Car Ride Essentials For A Family Road Trip

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This post on car ride essentials for a family road trip has been made possible by Contigo. This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are mine and mine alone.

Car Ride Essentials For A Family Road Trip

Since we’ve been married, hubby and I haven’t lived in the same state as any family members. This means lots of road trips. Some have only been a few hours (3-4 hours), while others have been much longer (12+ hours). I think I’ve gotten pretty good at planning for these trips. And planning doesn’t mean just figuring out what we need. The planning process also includes placement within the car. I’ve learned that where I put each bag within our car matters, especially since we travel with our 3 year old son.

I sit in what I like to call “the mom seat”, i.e. the passenger seat. I call it the mom seat because every time we’re on a road trip and I’m sitting in it, my son calls my name to get him something. Because of this, his stuff always has to be closest to me.

So, based on what I’ve learned from 10+ years of road trips, here are my car ride essentials for a family road trip.

After reading mine, make sure you leave me a comment letting me know what yours are, then enter the fun giveaway to win some road trip essentials!

Snacks – Each family member gets their own bag of snacks. We have tons of food allergies and can’t stop for food anywhere, so I’m always loaded up with snacks.

A Small Cooler – I use this for things like sandwich meat and other items that should be refrigerated.

Gas – I always make sure the tank is full before we leave on any trip. We prefer to stop as little as possible, and having a full tank helps with that.

Music – It can be fun to have a family sing along or just listen to something when things get dull.

Toys – My son has this black fold up toy storage bin from Babies R Us that I got for maybe less than $10. I fill it up with one or two books, a coloring book, crayons, a few dinosaurs or other action figures, and some small electronics like an InnoTab.

Stuffed Animal And Blankie – For my son, just in case he randomly decides he wants to take a nap.

Long Sleeve Shirt – My hubby is usually a lot warmer in the car then I am, so I always seem to need a long sleeve shirt to keep at the right temperature.

Potty Seat – We bring the smallest potty we have for our son. This way if there’s not a convenient rest area, we can pull over and he can use it in the car in an emergency.

Tissues, Napkins, Paper Towels – We all have environmental allergies, so we go through tissues like they’re going out of style. Napkins are useful for when we eat meals or snacks in the car. Paper towels are useful if food is spilled. Also, this may sound strange, but I use paper towels in my son’s potty. If he can’t hold it in, we have him use the seat in the car. But, it’s really not convenient to dump the potty anywhere when that happens. So, I line the potty with a plastic bag, then put paper towels in the plastic bag to soak up everything. I can then just seal the plastic bag without a mess.

Reusable Beverage Containers – All three of us have our special go-to containers. I like using reusable ones because they are sturdy and we can easily refill them. My hubby has a Contigo AUTOSEAL® Randolph Stainless Steel Travel Mug for his coffee, I have a Contigo AUTOSPOUT™ Sheffield Water Bottle for my water, and our son has a Contigo AUTOSPOUT™ Kids Striker Water Bottle for his water.

Car Ride Essentials For A Family Road Trip

For my hubby, if we leave for our trip early in the morning, he can put coffee in his mug, and it will stay hot for up to 4 hours. This is great if he starts to get tired on in the trip. For myself, I like the Sheffield because it has double wall vacuum insulation. I don’t have to worry about messy condensation on the outside of my bottle, yet my water is able to stay cool for the entire road trip. For my son, his bottle is spill-proof, so if he falls asleep and drops it, I don’t have to try to lean over the seat to pick it up. It never spills!! All of our bottles are BPA-free and easy to clean. And even though we love using them on road trips, we also love using them at home!



Now you can win a car ride essentials gift pack for your next family road trip! Contigo is giving away one winner prize package of 4 Sheffield Water Bottles – a $100 value! Enter here.

Contigo is also offering a discount to my readers. To get 20% off an order on, enter the code CONTIGOTRIP.


Disclaimer: This is a sponsored review. Please note that the opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced by outside sources of any kind. Also note that this post may contain affiliate links. Please use due diligence when making any purchase decisions.


  1. Jorge Alexander Granda says:

    Cool prize.

  2. Great tips! We just got back from a road trip and I couldn’t find the tissues! They had been jammed under the seat….so my son had to use scratchy napkins to wipe his nose! LOL! Always be prepared!
    Gena recently posted…Comment on Moisturize Your Dry Summer Skin with Vitamin C Moisturizer by Diane baumMy Profile

  3. Diane baum says:

    Love the idea, please enter me

  4. Terry Cross says:

    I bring empty plastic bags to put trash in while on the road.

  5. On road trips I carry baby wipes and hand sanitizer.


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