Kids Packing List for the Driving Vacation

March 14, 2012

Packing, Travel Tips

As we prepare for a driving vacation where we will visit family, below is what I plan to bring, besides my sanity and patience, that is! Making a kids packing list beforehand is very helpful so you don’t forget anything.

Note that many people buy some of the diaper and food necessities upon arrival of their destination but usually when driving we don’t have as much time between the drive and enjoying the destination, so we tend to bring everything we can.  That way if we have to make a trip to the store then it’s a short list of whatever we’ve run out of.  And then if we buy any souveniers along the way we know we have room in the car because we come home with less “stuff”.

For the Car:

  1. Pack N Play (J is too tall these days for the crib supplied by hotels and not ready for a bed just yet)
  2. Sheet to pack n play stuffed inside of it (ask hotel for sheet when available so this one lasts longer, depending on length of trip)
  3. Bottled waters in all 4 doors or center console of the car
  4. 1 old towel in car (you never know when this could come in handy – for a spill, for when you stop at a park and the slide is wet, whatever)
  5. another blanket just for the car (this comes in handy when driving during the winter and you have to stop for gas and turn the car off)
  6. lightweight stroller
  7. Boogie Wipes and/or tissues (whatever you prefer, we have both due to sensitive skin so the tissues are for the adults and the Boogie Wipes are for the kids)
  8. (I already have in my car a…) full set of spare clothes, bib, extra diapers, box of tissues, a book and of course the car seat
  9. Cooler w/some of #3 and ice along with
    - lunch or dinner for first day of trip for everyone (pb&j or tuna fish if you don’t mind a little mess),
    -ice packs
    -milk/formula in bottles if needed and water for the little ones

In the Suitcase:

  1. stuffed animal and blanket that she always has when going to bed
  2. 2-3 sets of pajamas (1 set for 2 nights is my rule)
  3. 1 shirt, pants (or shorts, depending on season) and socks for each day
  4. 4 hair ties and one headband (for her long locks!/ for the girl)
  5. special occasion dress outfit if you have this in the itinerary (we’ve got 2 occasions on this upcoming trip!)
  6. 7 diapers per day (~1 diaper for every 2 hrs)
  7. Crispix in a large ziploc bag (this is for whatever snack your child LOVES and can also have for breakfast, in case she doesn’t love the breakfast food at your hotel and to refill the portable size)
  8. New package of Pepperidge Farm (whole grain) goldfish (again, whatever snack that your child/children really love, pack an extra container of it).
  9. Plum Baby organic squeezables of course (~1 per day if toddler as you don’t want to throw off the diaper outcome, sorry, or 2 per day if baby)
  10. 1 bib per day if cloth, or even better a waterpro0f bib that is easy to wipe clean
  11. 2 combs for kids (in case one mysteriously disappears)
  12. travel size kids shampoo and bath wash (we buy the combo of Aveeno or Johnson & Johnson so it’s one less item)

In the diaper bag:

  1. Aquaphor or vaseline
  2. small Changing pad
  3. portable sized snacks like all-natural fruit strips, cheerios, pepperidge farm fish, crispix, and Plum Baby Organic squeezables
  4. some of the diapers from above
  5. 1 pack of wipes (note we only bring 1 pack as these are easy to pick up and we don’t like leaving them in the car based on temperature change)
  6. Wet Ones and/or travel-sized hand sanitizer (Bath & Body Works) to clean their hands after stops on the drive (we bring both)
  7. a waterproof bib (you have 2 in total, one here and one in suitcase)
  8. Extra shirt and pair of pants/shorts
  9. Infant Tylenol for teething stage
  10. Sunblock for warmer weather destinations

I also recommend having a separate “activities bag” in the car so this is quick and easy (for the passenger) to grab when in the car to help entertain the little ones while on the road. Honestly this is always different depending on the age group as newborns and toddlers are vastly different every month!  Here is what I have brought with me at various stages.

For the newborn:

  1. rattles
  2. toy bar for the car seat
  3. soft baby music

For the toddler:

  1. 2-3 thin books
  2. thin coloring book with pack of washable crayons
  3. a Doodler (no fuss and very entertaining)
  4. music
  5. portable dvd players for the back of the headrests (if your car isn’t fancy like ours, we bought these on Black Friday for $99 and have yet to use these but plan to for this next trip)
  6. videos of your kids favorite show (ours is Barney, and note you can rent a lot of kids videos for free from your local library)
  7. new toys like reusable sticker books, finger puppets (we only have a pig but J loves it).

We are still learning here and plan to check the Dollar stores nearby to see what fun activities I can grab for cheap, but also don’t want to overdue it as we know we will come home with new toys she can play with in the car (from family).

What do you pack for your kids that is different from above?
Now onto a list of what to pack for me… well, that could take forever!

Related Posts:
Taking Advantage of Flying with A Newborn
Driving with a Newborn

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8 Responses to “Kids Packing List for the Driving Vacation”

  1. Anna Says:

    Great suggestions, one of my favorite car suggestions came from another blog, play at home mom, (you should check it out if you haven’t already). They suggested a portable cake pan, 9×13 with lid. You can use any type of magnets, letter, animals, whatever & it all stores in the pan & they suggest, conveniently under the seat when not in use…we haven’t had a trip long enough to try it yet, but it may be one of our next purchases.



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