddler travel essentials that will make every single road trip this holiday season.

Toddler Travel Essential #1: Comfortable Car Seat

A cranky child isn’t necessarily bored. They could just be uncomfortable. Even as a grown-up you know how a car seat that’s too hard or too soft can leave your legs cramping and your back aching.

Having a car seat that is not only safe, but comfortable will help everyone have an enjoyable road trip. The perfect car seat will ideally have comfortable seating, an adjustable headrest (to avoid painful kinks in the neck) and of course cup holder for your toddler’s sippy cup. I never knew just how much of a difference having a really comfortable car seat would make until we upgraded both of our kids’ car seats!

Toddler Travel Essential #2: Drinks + Dry Foods/ Spill-Proof snack cup

Buying food on the road can get really expensive. Plus it can be a challenge to find healthy, wholesome foods for your toddler unless you have access to a fancy grocery store.

Having your child’s favorite drink in a spill-proof cup and some dry foods is an important travel essential not only because your child actually needs to eat and drink, but because they can by you a lot of time…especially when you’ve been saying you’re 5 mins away from Aunty Jackie’s for the last hour, but your GPS reads 2.5 hours remaining. 

Toddler Travel Essential #3: Backseat Organizer with Tablet Holder

Having a backseat organizer with a tablet holder is super important. Not only does it keep things as neat as possible in the car, it also helps with not having to reach for the giant, over-packed diaper bag every 10 minutes.

You can stock it with everything your toddler might need, from snacks, to the tablet where he/she can keep themselves entertained.

Toddler Travel Essential #4: Hard Books

I don’t know about you but I can only handle hearing “let it goooo…. let it goooooo…” so many times before I start reaching for my earplugs. If you’ll be on the road for long periods of time, consider bringing along some of your kids’ favorite books.

To make it even more fun, have the books gift-wrapped. Your kids will be even more excited to unwrap and read them while you enjoy some peace and quiet.

Toddler Travel Essential #5: Warm Blanket + Comfort Toy

Does your child have a favorite toy or blanket they carry around with them everywhere they go? My 2 year old can hardly go anywhere without her favorite blankie. To keep your toddler super cozy and warm during your road trip, bring his/her blanket. If they have a special comfort toy, bring that along too.

Young children most often carry around a comfort toys and blankets because it soothes and comforts them. Being on the road for long periods of time can be rough for young children. Having a toy/blanket they love can make the trip that much memorable and enjoyable for them.

Toddler travel Essential #6: Magnetic Color Drawing Board

Does your toddler like creating fun little works of art? A portable magnetic color drawing board is the perfect road trip essential for your little Picasso. This is a much more practical alternative then the standard paper and crayons which can be hard challenge to keep track of in the car.

Toddler Travel Essential #6: Sunshades

If you’ll be travelling during the daytime, having sunshade in the back can help calm down a fussy and sleepy toddler. Sunshades will help create an environment that is conducive to sleep. I live for nap time. Don’t you?

I hope you found this list helpful. Safe (and fun) travels!

Which items will you be adding to your list of toddler travel essentials? Comment below!

Hey, I'm Mallaury! I'm a child of God, a wife to an incredible man, and a mama to 2 babies - a 2 yr old girl and an 11 month old boy who both keep us laughing and on our feet all day. I started Life of a Babe as a way to rediscover my passions (they kinda get lost in all the crazy motherhood mess right?!) and as a way to share my journey in hopes of helping and inspiring other young wives and mamas such as myself. I started blogging while on maternity leave from my corporate job and thanks to that incredible man I told you about (my hubby), I am able to pursue my dream of blogging and share my story in hopes of connecting with and inspiring other mamas!

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These are all essentials for car travel with a toddler. Having items close by is a must. Sometime the back organizer may not always be in reach so using the organizer that goes on the seat is also great. This way if you have 2 kids in car seats you can put all the goodies in the middle. Food is definitely needed. A magnetic coloring board is a great idea. I also like those invisible markers. The ones that one color on the book it comes with. Saving this list for the next car trip. Rachel from Explore Kid TalkReply to Rachel