What to Keep in Your Car for a Fabulous Spontaneous Adventure

For many families, summer means lots of unscheduled down time, which may mean finding yourself heading out on adventures to unknown destinations. Especially as the end of summer approaches, you may be trying to fit in a little extra adventure whenever you can. How to ensure you are ready for anything summer throws your way? Embrace the spontaneous! Pack your car up with a summer go-bag. Here’s what moms from all over plan on keeping in their cars this summer so that can be prepared for anything.

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Many moms say that no matter what the plan, they always wind up wet or dirty or generally without what they need a couple of times a week.  Here are the essentials to keep on-hand:

  • Swimsuits– Summer was made for water! Don’t leave home without a swimsuit for everyone packed and ready to go. Whether you unexpectedly find a pool, splash park, epic fountain, or even a surprise beach a swimsuit is needed. We love Snapper Rock swimsuits with built-in UPF 50+ in all swimsuits and matching rash guard tops for most suits so you don’t need to worry about sunscreen washing off. For those in diapers, remember to keep a swim diaper packed as well. 
  • Sandals: Where there is water or sand sandals are a necessity. Help your kids be spontaneous, and keep some sandals handy in the car so you don’t risk ruining your child’s sneakers or leather sandals.  We recommend also going for closed-toe sandals that are also playground-approved like these from PLAE.  
  • Towel: Unless you know you are headed to the pool, one or two towels stashed in the car should be sufficient for drying off after impromptu trips that involve getting wet. If a pool is on your normal route, keeping more in the car couldn’t hurt! 
  • Eye Protection:  Summer means lots of time spent in the bright, bright sun and near water. Make sure little eyes are protected from both. Babiators are a safe choice for kid-friendly sunglasses because they have shatter-proof lenses, have a little give, and best of all they will send you another pair if the first one goes missing. The same deal applies to the Babiators fog-proof goggles.   

{ MORE: Newborn Life: When Parenthood Isn’t What You Expected }

  • Beach Toys: Beach toys aren’t just for beaches. Anywhere there is sand or dirt, digging toys are a good idea. Check out this affordable beach toy set with shovels, molds, and more from American Plastic Toys. 
  • Change of Clothes: Summertime is a messy time. Whether it’s playground dirt or ice cream, clothes can get messy. Reduce the stress level and keep your car clean by packing a spare set for the kids. 
  • Protection from Sun & Bugs: Lots of time outdoors means lots of sun and nature. Be prepared with lots of sunscreen and bug repellant so your summer adventures don’t end with red, itchy kids. 
  • Ice Pack: Lots of time outdoors in the heat can mean two things:  some boo-boos are bound to happen and you will get hot. Instant Cold Packs can help in both situations when a hurt child needs some comfort or when a hot child needs to cool down quickly.   

{ MORE: 5 Things Working Parents Hate About Summer }

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  • Wagon:  A great item to keep on-hand is a fold-up wagon. Get everything you love about a classic wagon, but in a size that folds up to fit in your trunk. This is the perfect summer solution to toting around summer supplies and tired kids.   
  • Water bottles:  Hydration is key for grownups and kids. Make sure you always have a water bottle for yourself and the little ones on-hand that you can fill up anywhere. Check out the ones from Contigo that are really leak-proof and keep water cold all day. They also have an adorable version for kids that includes a small snack container on top.
  • Mom-activity:  Some lucky Moms will have kids who will happily play in the sand, grass, or playground by themselves or who will nap in the car. Make sure you have something to do other than scroll through Facebook on your phone. A Kindle Oasis will allow you to catch up on reading books or magazines. Since its battery lasts it's fine to leave in the car on an as-needed basis. The Oasis has the summer-time advantage of being waterproof and glare-resistant, but you can find older versions of the Kindle available for as low as $30.00. Many libraries will deliver e-books to your Kindle for free.
  • Phone charger:  Long days outside away from electricity? Sounds great until your phone dies. Make sure to pack a small backup charger.

What are your summer essentials? 

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What to Keep in Your Car for a Fabulous Spontaneous Adventure

Jamie is a Beltway Insider who loves channeling her pre-motherhood love of traveling into spending time exploring all D.C. has to offer with her brood of two girls and two boys ages 9, 7,5, and a baby. She is a reformed lawyer turned full-time kid wrangler who enjoys photographing her everyday chaos and anything salted caramel. Since life is never dull, she loves writing about the issues and events going on in her life at any given time, including caring for a daughter with special needs and th ... More

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