Whether you're traveling by plane, train, or automobile, you need to make sure that you've got plenty to keep your kids occupied. I am definitely a big fan of electronics (embrace the technology of travel DVD players and tablets), but you can't rely on them to keep your kids occupied for the entire trip. Battery life, wavering signals, and even just boredom with too much screen time can take your savior and make it your worst enemy.
We've got a medium length trip coming up soon - three hours if we're lucky and don't hit traffic. Not an intimidating distance, but I know that sometimes that last hour can be tough, and it's best to be prepared.
One thing I like to do is make sure that each of my girls have their own backpack, within their reach, filled with:
- iPod and headphones (we actually use old iPhones!)
- a pad of paper and something to draw with (chunky pads and colored pencils are our favorites)
- a book that they can enjoy independently (seek and finds for my non-reader, easy chapter books for my new reader)
- a new activity book - mazes, word search, hidden pictures, connect the dot, puzzles
- a water bottle and snackbox
- something to snuggle
- a small toy of their choosing (my girls are into shopkins and splashlings) in a contained container. The container is key for avoiding issues. We use small tin "lunchboxes", and they work well in keeping all the little pieces together so they can stay in the carseat.
These ideas work well for younger elementary kids, but if you are traveling with babies and toddlers, check out this post with ideas for the little ones!