Road Trip Essentials (when you are travelling with kids)

road trip

Road trip = fun = family time = presents and presence = *YAY* = with toddlers? … not something that is easily relished if you are not prepared, or if you listen to the news and hear about all the negatives.

Safety is my number 1 priority when travelling with my kids and that is one of the reasons why I drive the Volvo XC60.

The car has comfortable seats, loads of storage space for the kids and their hundred and one items as well as Volvo’s safety features (Intellisafe) which makes it ideal for long road trips. It is a feature that alerts you when you may get distracted.

I once remember being with my kids and for some reason, I drifted to the right and the car sent a vibration to my steering wheel and put me back in the centre of my lane. Have you ever just turned around to see why the kids are fighting with each other, or who would be pulling whose hair or even why there may be crying or shouting?

road trip essentials

Perhaps you have even turned around in exasperation to answer the “Are we there yet?” question. It just takes a second, a little lack of concentration to have an accident. This is the one feature that I really appreciate with Intellisafe, because it keeps me on track.

Don’t get me wrong – it does not make me any less attentive on the road, but it does give hubby a little more peace of mind when it’s my turn to drive.

The car also has several detectors that can react in the event of an accident and these sensors activate various functions, such as different types of airbags and the seatbelt tensioner. Depending on the specific accident situation, such as collisions at different angles, rollover or driving off the road, the functions can react in different ways in order to provide protection. Awesome, right?

Now that I know all the safety features of the car, I can focus on the packing.

Honestly, with kids, there’s loads of packing to do. I prefer keeping many small items in the storage compartments available and in a small bag that always stays in the car. There is always someone who needs something and it is best to have the old favourites within reach. I even have two of some of the favourite items – just for in case.

The Ultimate Road Trip Packing List when you are travelling with kids

  • First aid kit

First aid kit is a must for any road trip! Your kit should have all the essentials needed for an emergency.

road trip

I prefer keeping the me4kidz family first aid kit in the car.

The kit includes (117 items):

(12) Assorted kid-friendly bandages
(12) 3” sheer bandages
(12) 1 ½ “ junior bandages
(2) 2X3” knee and elbow bandages
(2) Fingertip bandages
(4) Spot bandages
(6) 3’X 3” gauze pads
(6) 2”X2” gauze pads
(20) Sting-free antiseptic wipes
(2) Hand sanitizers
(1) Burn relief cream
(1) Sting relief cream
(2) Antibiotic ointments
(1) Tweezer
(10) 3” cotton tip applicator swabs
(1) Instant ice pack
(20) Kid-friendly fun stickers
(1) Doctor’s bag organized case
(1) Emergency family information label
(1) Refill card offer

  • Wet wipes

Wipes are always a must when you travelling with kids! I have one pack that permanently stays in the car. I absolutely love Johnson’s sensitive wipes.

  • Medication

Nurofen (adult and kids) and Panado are a must for me. Also allergy meds and an antibacterial cream.

  • Snacks

Don’t just carry junk food on the road trip. Try to include nuts, granola or fruits. You have to try I heart Granola. Also, include something for the kids to suck on – especially when you are travelling cross-province. I know that my kids always experience the change in pressure when driving to Durban so the sweet to suck on or even drinking water tends to alleviate this pressure on their ears.

  • Spotify

Everyone enjoys a good sing along. Most memories are made at this time.

Spotify is our essential app during a road trip. The best part is you can download your music in advance, so you don’t have to use your data when you on the road.

  • A cooler bag with drinks

I prefer carrying fruit juices and water. Soda is a big no for me – especially when travelling. Kids on a sugar rush in a confined space (insert emoji covering eyes).

  • A blanket and pillow

I love the Barbie pillow and blanket in one.

  • Cash

You always need to carry a little bit of cash when travelling in case of an emergency.

  • Ziplock bags

Ziplock bags can be used for so many things. I use it for the snacks, kids’ toys, clothes, shoes etc.

  • Sunscreen

It is a good idea to always keep one in that bag I mentioned above. We love Nivea especially their new roll-on sunscreen.

  • Nappy sacks/plastic bags

I use nappy sacks a lot during travelling – not always just for dirty diapers.

  • Toilet roll

You never know when you need to go and many of the public toilets don’t always have a toilet roll.

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Flashlight

It’s a good idea to carry one in the car in case of an emergency.

  • Scissors or a pocket knife

  • Umbrella

  • Tablets/DVD player/Headphones

I don’t let the kids sit on the tablet the entire trip, but I do let them watch a movie. We are huge fans of Netflix, the best part is you can also download the movies in advance.

  • Play-Doh

There’re so many things you can do with Play-doh.

road trip

  • Activity/colouring books

road trip

  • Pen and notebook

  • Cell phone chargers

  • Comfortable Car seats are a must!
  • Spare clothes

I learnt the hard way how important it is to always have spare clothes for the entire family in an accessible bag during a long road trip.

  • Favourite toys

Kitana absolutely loves carrying her Zazu nightlight around while Kiaan must have at least 5 hot wheel cars with him.

Zazu is a bright reading light and soft nightlight that can be taken anywhere.


  • Spare keys (for your car)

  • Audiobooks

I absolutely love audiobooks. If you are looking for me, please read Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes.

  • Hairbrush and hair bands

My daughter loves her Tangle Teezer brush, it’s also so easy to travel with.

  • Lip balm

The only lip balm I use is letibalm. This product is amazing and worth every cent!

  • Sunglasses

  • Binoculars

The kids love exploring when we stop for a break.

  • Mosquito spray

  • Instax Camera

We love using our camera to capture special moments during travels.

  • Hats

  • Portable potty seat

I prefer carrying my own seat for the kids to use in public toilets.

Samsonite has such a cute range of bags available for the kids! These are my favourites:

Where are you travelling to? 😊 Do you think I missed an important item? Comment down below and share your essentials.

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Road Trip Essentials (when you are travelling with kids)

Hi, I’m Shan. I’m an entrepreneur and a sucker for good adventures. I was listed in Forbes Africa 30 under 30 2019 and just recently launched my start-up – MomSays.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

This post was in collaboration with Volvo South Africa.


  1. Louise Moonsamy
    2018-12-26 / 03:28

    Wet wipes emergency medication ad

  2. 2019-01-14 / 04:01

    We love the Spotify tip – so glad it is finally a thing in South Africa 🙂
    We also can’t agree more with you that although entertainment is important, safety comes first.
    Now that all the holiday-makers are heading home, it is our turn to do some travelling through the country.

  3. 2019-01-14 / 04:02

    We can’t agree more with your point that entertainment is important, but safety first 🙂
    The holiday makers are heading home so it’s finally our turn to go on a little roadtrip through the country 🙂

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