3.25.2013

The Secret to Traveling by Car with Kids (While Maintaining Your Sanity)

CartravelsnackpackMy husband and I once drove from Wisconsin to Atlanta with our children. One was 9 months old and the other not quite three at the time. I did not, though tempted, fling myself from a vehicle going 75 miles per hour down the interstate and am still married to the same man. And both the kids are still alive. Between that success and the fact we put a few thousand miles every year on the car making trips, I figure this qualifies me to throw out a few suggestions on making traveling with kids in the car a little easier. I can, as you see, rationalize darn near anything.

Before car rides of any significance (let's say greater than 2 hours), I prepare a little package for each kid. These packages are simple, quick to throw together, cost next-to-nothing and will provide hours of peaceful entertainment to your people in the backseat. It will also keep you from spending a small fortune on the dreadful options at the gas stations along the way and from injuring your rotator cuff while dispersing drinks and/or breaking up skirmishes.


  1. First, I zip by Publix and grab a box of snacks (individually wrapped if I am low on time) like Goldfish, pretzels, Jif To Go, and fruit.
  2. I'll buy some sort of special candy we don't typically eat like this or this and throw a few of those in, too.
  3. I like to grab some note cards (you can get cute ones on super-sale at your local stationary store, Paper Affair has great stuff on their clearance table if you live in Atlanta, or just go with large index cards) and a few fun pencils so they can dash off a note or just draw.
  4. If I'm feeling extra generous I might put in an iTunes gift card.
  5. I throw in napkins, a wet wipe or two, and a sack for trash.
  6. I put all of this in one giant Ziploc bag and tuck it in their car door or somewhere they can easily access it.
If it's gonna be a really long car ride, I'll get them each a book, too. I hear this one's great. No matter how old you are, finding little surprise treats is always fun ... particularly if you're staring down a long day on the road.

What are you tricks for making car rides easier? We've got several car trips coming up soon, so I'm all ears. (I posted this query to my Facebook page, and there were lots of fabulous suggestions there, too. Read them here.)

Happy Trails!
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