5 essentials for a Chicago family road trip

Packing up for a road trip with kids can be a planning nightmare. There’s always a lot of questions of what to bring to keep everyone happy. Of course we all know to bring the essentials like clothes, pillows, books, movies and music, but there are few things that might make life a little easier and even a little more fun! I have come up with my list of favorites, and trust me they’ll be yours too.

Electric Cooler: Where there’s kids, there are snacks. So, naturally, if you are taking a long road trip you have to bring something along. We bought this cooler seven years ago, and haven’t looked back. We plug it right into the outlet in our car, and when we get to our destination we plug it in there. It keeps all our snacks cool and dry. Also, we don’t have to worry about stopping to get ice all the time.

The Jackery: This cool little gadget is an external charger for all your electronic devices while you’re out and about. Sure, you can charge something in the car, but what about when you’re hiking, walking around a new city, at the beach, on a boat, camping, or at a concert, and your device runs out of charge. It is nice to have a backup charger for such occasions, and with kids we don’t like to mess around when it comes to not having a charge on our phones (in case of emergency).

DIY First Aid/Safety kit: I am all about the DIY, but I am also smart enough to know that there is not a one size fits all first aid kit that is perfect for every family. We have kids with allergies so we carry a whole different set of tools in our kit such as Benadryl, extra epi pens and Clorox wipes to wipe down any surfaces where the kids will be eating. Pinterest has some great suggestions for DIY emergency kits.

Point and shoot camera: The hubby and I will of course be taking lots of pictures on this trip with our fancy camera, but my kids are of the age where they like to document their own memories too. So we have handed down our old point and shoot camera and have gotten them their own memory card to capture things from their point of view. You can find inexpensive point and shoot cameras at any big box store. They even make ones for kids! This way, if we don’t feel like lugging the big one out for a quick photo, we have a camera with better quality that is smaller too.

Extra clothes: One extra outfit for everyone packed in a separate bag that is easily accessible is a must. I have been spilled on, thrown up on and gotten food on myself at enough stops along the way during a roadtrip to know that it is a pain in the butt to unpack the whole car to dig out a clean t-shirt for myself. So, I carry an extra outfit now in a small tote for everyone for the road. That way we are fresh when we arrive at our destination.

What do you take along for your road trips?

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