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10 Road Trip Essentials for Kids, According to a Mom Who's Driven Thousands of Miles with Her Family

Dotdash Meredith and Yahoo Inc. may earn commission or revenue on some items through the links below.

Road Trip Essentials for Kids roundup TOUT
Road Trip Essentials for Kids roundup TOUT

People / Reese Herrington

Spring break is right around the corner, which means lots of families are embarking on some pretty epic road trips with their kids. While it sounds fun on paper, seasoned parents know it's a lot of hours in a confined space with little people that don't have the patience to not ask "are we there yet?" a million times. That's why I never travel without these things to entertain my three kids — and to keep my own sanity at bay.

From mess-free "coloring" to car organizational products to the multi-tasking wonder that are baby wipes, everything on my list is under $25 and all available at Amazon, so even last-minute planners can make sure they have all the essentials on hand before embarking on an epic adventure.

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Parenting Road Trip Essentials at Amazon

RELATED: I'm a Mom of 5, and These Are the Organizational Products I'm Relying on This Spring Cleaning Season

I don't know who invented these ingenious no-mess "coloring" books, but I owe them a million thanks. These have kept all my kids entertained in their toddler years on planes, cars, and even at home. The included magic pen — which is stored in the pad itself — can easily be filled with water anywhere and the color fades away after an hour so that they can do it all over again (and again and again.) They come in a variety of theme bundles, so every kid can have something they're interested in.

Melissa & Doug Water Wow Bundle - Dinosaur, Adventure & Animals
Melissa & Doug Water Wow Bundle - Dinosaur, Adventure & Animals

Amazon

Buy It! Melissa & Doug Water Wow, 3-Pack, $19.69; amazon.com

Unless you love scrambling around while contortedly looking for that one random thing your kid wants, a backseat organizer is a must. Stash tissues, books, devices, loveys, and more, and always know where everything is at a glance. This one even comes with a tablet holder and pockets for water bottles.

ULEEKA Car Backseat Organizer
ULEEKA Car Backseat Organizer

Amazon

Buy It! Uleeka Backseat Car Organizer, $18.59 with coupon (orig. $34.99); amazon.com

Baby wipes for everything — from wiping down sticky hands to cleaning up messes in the car  to actual diaper changing business — are definitely one of the ultimate parenting hacks. The flip top on this affordable option is key so the wipes don't dry out when that useless sticky flap stops being so, well, sticky.

Amazon Elements Baby Wipes
Amazon Elements Baby Wipes

Amazon

Buy It! Amazon Elements Baby Wipes with Flip Top, 9-Pack, $17.74 (orig. $19.40); amazon.com

If any child in your vehicle is going to have any sort of device on this road trip, trust me, you need to get them a pair of headphones. These super fun animal ear headphones come with a mic and cushy earmuffs and most importantly, a 94 decibel volume limit to protect vulnerable little ears.

iClever Cat Ear Led Light Up Kids Headphones with Microphone
iClever Cat Ear Led Light Up Kids Headphones with Microphone

Amazon

Buy It! iClever Cat Ears Light-Up Headphones, $20.99 (orig. $31.99); amazon.com

A long road trip means lots of time to kill and I Spy is a classic car game for a reason. This card set takes it to the next level especially when your exhausted brain can't think of any more things to look for on your own. One reviewer even raved, "This game does not get old when on the road!"

Briarpatch I SPY Travel Card Game for Kids, Entertain Children on a Long Road Trip
Briarpatch I SPY Travel Card Game for Kids, Entertain Children on a Long Road Trip

Amazon

Buy It! Briarpatch I Spy Travel Card Game, $8.99; amazon.com

RELATED: These Packing Cubes 'Will Change the Way You Travel,' According to Amazon Shoppers — and They're Only $17

Nothing is worse than a spilled drink in the car. That's why I always have multiple of these on hand and even if we go through a drive-thru, I'll pour my kids' drinks into these straw containers that will both keep the beverage cold and ensure no one has an unfortunate accident.

THERMOS FUNTAINER 12 Ounce Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Kids Straw Bottle, Lime/Orange
THERMOS FUNTAINER 12 Ounce Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Kids Straw Bottle, Lime/Orange

Amazon

Buy It! Thermos Funtainer, $16.99; amazon.com

Road trips also sometimes mean stopping to eat at places that may not be the cleanest. That's why I always have a pack of these in my diaper bag. You simply remove the strips on the back of the placemat to stick it to whatever table you're at. They're great for babies that are just starting to eat fingers foods and for messy toddlers that are touching everything.

HomeWorthy Disposable Placemats for Baby - Cute Animal Toddler Placemat That Sticks
HomeWorthy Disposable Placemats for Baby - Cute Animal Toddler Placemat That Sticks

Amazon

Buy It! HomeWorthy Disposable Placemats, $134.99 with coupon (orig. $19.99); amazon.com

Sometimes a parent's gotta do what a parent's gotta do to survive an endless road trip with kids. And that may mean streaming a movie or show in the backseat. This easy-to-use iPad holder attaches to the headrest and even has swiveling capabilities to ensure everyone gets a good view.

LISEN Tablet iPad Holder for Car Mount Headrest
LISEN Tablet iPad Holder for Car Mount Headrest

Amazon

Buy It! Lisen Tablet Holder, $16.99 (orig. $29.99); amazon.com

This is basically a black doodle board with an attached stylus that reveals colors underneath for kids to draw or write on to their heart's content. It's 100 percent mess-free and slim and light enough to toss into a purse. If you have older kids they can even pass it back and forth to play games on.

TEKFUN Kids Toys 8.5 inch LCD Writing Tablets Drawing
TEKFUN Kids Toys 8.5 inch LCD Writing Tablets Drawing

Amazon

Buy It! Tekfun LCD Drawing Tablet, $15.99 with coupon (orig. $16.99); amazon.com

This is another one of those ingenious mess-free activities that are ideal for travel. Kids simply find the sticker that corresponds with the picture they're "painting" and stick it on the matching number. Perforated pages make it easy to tear out the sheets they want and judging by how many of these I have rolling around the car, it's clearly a road trip MVP.

Paint by Sticker Kids: Under the Sea: Create 10 Pictures One Sticker at a Time!
Paint by Sticker Kids: Under the Sea: Create 10 Pictures One Sticker at a Time!

Amazon

Buy It! Paint-by-Sticker Under the Sea Book, $7.50 (orig. $9.95); amazon.com

Esther Carlstone is a Commerce Editorial Director at Dotdash Meredith who often writes about her latest and greatest finds for parents.

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