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So, you’re going on a long haul road trip with the kids soon? Are you already having nightmares about all that could go wrong? Don’t worry! You’ve come to the right place to get prepared and keep those kids happy. I’ve had enough horror road trips with my kids and I’ve learned EXACTLY what to pack the hard way. Lucky for you, I’m going to share all of my tips and best practices so that hopefully your next car trip with the kids will be as smooth as my latest one.

We just went from San Francisco to Los Angeles with zero tantrums from the toddlers and only 20 minutes of crying from the baby. It was pretty much a miracle, but I think all of my planning and organizing actually worked! Isn’t that such a good feeling?! When you work hard and it pays off?!

So, what did I pack? I had three bags: my giant Costco cooler bag that I put under KG’s seat, a plastic grocery bag with the accident essentials and my diaper backpack that I ADORE (Get a similar one here: HaloVa Diaper Bag Multi-Function Waterproof Travel Backpack Nappy Bags for Baby Care, Large Capacity, Stylish and Durable, Gray). There’s a lot to read through here so definitely feel free to Pin it and come back later!

The Ultimate Snack Bag

I honestly think the snacks are the MOST important thing to get right. Kids love snacks and hangry kids are the WORST! I usually try to pack a good mix of fruits, protein and treats they aren’t usually allowed to eat. This time I put a lunchbox of cold snacks inside the larger bag, which ended up being a really good idea. So here’s what I packed in the snack bag:

  • Fruit: plenty of apples, grapes and bananas (the non messy fruits) and a bag of cut up strawberries
  • Protein: boiled eggs, Babybel cheese and Tofurky slices
  • Crunchy Snacks: teething crackers, Semiya (Indian spiced crispy snacks), oat crackers (no added sugar!), pea crisps, pretzels
  • Treats: Pringles, Funyuns, Annie’s Chocolate Bunnies and Bars
  • Other Snacks: raisins, Larabars

The kids and my in laws were pleased and impressed with the wealth of snacks we had on hand. Most of the snacks were eaten by the end of the trip and no one had the chance to get hungry!

The Accidentals Bag

Because of some past disasters, I decided to pack a bag of things that I may need on the road in case of any accidents (poo explosions, vomit, pee, etc.). I literally just stuffed a plastic grocery bag with these things:

Luckily I only had to use one change of clothes for K-G, but I felt very relaxed knowing I was prepared if something went wrong! Sorry for the lack of a picture, but this bag was not pretty, just the emergency essentials!

Diaper Bag Essentials

My diaper bag was full to the brim, but I felt like everything in there was necessary with three small kids in tow. This is where I stuck all of the activities I had planned plus all of the usual diaper bag essentials. Here’s what I had inside:

  • A few felt activity books – Target Dollar Spot finds
  • A few new magic coloring sets – also from Target
M-D Enjoying Her Spirit Coloring Set
  • 7 diapers (I always pack one diaper per hour of travel)
  • Full pack of wipes – we use these for sticky hands, diapers and more, so I always bring plenty
  • Portable changing mat – you can’t always find a clean changing area or any changing area at all…
  • Travel Size Aquaphor
  • 2 Bottles for K-G
  • Nappy Bags – single use bags to put dirty diapers in until you can find a trash can
  • Small plastic case with emergency meds (Tylenol, Pedialyte powder, teething powder) and bandaids
  • Straws – I always have straws on hand…You never know if they’ll be available and I like to avoid spills when I can
  • Bib – I like to pack a silicone one because it’s easier to clean on the go (these are my fav PandaEar Set of 2 Cute Silicone Baby Bibs for Babies & Toddlers (10-72 Months) Waterproof, Soft, Unisex, Non Messy – Turquoise/Lime Green)

So there you have it! I really hope this helps you plan for your next road trip. I can say with certainty that I now look forward to road trips with my kids, which is saying a lot! Please let me know if you have any road trip essentials that I’ve left out…I love learning any new tips or tricks for executing the perfect road trip.

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