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A child laughing in back seat of a car.
We are planning a trip back to PA in the next few months (Mickey & I grew up there) and we are already talking about what we need to take in order to make the trip as easy as possible.     I wanted to share those with you:

1. Headphones.
I will never again travel without headphones.  The kids use them for their iPods, tablets and leapsters.  We gave our kids an early Christmas gift this year and gave them Puro headphones.  We love them because they protect children/young adults from Noise-Induced Hearing Loss, but don’t sacrifice quality with the studio-grade sound they provide.   Plus, they were named The Best Kids Headphones” by the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute and are very highly reviewed by customers and professional reviewers.   The prices run from $29.99 – $149.99, which is about half the price of competitions.  Plus they offer studio-grade sound quality AND safe listening levels, so it’s a win-win. (enter their giveaway here)

puro headphones
*Note: don’t get the in-ear earbuds.  They can damage your child’s hearing.  Read more here.

2. Buy or borrow a special toy just for this trip! 
This could be a new notebook and a pen or crayons.  It could be a new DVD (you can borrow DVD’s from your local library for free).  Our library lets us take out 6 movies at a time and you can keep them for a week- perfect for a vacation (or renew them and have two weeks)or a new hand-held game.

Here is a great trick for keeping your crayons organized for the car trip:   Recycle a Parmesan cheese container and clean it out as a great place to store crayons.  It’s easy & contains the mess.
3- Keep cleaning supplies in the car
It is also a good idea to have paper towels, carpet cleaner (spot shot is our favorite), garbage bags or plastic grocery bags and a few hand-towels for spills or for sickness.   You may also want to have one extra pair of clothes, within reach (not packed in a suitcase), for each person in case they make a mess of their first outfit (in case of car sickness).  This has happened to us before and it happened to my friend (Kristy, guest-author of the post on Kindergarten readiness) when they had a six-hour drive ahead of them.  Her five-year-old (at the time) daughter suffers from motion-sickness and they were very much in need of their cleaning supplies on their trip!   Here is my list of what we keep in the car. 


4- Snack
When we are traveling, I always have a cooler with us.  I keep a few drinks (not too many or we will have to take too many stops at rest areas).  cI usually take the kids to the grocery store a few days before we leave to buy some “special snacks” for the car that we do not normally keep at home.  (Cookies, cheese curls… special treats!)   We actually keep our snacks in a rainbow loom box.

rainbow snack box


  5. Movies 

If you don’t have a DVD player built into the car, I suggest getting this.   My in-laws got these for the kids a few years ago and we use them on every single trip.  I take the kids to the library to get a movie (they each pick out two) and then we set them up in the car with a blanket (their choice), their Puro Headphones and their own Rainbow Loom Snack Tray.   It’s kind of like luxury, right?  Being a kid and having someone else getting everything prepared for you?   I was just telling Jack that sometimes I wish I could be a kid again and have my parents taking care of me…    🙂


Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. We always pack a roll of toilet paper, hand soap, paper towels and diaper wipes in a bag to take into rest stops “just in case” they are out when we get there. This has been a life saver a few times!

  2. Keeping cleaning supplies in the car is a great idea. I never would have considered that until our last road trip when my son spilled his drink all over. My kids love when I bring the iPad with us on our road trips, and I was just telling my friend that the other day when I was working my shift at DISH. With the iPad there are so many options for the kids and their favorite is watching live TV with the DISH Anywhere app. They can stream all their favorite shows live on the road with this app and it keeps them quiet for hours.

  3. We have found that it’s a great idea to pack a small bowl for each kiddo. then mom can dole out the goldfish etc into individual portions.

  4. My husband and I are planning a road trip with our children to go and visit my parents for Thanksgiving and I am glad that I found this article because I any trying to think of the best ways to keep our kids entertained on the trip. You make a great point that you should get your children a special new toy to play with that will make them excited for the trip. Also, it would be great to find a tray that will fit their food and toys to keep our car clean and organized.