If you could describe your vehicle in just three words, what would they be?
For me, it would be: “extension-of-home.” You see, I’m in my car SO much, it is really important for me to feel like I’ll be prepared for anything, just like at home. Before kids, a car was just a car. It got me from point A to point B, and my time inside of it was pretty predictable. After kids, life is an adventure in every sense of the word, and we’ve needed some strange things at weird times. I’ve impressed myself, my husband, and even my kids on many occasions with this ability to be crazy prepared. And now you can too!
As a parent, it just eases my mind to know that I have a number of “what-if” scenarios covered from a safety perspective. With tat said, you’ll never find my car without the following:
- First Aid kit. Your kit can be bought as a whole, or you can make it yourself. The band-aids in a home-made, Pinterest-worthy first aid kit are mostly likely cuter…but I’ll admit, I’m all about convenience and Amazon one-click ordering here. (Hey, you can always replace the band-aids with Disney princesses or Spider Man, right?!). I love how this kit includes everything you’d need from an ice pack for a mis-hap at the play ground, to a compass or whistle.
- Emergency Roadside Assistance Kit. A must-have for long road trips, but also just as important for day-to-day errands. It seems like my car battery always seems to die on the quick trip to the grocery store…or at the most unexpected times. During those times, I sure am happy to have my own jumper cables. It’s usually pretty easy to find a nice person willing to lend me a helping hand, but not always as easy to find a nice person who also has jumper cables with them. This kit also includes great items including: a seat-belt cutter, window-breaker, portable air compressor and portable tow strap. Fantastic peace of mind while driving precious cargo around town.
- Key Chain Personal Alarm When walking through a dark parking lot at night, this is always a great thing to have in-had. With kids in-tow, it could be much tougher to react quickly if in a desperate situation. Having this little device to draw attention to yourself could be a life-saver. Just remember it’s on there the next time you give your kids to play with. Chances are, you don’t want all that attention drawn to you in the middle of the card aisle at Target, right?!
- Coloring Kit I created one of these as a surprise for my daughter before a long road trip. I actually found the perfect storage container accurately named the “Really Useful Box” first on Amazon, for less than $10. From there, I developed the contents, almost entirely, from fun finds at the Dollar Tree! I added the following items, and voila, a fun coloring kit was born! We still used it all the time, even on short 20-minute drives. I love how this box can be used as a little table for Emerson to eat snacks off of as well. This was a road trip gift that keeps on giving.
- DVD Holder for Car Visor A lot of times, when driving the kids long or short distances, I’m a one man band. And I’m all about car safety, so the less shuffling around I have to do, the better. This handy little gadget holds my kids’ favorite CD’s, DVD’s and even my favorite lip gloss and pen! At less than $10 on Amazon, it has been a worthwhile investment.
- Utensils, cups and plates Once upon a time, I packed a small clear tote with dining essentials before a family road trip. I never took it out of my car, and I’ve never looked back. Being prepared for a long trip is great, but how many times have you needed a fork, knife, straw, paper towel…etc. while eating something in your car or at the park, with your kids? This kit will have you covered. Here’s what I keep in mine:
- Paper plates
- Plastic Utensils
- Paper towels
- Ziplock bags These have come in handy at the most random times. Trust me, you need them.
- Solo cups (large) I actually keep small ones in the center console of my van, which are great for splitting a drink with my kids—or filling with Goldfish crackers or pretzels on a moment’s notice.
- Lunch/Snacks, etc. Recently, a friend of mine clued me into a little secret of hers on keeping her kids happy on-the-go. Thanks, Jen, for changing our lives for the better with the “car lunch” idea! Our family endearingly refers to it as a “car picnic,” and we are such fans of it that I created a whole post explaining how we do it. It goes into a lot of detail, including the products that I use to streamline the process. You can read all about it here.
- Picnic Blanket Another item that I always have handy in my trunk is a picnic blanket. You never know when an opportunity may present itself to have a fun little picnic in the park, beach…or wherever! I prefer the ones that are water resistant and fold up nice and neat. You can find the exact blanket my family uses here.
- Extra high-chair tray This is a great, large surface for toddlers to eat off of in the car. We had an extra one from our high chair that we use. But here’s a suitable inexpensive option for a Boon high chair from Amazon that would also work just as well.
Center console must-haves:
- Car Power Inverter To charge your laptop, breast pump or other random things. Another low-cost item that you’ll be so glad to have! I’ve used mine on multiple occasions for both things mentioned. Luke’s favorite place to nap is in the car, so I’m always prepared to hang in a parking lot to get some work done while he does.
- Small Solo cups Mentioned in the food section, I love having these little cups on-hand to share drinks, divvy up snacks, etc.
- Permanent marker
- Ballpoint pen
- Shipping tape
- Small pair of scissors
- Small notepad or Post-its
- Tide stain remover stick
- Extra iPhone, Apple Watch and Leap Pad charging cables
- A roll of toilet paper(Keep reading….)
- Folding Wagon These wagons are awesome for everything from toting the kids around big places to hauling in more of your new purchases from Costco in a single trip. I’ve especially appreciated our wagon when traveling solo with kids and needing to get everything up to our hotel room in one trip. If you live near a beach, invest in one with big fat tires that can haul your stuff across the sand. If not, the smaller wheels should do just fine!
- Umbrella Stroller If you have a child under the age of five, a light-weight, foldable stroller option is a must. We LOVE our City Jogger stroller, but it’s a BEAST to tote around, even in a large mini van trunk. We save that one for the major walks, runs or hikes on bumpy terrain. The Summer Infant 3D Lite Convenience Stroller shown below is a top seller at Amazon with close to 5 stars, with just under 4, 000 reviews.
- Portable Potty Chair Light-weight, compact and functional are what I looked for with this. And this is one that we’ve kept around long after my daughter was fully potty trained. You know, for those times when nature calls, and there just isn’t a darned bathroom around to use! It has given us SO much peace of mind on the road..and has been used on more than one occasion. This OXO Tot 2-in-1 Go Potty for Travel is the perfect solution, because it comes with bags to hold the…potty…in for a tidier on-the-go potty training experience.
I told you it would be QUITE a list! I hope it gave you a few ideas on ways you can make your life easier while on-the-go! For a few more AWESOME convenience items that aren’t listed here, be sure to check out my post on the 5 Must-haves for the Mom On-the-Go!