Road trip essentials for travel with children

Road trip essentials for travel with children

The brightest memories of my childhood include being hauled into a mini-van with a dozen other members and taking off on extended weekend vacations. Back then, all I was concerned with was having fun and eating the home made poori-aloo rolls along the way.

Fast forward two decades - now I’m the one planning the road trips, that too with kids of my own! The first two road trips with my toddlers were a total mess - forgotten medicines, food tantrums, missed toys, shared blankets and temper tantrums a plenty (Disastrous on many fronts if I’m being honest)!

The memories of those initial trips still make me shudder. Which is why, I decided to type, print and laminate the ‘ultimate road trip listopia’!

Mother’s you might want to take note:

For your babies/toddlers

Keep within easy and quick access range:

1. Milk Formula along with two sanitized and ready to use bottles and water to make the feed at a moment’s notice. Don't forget to carry a thermos to maintain the temperature of the warm water that you will need as well.

2. A tray to keep on the lap when you need to make feeds or even to feed the baby semi solids.

3. Wet wipes - to clean faces and spill ups.

4. Garbage bags - you’ll need many of these! You will be surprised at the amount of trash kids and adults collect on a road trip, and littering is an absolute no-no.

5. Diaper bag- with a couple of changes of clothes, a small stack of diapers, soft tissues, wet wipes and a changing mat.

6. Rattle and pacifier for the baby. Toddler’s favourite book and any one small toy (dinky cars and small figurines work best).

7. Baby’s favourite dry snack. Take out a little at a time in a separate bowl (if you hand the entire container to the baby, he/she will drop it all over the car. I speak with experience)!

8. A warm blanket just to make it cozy for the baby in an air-conditioned car. Babies aren’t very accustomed to sharing a blanket, so we recommend carrying one per child.

9. A drinking cup with a lid non spill-able (An absolute life saver).

10. You could also carry shades for the car window or something to serve as shades that can help block direct sunlight that always wakes sleeping babies up.

11. Child’s water bottle/sipper as may be appropriate

12. Baby safe sanitizer

13. Extra Face Masks

Other essentials that should be there in your luggage:

1. All SOS and regular medicines and vitamins. Please ask your paediatrician for medicines for tummy ache, runny nose, mild fever, cough and constipation. Children often get an upset stomach with a change of water. This medical kit must include a child friendly thermometer as well.

2. A thin pillow or a head shaping pillow depending on the age of the baby. Hotel pillows are usually really thick and fluffy- which is not advisable for children.

3. A portable potty if the baby is used to one

4. Baby safe sunscreen and other creams

5. When it comes to the wardrobe, and especially if the child is under 4 years of age- carry two pairs of clothing per day plus night suits. Irrespective of the temperature at the travel destination, always carry a warm jacket/ windcheater for the baby Because every indoor place is air-conditioned these days and can make our little ones uncomfortable at times. Also carry weather appropriate shoes (plastic sandals are a must for beach vacations).

6. Baby’s toothbrush and paste. Most children’s toothpastes are free from chloride. Hotels may or may not house such amenities, so be sure to carry your own.

7. Moisturiser and lip balm – the air conditioned room and hotel environment plays havoc with their skin.

8. An emergency stash of Cerelac (or its equivalent) for those emergency situations when your child refuses to have what the hotel chef prepares.

9. Mosquito repellant. I find that patches work well, but the creams and sprays are a lot more effective (please consult your pediatrician for a baby skin-safe mosquito repellent cream/spray brand).

10. Baby’s special plate and bowl for food (I cannot be the only mother whose toddler insists on eating each meal in her special mickey plate only)!

11. A small food thermos. In case you’re headed out for an excursion where food won’t be easily available and you want to be proactive. Please carry the cutlery along with it if necessary.

12. Swimming costume. Specially in case you’re travelling to a beach side destination or are travelling during the summer months to a hotel with a pool.

13. Swimming diapers if your baby isn’t yet toilet trained. This way you don’t need to worry about your child rendering the hotel pool unhygienic.

14. If I am staying at a rented house or an Airbnb, I always make it a point to carry the ingredients I may need to make my children’s food. If you’re as finicky as I am about not feeding your children processed foods like white sugar and white flour, I recommend you do the same.

Often in the zeal to make sure we don’t miss packing anything our kids may need, we often miss packing the essentials we may need. It is after all a holiday for us too. So here’s s a shorter (but equally important) checklist of essentials one must ensure to include when packing our own suitcases:

1. Mobile phone and laptop chargers

2. An SOS medical kit of essential medicines in case we get a tummy bug or catch the flu.

3. Snacks for the Road + Extra for the stay

4. Disposable plates and cups

5. Sanitizers and face masks

6. A pair of clothing per day+ 1 extra pair. Night clothes.

7. Weather appropriate shoes

8. Swimming costume

9. Sunglasses and sunblock

10. All your basic toiletries- specially your face wash

11. Hairbrush/comb and a small travel size perfume

12. Music system (Star mark this- it has a habit of slipping out of our minds)

13. Card games

14. Identity cards

15. All papers for the car

16. A print out of all your bookings and reservations

Here’s wishing you HAPPY TRAVELS for your next adventure! Hope this checklist helps you pack everything you may need on your next road trip.

Do you have anything to add to my list? 

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