Oh my goodness. Where to even begin. How about our road trip down. I know a lot of people fly down, but we drove. From Iowa. That, my friends, is 24 hours in a van with a 6 year old, a 4 year old, and an almost 3 year old (my poor little Livi spent her third birthday driving back from Florida).
The trip down was excellent. I had packed them each a backpack with new books, coloring books, hidden picture magazines, little toys they had forgotten about from McDonald's happy meals, etc. We also had an iPod, iPhone, iPad to trade around with some fun new apps. I will talk about those in a different post maybe. My 6 year old actually spent most of his time searching for state license plates. We used the printout for the "License Plate Game" from here.
Another great idea I had found on Pinterest is to get a little organizer from the dollar spot at Target. It perfectly fits a juice box, sandwich, or other snacks. Small enough for child to hold it in their lap and not create a huge mess. Sorry, I don't have my own picture of it, but you can go over to Lookie what I did and see where I got the idea from.
My next road trip tip is kinda gross, but good to be prepared. My 4 year-old used to get car sick when she was younger. Hasn't happened in a long time, but I figured better safe than sorry. I put a bowl/bucket under her seat. She ended up needing it three times and then we finally got her some Dramamine at the gas station we were stopped at. She didn't have any more problems. My neighbor did the same road trip 2 months ago and her children caught the flu while they were on the road. She was also happy she had taken a bucket, just in case. Just a little tip that might help, even if you don't have anyone prone to car sickness.
They had many activities in their backpack, but I did hold back a few books and things for the ride home, so there were still some "new" things to keep their interest.
An excellent trash can for the car/van - plastic cereal dispenser.
A few other ideas that I thought were really clever, but did not end up using:
Organizing for a road trip - we probably would have done this if we had an IKEA, but sadly our nearest one is 3 hours away and I could not find any other recycling bins that were the right shape and size and for the price I wanted to pay.
Road Trip Travel Trays - We actually did have a cookie sheet with a magnet clip holding their coloring pages but this takes it a step further by spraying them with chalkboard paint.
Road trip car snacks - clever and healthy.