If you are just going for a day, or for a longer vacation, there are a few things you should ALWAYS have with you because you never know when you will need them.
Smart Phone and Charger - Having your phone charged and ready to go is a no-brainer, but, having a portable charger that can be charged in the car, or a battery pack for charging are good things to have in case you are out and about longer than you planned on and getting to an outlet might be difficult. If your car breaks down, or you get lost somewhere, having those things can hopefully keep you connected. Plus, you may want to use the camera in your phone more than you thought and you don't want it to lose charge in the middle of a video of something special you may see along the way!
First Aid Kit - A first aid kit is always good to have in your car. Small things can happen that you might need it for. A bug flies in the window and someone gets stung, or hurt. Even a paper cut can bleed a lot sometimes, so having a bandage ready to go can save a child's clothes for the day. Having some medicines or disinfectants can help, too. Just be sure to check it every once in a while so the supplies don't become outdated and not useful.
Cooler - In a longer car ride, you might get thirsty or need a snack. Having a cooler for such items is a great thing to have. It can save you time and money on the road! Also, if it has wheels, it will be easy to unload and tote if you take it out on a stop along the way! *If bathroom breaks are few and far between, keep the kids from drinking too much by giving them something sour to eat like sour gummies or jelly beans. This keeps your saliva going and can ward off thirst for a bit longer.
Backpacks - Having a backpack can keep all sorts of items in one place when you are in a car. If each family member has one, they can have their own "stuff" to keep them busy on the road, or you can even have each person's essentials they need. It will keep the suitcases in the trunk with clothes only, and will make less stops for digging for an item that someone needs.
I am sure there are other things you always have in your vehicle during your summer vacation activities. Adding these essentials will help keep everyone happy and prepared along the way!--Jen Lush