Mom blogger Julie Dunlap shows how to pack the car for success. Whether you're going on a trip, or just traveling around Kansas City with the kids, remember these tips.
Planning - Have the kids do a little research about the destination and about places to stop along the way. Let them find famous diners, tourist stops, etc. Do not plan any major changes (weaning from the pacifier, potty-training, wearing contacts for the first time) during the trip.
Packing - Avoid dragging loads of luggage into hotels for overnights by packing the whole family's toiletries in one bag and several smaller suitcases with enough clothes for overnights in separate bags. When you load the car, keep the final destination luggage on the bottom and the en route one-nighter luggage on top to make those shorter hotel stays easier.
On the Road - Efficiently pack age-related items, but don't freak out about it. There is always a Target or Walgreen's nearby. You don't need to spend a lot of money. Odd are, everything you need is already at home. Electronics are great, but be sure to pull them away with unplugged time so the kids will take the time to look out the window and enjoy the view. Reset passwords on iDevices so cameras work, but nothing else does.
Young kids - New books or toys (or hide a couple of favorites for the weeks leading up to the vacation to "surprise" them with OTR); soothing music.
Older kids - There are some obvious ones (DVDs, iThings, Kindles, books, arts/crafts etc), but here are a few others our family enjoys:
All travelers - Bring your own water bottles, sunglasses, earbuds
Pack all on-the-road items in a reusable grocery bag that also has a stash of paper towels, plastic utensils, wet wipes, Dramamine, first aid kit, trash bags and snacks.