(I published this post last year, but since I’m on a road trip this week and had to refer to this list, I thought it would be helpful for your summer trips too).
I started to call this list “The Ultimate Stress-Free Traveling (With Kids) Guide.”
But, I’m a mom of three and the words ‘stress-free and kids’, don’t exactly go together. Especially when you’re traveling.
Know what I mean?
We have a couple of small trips planned and so I created this list out of necessity. Because frankly, driving 250 miles to Family Camp, isn’t exactly relaxing with a screaming toddler.
Here’s a list of some ideas for your next road trip. Maybe one of these or 23 of them will help!
Most of these are items to be taken on a road trip, although many will work for flying too.
- Audio books (my library checks them out) or you can download them here
- Ice chest w/drinks
- DVD player, preferably with movies that haven’t been seen
- We’ve been driving our smaller less gas-consuming car that doesn’t have a built-in TV. So, we strap our laptop on an ice chest with a bungee, so the kids can watch a movie. (Yeah, we are THAT family).
- Bag or backpack with coloring books and small toys for each child.
- This site says pack a plastic box for kids personal things and then use the lid as a tray to eat on.
- Lap Desk for writing and drawing
- Headphones for MP3 players and/or DVD player
- Kid’s camera
- Sketch pad/pencil
- Extra change of clothes, separate from luggage. Because if it can happen, it probably will.
- If you’re traveling with a toddler, leave when they are tired. If you leave first thing in the morning, this is their active time and they don’t make the best travelers
- A package of pipe cleaners (to bend, twist and create)
- Pack paper towels, wipes, and a couple of blankets. Remember, we’re talking kids.
- Buy $5 Tape Recorder and ‘Read’ stories to your kids in your own voice
- Put a trash box in the back seat
- Travel Journal
- Sing silly road trip songs
- Travel games from the store (Target has some great ones in the stationary section that are cheap and magnetic!)
- Travel freebies-links to free stuff for traveling
- Play the I spy game with license plates
- Wipe-off white board/marker
- Magnetic sets (paper dolls, fire trucks, found in book sections)
- Snack bag filled with pre-portioned zip-lock bags of non-messy foods
- Kid’s music
- Tin foil for creations
- Play Go Fish
- Make string figures
- Check out these awesome games (like Noah’s Ark, Build a Story and Fooler, Fooler) to play in the car!
- Kids pillow and blanket
- Treasure Jar
- Rest Stop Box-stock with jump rope, frisbee, inflatable beach ball and Nerf ball, according to July’s issue of Parents Magazine.
- They also encourage travelers to ‘crank up the radio, open the doors and have an outdoor dance-a-thon).
- Printable Car Trip Check List
- Child-safety scissors and paper (it worked on a long flight w/my preschooler)
- Invisible markers/Magic paper
- Chalk Cloth Oil Mat
- Moon sand on a tray
- Post It Notes-draw on them, then decorate the car (Women’s Day, July Issue)
- Spill-proof Bubbles (yes, in the car. My toddler loves this).
- Printable Car Bingo
- Band-aids (again a toddler-pleaser)
- Leapster, DS Lite or hand-held game
- Magna Doodle
- Cookie sheet with magnetic alphabet letters
- The following incredible ideas came from MomsMinivan: travel tickets, surprise packages, and more (Actually EVERY idea on this site is amazing!)
- Printable Boredom Busters
- I spy bags/jars
- Ear plugs for when the “how much longer questions begin”
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