Road Trip Essentials (Traveling with Kids)

November 26, 2016

Packing for a road trip when you’ll be traveling with children can be tough, but this list from Real Simple can make any trip a little easier.

1. Books, magazines, and comics
2. Games, such as the license plate game or travel bingo
3. Sketchbook, washable markers, and colored pencils
4. Pre-stamped blank postcards (find them at the post office), which your kids can decorate, or postcards bought on the road; have your children write to friends, relatives, even pets
5. Doodling doodads: a small dry-erase board, Etch A Sketch, Magna Doodle
6. Pipe cleaners, easy origami, and other scissor-less craft supplies
7. Portable DVD player and DVDs; don’t forget headphones!
8. Tape recorder: Let the kids produce a vacation broadcast
9. Books on tape for the whole family, such as the Harry Potter series or “The Chronicles of Narnia”
10. Scrapbook envelope—entrust your children with the responsibility of collecting postcards, ticket stubs, and brochures for a scrapbook

11. Individually packaged, crumb-free snacks such as bite-sized goldfish crackers
12. Hard-to-bruise fruits such as apples and berries; or try fruit roll-ups or fruit leathers
13. Trail mix, which will leave kids feeling full longer (and keep fingers greaseless)
14. Reusable bottles filled with water

15. An emergency kit. In a click-shut plastic bin, stock jumper cables, a first-aid kit, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or reflective triangles, a fleece blanket, bottled water, and a few protein bars.
16. Garbage bags to collect trash
17. Extra diapers and wipes, if necessary
18. Change of clothes, in case of accidental spills
19. A blanket for spur-of-the-moment picnics at rest areas—and naps
20. Jump ropes and balls, so energetic little travelers can tire themselves out at rest stops!



For families traveling with younger children or babies, Real Simple has a special cheat sheet just for you!
1. Bibs
2. Diapers and diaper bag
3. Glasses and/or contact lenses, if needed (bring an extra pair, too)
4. Sunglasses
5. Alarm clock
6. Baby bottles
7. Baby food and utensils
8. Batteries for small electronics and cameras
9. Camera (and film, if needed)
10. Car seat
11. Changing pads
12. Chargers for your cell phone, camera, video camera, and laptop
13. Childproofing materials
14. Diapers and wipes
15. Hair dryer (if your hotel does not supply one)
16. Headphones for watching in-flight movies
17. iPod and iPod dock
18. Night-lights
19. Pacifiers
20. Sippy cups
21. Stroller
22. Toys and games (printable travel games and ideas are available at
23. Video camera
Health and Beauty Items
24. Antibacterial wipes
25. Baby lotion
26. Baby powder
27. Body lotion
28. Comb and brush
29. Contact lens solution, if needed
30. Deodorant
31. Face cleanser
32. First aid kit, including gas relief tablets, antacid, antidiarrheal medicine, antihistamine for allergies, bandages, candied ginger for motion sickness, mild laxative, non-aspirin pain reliever, thermometer in a hard case
33. Floss
34. Gentle shampoo
35. Gentle soap
36. Insect repellent
37. Lip balm (choose one with SPF 15)
38. Personal-hygiene items
39. Prescriptions
40. Razors
41. Regular shampoo and conditioner
42. Shaving gel
43. Sunscreen (pack at least one all-purpose sunscreen with SPF 15)
44. Toothbrush
45. Toothpaste
46. Addresses of friends and family for postcards
47. Formula
48. Healthy snacks, such as chewy granola bars, dried fruit, mini bagels, nuts, and pretzels
49. Maps and directions (try for maps, directions, and traffic information)
50. Money (cash, ATM cards, traveler’s checks)
51. Pediatrician’s phone number
52. Photograph of luggage contents in case of loss
53. Printouts of reservations
54. Travel journal
55. Travel pillow and blanket
56. Ziploc bags for stowing small liquid containers at airports