Traveling with kids can be tricky no matter your mode of transportation — but road trips might be the most taxing of all. The key to survival? Be prepared, organized, anticipatory and, most of all, flexible. To achieve all of those at once, we’ve rounded up 10 travel-friendly products that will help keep your kids comfortable, occupied and happy for the long haul.
1. Seat belt protector cushion
One of the first steps when planning for road trips with kids is striving for comfort. It's uncomfortable enough for us adults to sit in a car for hours on end; just imagine what it's like for antsy, overenergetic kids stuck in the backseat. One solution is the seat belt protector cushion. These pads for seat belts are made for older kids who use a regular seat belt and are out of a full car seat. Easy to use, this protector cushion is a great way to prevent a sore neck or shoulder, easy to remove and clean (thanks to a Velcro closure) and will comfortably cushion your child’s head when they inevitably fall asleep in the car.
Seat belt protector cushion, available at Amazon
2. Traveling car seat accessory
Car seat? Check. Suitcase? Check. Traveling toddler? Maybe not yet, but this unique car seat accessory is a safe and comfortable way to travel with your child, as this toddler strap allows you to easily attach your car seat to a rolling carry-on suitcase. Now, wherever and however you travel, you can quickly connect the car seat to your luggage without having to remove the kids from the seat. Once the accessory is attached, it can be detached and reattached in seconds. The best part is that it works with almost all car seats, slips easily into the pocket of your carry-on when not in use and keeps your toddler safe and comfortable.
Traveling car seat accessory, available at Amazon
3. Car garbage can
Another way to make road trips more pleasant is to keep a clean and organized car. The Drive Bin is a versatile container that will help keep your vehicle clean and doubles as a soft cooler for travel snacks and drinks. This garbage can is perfect for road trips, as you tend to collect a ton of junk during a long car ride with kids. As a bonus, the Drive Bin comes with a 20-pack of extra waterproof liner bags that will help keep the car tidy and odor-free.
The Drive Bin, available at Amazon
4. Travel board games
An obvious yet invaluable survival tool when on a road trip are games. This superset of 12 board games is great, as they are compact, portable and, best of all, magnetic, so the pieces stay on the board. Games included are checkers, chess, Chinese checkers, tic-tac-toe, backgammon, snakes and ladders, solitaire, nine men’s morris, auto racing, ludo, Space Venture and racing.
Travel board games, available at Amazon
5. Backseat travel kit
Another great travel accessory for long car rides is the Kid's Backseat Travel Kit by Rand McNally. The bundle includes three activity books (which have puzzles, quizzes and games) a 32-page doodle book and two sticker sheets. All are housed in a sturdy case fitted with a magnetic closure with room to store extra writing and drawing utensils and paper.
Backseat travel kit, available at Amazon
6. Backseat car organizer
With all the games, toys and coloring paraphernalia you’ll be bringing with you on your road trip, it might be helpful to have a place to store them for easy access. This backseat car organizer has pockets to store almost everything needed for travel and your daily routine essentials. Declutter your backseat with this insulated neoprene organizer that features thermal pockets to keep your drinks extra cold or hot for six to eight hours and a clear touch-screen viewer window for tablets.
Backseat car organizer, available at Amazon
7. Travel lap tray
Another option for stress-free road trips is the travel lap tray. This tray is durable, made of foam and has plastic inserts to create a solid, firm and flat surface for your child to write and play on. Also included is a zipper-protected pocket and expandable storage to hold notebooks, crayons and snacks, all within arms reach. The lap tray is durable, wipe-able and machine washable for germ-free cleaning. The tray is also easy to put on and take off. Simply wrap the adjustable strap around your child’s waist and click.
Travel lap tray, available at Amazon
8. Kids headphones
Let your children control their own music and video with these kid-specific headphones. With no splitter needed, these headphones have a share port on the side so they can connect with another headphone to share any video/music with their friends. Equipped with a volume-limited restrictor set to the maximum noise level recommended by auditory health organizations, these headphones are also specially designed with an adjustable headband for small heads, have cushioned ear pads and snug pads for a comfortable wearing experience.
Mpow kids headphones, available at Amazon
9. Drawing activity set
This drawing stencil kit is an all-in-one activity set that includes a high-quality storage case, plastic drawing stencils, blank sheets of paper, colored pencils, a sharpener and clips. This is another great activity option for a road trip that can be shared with everyone in the car and includes a lap tray for easy playing. With over 280 individual stencils, from animals and flowers to boats and cars, this complete travel-friendly kit is perfect to take wherever you may go and provides hours of creative fun.
Drawing stencil kit, available at Amazon
10. Travel potty-chair
No road trip with children is complete without some conveniences. Consider a travel potty-chair an unconventional yet helpful convenience. Great for long car rides, this travel potty folds easily to briefcase size, uses disposable bags and can be taken anywhere. The chair also comes equipped with two large storage compartments for supplies and comes with extra zip-close disposable gallon bags.
Travel potty-chair, available at Amazon