Car Laws & Safety

Road Trip With A Toddler Checklist | 29 Must Have Items

Road trips with toddlers can be a lot of fun, but they require you to bring some supplies just in case. 

Many parents fear going on road trips with their toddlers because they assume it will be difficult. Sometimes it can be scary not knowing how your little will behave.

However, there are some things you can do to make sure your toddler has a successful road trip. We will give you a list of everything you need to have a successful road trip with your little one and make your next road trip a breeze.

The most important items to bring on family road trip are snacks, toys and medicine. You’ll want plenty of snacks and toys for your child’s entertainment as well as diapers when on the road!

But before you hit the open highway with your little one, make sure you have everything on this checklist!  

Road Trip With A Toddler Checklist 

1.Snacks For Kids 

It’s always a good habit to bring along some non-perishable snacks if the kids get hungry or need a snack break during their travels.

You might want to pack healthy options like granola bars or applesauce pouches so they’ll munch on something healthy, and that will keep them full for a while.

You can also bring along some snacks such as goldfish crackers or pretzels to help occupy your kid if they’re having a hard time sitting still during the car ride.

Betty Crocker Monster Mash Spooky Berry Fruit Snacks, 1.4 Lb

2.Medications

Along with snacks, make sure you pack all of your child’s medication (if they need any). This includes things like ibuprofen and other fever reducers if you require them; anti-nausea drugs and anything else you feel is appropriate.

If your toddler has specific allergies, make sure their EpiPen is available if they get into something that could harm them (like peanuts). It’s always good practice to keep medicine in the car in case of an emergency.

Kids Cold Medicine for Ages 2+, Hylands 4 Kids Cold 'n Cough, Day and Night Value Pack, Syrup Cough Medicine for Kids, Nasal Decongestant, Allergy Relief, 4 Fl Oz Each

3.Stroller

Make sure you have your toddler’s stroller with their sleeping gear ready to go.

It can be tiring for them to walk everywhere during the day so having a place to take a break often helps make their trip more enjoyable.

Summer Infant, 3D Mini Convenience Stroller – Lightweight Stroller with Compact Fold MultiPosition Recline Canopy with Pop Out Sun Visor and More – Umbrella Stroller for Travel and More, Gray

4.Baby wipes

This may sound obvious, but everyone has experienced an accident at one point or another, and this item is handy to keep around just in case yours does. Having these slight accidents happen when you’re in the car can be very stressful.

Baby Wipes, Huggies Natural Care Sensitive Baby Diaper Wipes, Unscented, Hypoallergenic, 8 Flip-Top Packs (448 Wipes Total)

5.Changing Pad

Some people don’t like to bring this type of pad with them but having one can be very useful when you’re in the car.

If your child is in diapers, they might need a place to lay down when you stop by the side of the road, so it’s good to have something with you at all times. 

Summer Infant Basic Changing Essentials Kit with Changing Pad, Cover, and Waterproof Liner, Chevron (3 Piece Set)

6.Books and toys for your toddler

This one might seem simple because who doesn’t love books? If you want to keep them occupied during your trip, try having some of their favorite toys or stuffed animals with them, so they have familiar items from home.

Also, consider picking up a few new things just in case they haven’t seen it before. Sometimes seeing something different can be an excellent way to keep them entertained.

You may also want to find some exciting picture books that they can look at along the way; this might make your child more interested in the fact that you’re going somewhere new.

USA Road Trip Coloring & Activity Book for Kids: 30+ Pages of Coloring Activities and Games

7.Extra clothes for your toddler

This is something everyone needs to have on hand, especially if they are young children. Accidents happen, and having extra clothes at all times is critical!

8.Sippy Cup

Bringing a sippy cup is a must. Be sure to bring a cup that they like, and that is spill-proof!

The last thing you want is juice spilling all over their clothes or yourself so avoid this by bringing a sippy cup!

Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Cup, Green/Blue, 7 Oz, 2 Count

9.Diaper cream

If your child has sensitive skin, you might want to keep a tube of diaper cream with you.

The last thing you want is for your child to be uncomfortable and crying in the car due to a diaper rash. 

It’s also a good idea to apply it before and during the trip, even if your child doesn’t have a diaper rash. This way, you’re less likely to run into problems during your trip.

Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment To-Go Pack - Advanced Therapy for Chapped Cheeks and Diaper Rash - Fragrance Free, 0.7 Ounce, 2 Count

10.Comfortable Car Seat

This is especially important if you’re traveling with a baby because you’ll want to make sure they are buckled in properly but comfortable at the same time.

You don’t want your child to start screaming or getting fussy while you’re driving, so keep them relaxed at all times by bringing along their car seat that they’re already familiar with. 

If you buy a new car seat for the trip or use one from the car rental facility and it’s uncomfortable, the trip won’t be fun for anyone.

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat | Ride Rear Facing Longer with Extend2Fit, Davis, 20.75x19x24.5 Inch (Pack of 1)

11.Activity Books

Pack a couple of activity books to keep your child occupied. Make sure that they’re age-appropriate and contain things that your toddler will enjoy, like puzzles and coloring pages.

If your toddler loves stickers, reusable sticker books are great to bring along, too. When they’re done playing with their sticker book or activity pages, let them stick the decals on the car window.

Melissa & Doug Puffy Sticker Activity Books Set - Farm, Safari, and Chipmunk

12.Potty Seat

If your child is still learning how to use the potty, this can come in handy if they need some help.

Having a portable seat to bring with you into gas stations or bathroom stops is a way to help your little one feel more comfortable going in public.

It’s also an option to bring an entire toddler-sized training toilet to keep in the car that they can go in if you have to pull over sooner than expected.

Munchkin Sturdy Potty Seat, Green

13.Tablet

Even though this isn’t a necessity, it could really help keep your kids entertained during the drive.

You might want to bring along an electronic device to help them watch or play games, so they don’t get bored! If you’re driving for longer than just a few hours, you’ll want to have some entertainment for them to do during the duration of the trip.

If you prefer to limit screentime, bringing the tablet can still be useful, but instead of relying on it for the whole trip, it can be a last resort option if your toddler gets unusually cranky.

Fire 7 Kids Tablet, 7" Display, ages 3-7, 16 GB, Blue Kid-Proof Case

14.Travel Tray

If your car doesn’t have a built-in tray, you might need to bring along one of these.

A travel tray can help keep snacks and toys organized, so they don’t roll around and get dirty or lost during the drive.

Lusso Gear Kids Travel Tray - Inspire Active Toddlers & Big Kids for Years w/ Dry Erase Board & Eating Snack Tray, No-Drop Tablet iPad Holder Stand & Art Supplies Storage Pockets

15.Music (Mix Tape or Spotify Playlist ) / Kid Friendly Movies

Whatever type of music your toddler likes listening to is perfect as long as it will keep them entertained!

Make sure to remember to download their favorite songs and movies to the device before leaving for the trip to avoid any waiting time for the content to download while you’re on the road.

You can also bring along some DVDs if you have a player in your car and if your child really enjoys certain movies. Sometimes watching the same movie over and over again might be better than nothing at all!

16.Diapers/Pull-Ups

Whether going on a road trip with a toddler or baby, you’ll obviously need diapers. 

You might want to bring along some extras (50% more than what you think you’ll need) for longer trips just in case multiple things happen where they need new diapers quickly!

Keep diapers and wipes in multiple places for easy accessibility, like your bag, backseat, or trunk, so you can change them whenever needed.

Diapers Newborn/Size 1 (8-14 lb), 120 Count - Pampers Baby Dry Disposable Baby Diapers, Super Pack

17.Blankets

Even though this isn’t a necessity, it can definitely help keep your baby warm during cold weather.

If the air conditioning is on full blast, a blanket might be good to have on hand so they can be covered up easily without worrying about getting too cold.

It will also help cover them if it gets windy outside while on your trip, and it is a great way for them to feel more comfortable while being away from home!

Hudson Baby Double Layer Blanket, Blue, One Size

18.Laundry Bag

A laundry bag or hamper can be very useful to keep your dirty clothes in. Keeping them separate from clean clothes is essential when it comes to space, especially if you’re traveling in a tiny car.

It will be helpful to have some sort of area to put their dirty clothes in that is separate from any other items you’ll bring along with you.

2 Pcs Travel Laundry Bag, JHX Dirty Clothes Bag 【Upgraded】 with Handles and Aluminum Carabiner, Collapsible Laundry Bag for Travel, Camp, Fitness, and Students (Black&Grey) 24"L x 21"W

19.Snacks For Parents

Because your toddler probably won’t share their snacks! Having some adult snacks on hand is crucial to keeping anyone sane.

They don’t have to be anything crazy, but something like a granola bar makes the perfect snack when you are driving.

20.Sunscreen

Some people might not think about this, but summer road trips can take up quite a bit of time, which means having enough sunscreen to keep everyone safe is essential.

Bringing a few travel-size sunscreens will ensure you have one with you at all times.

Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray, Water-Resistant and Oil-Free, Broad Spectrum SPF 70+, 5 oz 2PK

21.Bottled Water

An open bottle of water will be helpful if your child starts getting thirsty; you can transfer some into a sippy cup for them to drink whenever they need it.

Water is always a great thing to have for both you and your toddler because no one wants to get dehydrated while driving long distances! 

You can also use the water if you need to rinse your child’s hands off after a messy snack time.

22.First Aid Kit   

It’s necessary to bring along a first aid kit if someone is hurt while on the road. Having a first aid kit available will help you handle anything that comes up while traveling.

Having band-aids, alcohol wipes, tweezers, or even antiseptic spray will help you deal with minor emergencies during your trip!

Be Smart Get Prepared 100 Piece First Aid Kit: Clean, Treat, Protect Minor Cuts, Scrapes. Home, Office, Car, School, Business, Travel, Emergency, Survival, Hunting, Outdoor, Camping & Sports

23.Survival Kit

A survival kit can have different items inside, but it’s usually filled with things you might need in an emergency situation. 

This is good to have just in case something goes wrong while you’re away from home or if your car breaks down unexpectedly.

AOKIWO 200Pcs Emergency Survival Kit Professional Survival Gear Tool First Aid Kit SOS Emergency Survival Kit with Molle Pouch for Camping Adventures (Black)…

24.Sunshade

If you don’t have one already, a window sunshade is good to have in the car when traveling with a toddler.

The sunlight might be too bright for them to handle and could cause them to cry or throw a fit, so it’s a good idea to bring along a cover that can help block out the sun.

EcoNour Car Windshield Sun Shade with Storage Pouch | Durable 240T Material Car Sun Visor for UV Rays and Sun Heat Protection | Car Interior Accessories for Sun Heat | Standard (64 inches x 32 inches)

25.Cooler or Cooler Bag

Depending on how long your trip is, you might want to bring along a cooler bag. If you’re driving for longer than an hour at a time, it’s good to have some ice/ice packs inside the cooler that will help keep drinks and snacks cold whenever they need them.

This can also help limit any spills or messes when things get knocked over!

Swig Life Cooli Family Cooler Bag, Large, Lightweight, Soft Insulated Beach Bag

26.Cordless Vacuum

Bringing a cordless vacuum on road trips is a game changer! This way, you can clean up any messes that might happen, so they don’t build up over time and make your car dirty.

It’s also handy to keep your child’s car seat free of crumbs and messes.

VacLife Handheld Vacuum, Car Vacuum Cleaner Cordless, Red (VL188-N)

27.Batteries

Even though this is a basic item, you might want to bring along some extra batteries for any electronics or toys you bring along for the trip.

If you don’t want to lug around a ton of batteries, make sure to replace them in any toys or electronics you plan to take with you before you leave.

Amazon Basics 100 Pack AAA High-Performance Alkaline Batteries, 10-Year Shelf Life, Easy to Open Value Pack

28.Noise Cancelling Headphones

Noise-canceling headphones are great to have on hand to help avoid sensory overload if your child needs aid coping with loud sounds.

Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones, Wireless Over Ear Bluetooth Headphones, 40H Playtime, Hi-Res Audio, Deep Bass, Memory Foam Ear Cups, for Travel, Home Office

29.Patience

Having a toddler is already hard enough so try to remember to keep calm and avoid yelling during your trip. Road trips shouldn’t be stressful for anyone involved, so they can most likely sense when you’re getting frustrated, and this will only make it worse in most cases.

Be patient with them and always respond appropriately to their behavior because no one wants a tantrum on a road trip!

The Power of Patience: How This Old-Fashioned Virtue Can Improve Your Life

Time To Hit The Road!

After you pack all of these items in your car, it’s time to hit the road!

You should have everything that you need for a fun and safe trip with your toddler.

Just remember that if anything goes wrong or they want something new to do, bring along extra entertainment devices in case they get bored. Have a great trip!

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Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren