Favorite Road Trip/Travel Items for Kids

by Melody on March 27, 2014

My favorite road trip necessity is a good long nap.  But in all seriousness.

In the spirit of the almighty Spring Break, I have been thinking about all the different things that our family uses to keep our kids happy in the car.  Whether it be a trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s (just about a good nap away) or a long trip across the state, I’ve found that there is no such thing as being too prepared when it comes to keeping kids entertained.



  • Munchkin Snack Catchers – We use these absolutely every single day, regardless if we are driving 5 minutes or 5 hours.  They are so amazing and prevent so many messes.  Worth every penny.
  • GoGo Squeez Applesauce Pouches – These are easy, fun and healthy snacks with virtually no mess.  You can order them off Amazon for as low as $.46 each or Costco sells them for around $.48/pouch.
  • Snack and Play Travel TrayProvides flat surface for playing or eating, buckles around kids, has 2 large pockets and folds flat.  Perfect for road trips!




  • Alex Toy Studio Car Valet – Fits on the back of the front seat and folds down for easy access to art supplies, coloring items and more.  Comes really highly rated!
  • Leapfrog Tag Reading System – We have 2 of these, one for each kid, and they are fantastic.  The boys could spend hours reading through the 4 or 5 different books we have, as each one has a story and multiple games included.
  • Leapfrog LeappadBoth my kids and Emilie’s kids have one of these and love it so much they fight over it. We have a few actual games for ours, but have also downloaded apps and games through the Leapfrog online interface.
  • Reading Light with Clip – These are fantastic for kids who are of reading age or if you are planning on traveling at night.


  • 9″x12″ Baking Sheet – Can be used to hold small toys, for coloring, racing cars, with magnetic letters or numbers and so much more.  Helps to avoid the “Mom I dropped it.  Mom I dropped it”.
  • Colored Pipe Cleaners – These can be found at just about any arts and crafts store or the dollar store.  We took a package of these to Disneyland and our 5-year old spent HOURS making shapes, designs and random blobs.  Honestly, they all just looked like random blobs.  But he was hugely entertained.

We are planning a trip to the Oregon Coast and this will be our first long trip with both boys.  We have a huge bag of snacks packed and extra water bottles.  I cleaned out the car (surprising how messy it can get!) and went through their toy/book tote we keep between them.  I replaced batteries where needed and added some fun new toys and coloring books.  I also picked up two new Crayola Color Wonder packets to give them something they have never seen before.

I’ve always been a fly by the seat of my pants packer, but this time I used this amazing Road Trip Pack List from Burlap & Denim.  While there are some items that don’t apply to us, the majority of them were super helpful.

For some fun activities and other ideas, check out my Traveling with the Little Dudes Pinterest board.

Please share your suggestions for traveling with kids, whether by plane or by car.  We’d love to hear your tips and tricks!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Miss Jay August 3, 2012 at 7:58 am

We just got back from Idaho where we put over 1000 miles on the car with our 4 & 7 yr olds. We also have laptrays that I absolutely wouldn’t do a long car trip without. Ours aren’t collapsable, but I got them for 50 cents at a garage sale a couple years ago and I rave about them to all my mom friends.

I let the kids fill a small backpack with car toys, and we set it aside a few weeks before we travel, so the toys are exciting again. We also take them to the dollar store and let them pick out 3 new toys that we save for the trip. I add crayons, coloring books, their white boards & markers as well.

This year we got audiobooks from the library. The kids listened really well, and it passed the time a bit easier for the adults than kid song cds do. We also had 2 really decent length stops to stretch legs which made a huge diffence in the previous year when we pushed through with just 1 break.

I love the Oregon Coast, have a great trip!!


mom4me March 27, 2014 at 3:56 pm

When I buy the new toys/coloring books etc, I wrap them in leftover wrapping paper. Makes it just a bit more fun for the kiddos.

I also try to figure out how many hours we will be in the car and plan on one snack or “new” item per hour minus the first one or two. This gives me something to go to when they are getting restless.

I usually include some sort of notebook, writing utensil and stickers to change it up for them too.

I actually think it is fun to plan out the stuff for long car trips – kind of like stocking only on a different level.


Sherry March 27, 2014 at 4:37 pm

We are planning a 4,000 mile, 3 week road trip to most of the National Parks in the West this summer. Our kids are 8 & 10 and we’ll be mostly camping (with 2-3 hotel nights and a short stay at my in-laws thrown in for my sanity). My friends think we’re crazy. But they thought the same when we went to Spain for 3 week with 3 kids in diapers…and it was the most awesome trip ever. Period.


Real Family Trips - Family to Family Travel Tips May 9, 2014 at 11:50 am

Mad Libs! 😀
This is such a great list. Thanks for putting it together, I’m sure it will help a lot of parents!

Play-doh can entertain kids for an hour or two, as well as the ever classic etch-a-sketch. Gotta love the classics!


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