Snacks: Pack lots of chocolate – for you – not the kids. The less sugar the better when it comes to them, but definitely pack snacks and lots of them. I usually take Lil Man with me shopping and let him pick out a few favorite snacks to have on the way.
Toys & Books: I’ve found that packing several small bags with favorite toys / books / portable games is a great way to keep him from getting so bored. Once he’s had one bag for a few hours, I can bring out another one. (Also on a side note, if you are making a multiple day trip, having a carry on to take into the hotel worked better for us instead of packing to haul everything out of the vehicle. By the time we reached our destination for the night, we were all tired. And the last thing we wanted to do was unload the entire car).
DVDs: We also have a portable DVD player. After several days on the road, the novelty did wear off, but I would highly recommend a DVD player if you can.
Camera: This year, I’m letting Lil Man borrow my digital camera. I never use it anymore as I always use my iPhone. So if it gets damaged in the process, I won’t be totally devastated. But this way he can take pictures along the route and document his trip in his own way. I love seeing his pictures and what is important to him. And it makes him feel like he’s really a part of things.
Lil Man is 4 – so of course I pack for him. But allowing him to have some control over what we bring is also helpful. It’s also nice that I throw in a few surprises for him.
Take lots of breaks to break up the trip. We often walk around the rest areas to ‘stretch our legs’ and get some fresh air. We pack our lunch to save money so we utilize the picnic tables.
Have fun! Remember that the journey is also part of the vacation – so enjoy it!