WFMW: Traveling with Kids | Mega Tip List

I’m starting to think about travel again this summer for straight 24 hours (one way) with a five, ten and twelve year old. I brushed off this list and started planning. You can never be too prepared!

  • Audio books (my library checks them out) or you can download some for free 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.
  • 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)
  • No Spill Bubbles
  • 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
  • Desk To Go
  • Tin foil for creations
  • Play Go Fish
  • Make string figures
  • RandMcNally Kids’ Road Atlas
  • 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.
  • No Spill Snack Catchers
  • 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)
  • License Plates Across the States:Travel Puzzles and Games!
  • Printable Car Bingo
  • Stickers
  • 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”
  • Potty chair (for those long stretches without a rest stop)
  • Best Travel Activity Book Ever
  • Travel Memory Game

Edited repost

What works for you when you travel with kids?


  1. 1


    Snacks are big for us (with 6 kids, you don’t want to have to load up at a gas station… can you say cha-chang?)!! We also do movies on the laptop (strapped to an ice chest.. great idea!!), we make sure each of the kids have their individual game devices, books, crayons, etc.,and we try to bring lots of music that we enjoy as a family and we do sing-a-longs (although they might frown on that on an international flight – ha!!).

  2. 5


    I don’t travel very much, but I find your tips very helpful on the subject! :-) Now I am prepared to do so!

    I’ve linked up two this week:
    1. Heartburn Relief While Pregnant – great comments on this one!
    2. 15 Ways to Decorate on a Budget

    Thank you!

  3. 8


    Thank you for hosting! This week I have shared the following seasonal farm-to-table recipes that promote the benefits of good health through nutrition from eating fresh unprocessed seasonal produce:

    Asparagus & Wild Leek Avgolemono Soup

    Spring Chimichurri Asparagus & Eggs

    Strawberry Basil Chicken Salad

    Strawberry Basil Chicken in White Wine

    Cacio e Pepe Pasta with Wild Leeks & Asparagus

    Happy cooking!
    The Intentional Minimalist

  4. 9


    We traveled right across our country last Spring with our eight kids… We took the complete Roald Dahl Collection on audiobook… we ran out of road and still had a couple of books left to read when we got home!!! Our two year old was the best traveler of the lot… every time he saw a truck: “TRUCK” or a cow: “COW”… he announced our entire trip and and loved it, still asks when we are going again!!!

  5. 10

    Dawn says

    When we drove 10+ hours to Disney World, we gave each child a roll of quarters (you could use pennys, dimes, etc). Every time they fought, whined, etc, they had to give us a quarter. They were allowed to spend what they had left once we got to Disney. It worked GREAT!!

    • 10.1

      Tricia says

      Dawn, that is a fantastic idea! We leave Saturday for a 10 hour drive to SC and my older 2 are definitnely motivated by earning extra spending money.

  6. 11


    Had a tip I thought might work well, especially for your older kiddos: give each child a disposable camera {or buy them an inexpensive “real” camera} and a notebook. Tell them to journal their trip and take pictures… yes, even when you’re en route. By doing so, they will feel that they have an active role in preserving memories AND you’ll get the wonderful opportunity to “see” the trip through their eyes.

    Praying for a safe trip!

  7. 12

    Rachel says

    Wow! What a fantastic list! This is definitely getting saved. I so could have used this last week while traveling with a 5-year old for the first time and on my own. That 5.5 hour plane ride was a challenge but he did really well. Next time – I’ll be better prepared!

  8. 13


    This one cracks me up! “Ear plugs for when the “how much longer questions begin”” Although when my 15 yr old son was younger that started a mile from home!! lol!! Great list and even better to be prepared. We have never been on the road for more than 6 hours … I could not imagine 24!

  9. 16


    oh Kristen, i can’t wait to go down through your whole list because we’ve got that same 24 hour flight to Kenya in July with three little ones. I’ve got 0 anxiety about living in Kenya but I have plenty of anxiety about the travel TO Kenya. Praying for you guys as you GO.
    :) Looking forward to your updates too.

  10. 17

    Jessica says

    Whatever you do, use CLEAR plastic tubs for storage. You can SEE what is inside without labels or taking off the lid.

  11. 18

    Kimber says

    I bought a package of toy frogs for less than a dollar at Walmart in the party favor aisle. I cut out a few lily pads from green paper. I threw them all in an old Altoid tin … and for less than a dollar, my one- and three-year-old have played for HOURS! Great on a plane, and my husband tucks the tin in his pocket when we go out to eat – it keeps the kids busy while we wait for our food. We keep crayons in another one.

  12. 19


    Hello and good morning! I linked up healthy and simple No Calorie Sweet Green Tea recipe (#274) that’s a great alternative to soda. It’s the perfect drink for a hot summer afternoon. Plus, it’s tasty and it’s good for you. Win-win. Thanks for hosting the party once again. Have a great week!

  13. 20

    Marie says

    I loved this post. I travel quite a lot with my two boys 4 and 2. We make it a lot of fun with games and veggie tale songs. They love traveling and going to see things and new people. The bungee cord on the cooler cracked me up though….We are so THAT family as well. we tried an old luggage belt around the two headrests to hold the dvd player up (worked but not so well), then my husband, who is a engineer, decided to rig up some cool tv with a battery pack in the car (worked great for about 15 minutes and then my oldest needed a bag) now we use the old somewhat broken dvd player Velcroed on a suitcase (works great for 30 minutes, then it is back to counting trucks)

  14. 21

    Dawn says

    We went on a little road trip not too long ago. I made several games like Tic-Tac-Toe, the Dot Game (just a page of dots where kids connect dots 2 at a time to see who makes the most squares at the end), Travel Bingo, and the License Plate Game (a state map I found on line). I printed them all and laminated them. The kids used dry erase markers, so their games were reusable!

  15. 23

    Brittney says

    Thank You so much! we are going to be traveling in about two weeks for a straight 24 hr trip and we have 3 lil boys age 5 and under so i been trying to think of ideas for a fairly easy trip (fingers cross)

  16. 25

    Katelyn says

    As the mother of a 2 year old, it is much more pleasant to travel with him when he is fully rested. He does not sleep in the car – would rather go without a nap than sleep in the car, would rather scream like a banshee when he was a baby than sleep in the car. But he is a fabulous flier. To each their own, know your own child and make adjustments as necessary.

  17. 28


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