Going on a road trip with kids is no easy task! First, there’s the incessant asking of questions. Then, the pouting when boredom hits…and, of course, the mess left in your vehicle once you’ve reached your destination. Fortunately, I know these hacks work and will address those issues. In fact, they have saved my sanity on road trips past. Use them, and find a bit more relaxation on your family vacation.

 

1. Use a bucket-and-pulley system to pass toys and games back and forth in the car.

All you have to do is thread a sturdy rope or string between the front and back seat grip handles on the ceiling of your vehicle, then add a bucket to the rope and tie it off tightly. You can then safely send the bucket back and forth as needed during your trip—and the kids will love it!

 

2. Fill plastic Easter eggs with surprise snacks and keep them safe in an egg carton.

 

3. Attach chalkboard paper to an old baking tray for a portable, magnetic play station.

 

Related: 6 Creative Summer Art Projects for Kids

4. Have kids make their own edible snack necklace before the trip.

 

5. Fill a binder with printables, games, and other fun things to do on the road.

Get a big binder and put each child’s name on it. Then fill it with fun things: crayons and coloring pages, scavenger hunt checklists (license plates, landmarks, and animals are all great), bingo scoreboards, finger puppets, activity printables, small books or audio books, and other surprise goodies. Give it to them as soon as you set off.

 

6. Keep snack time neat with a fitted sheet.

 

7. Create a travel LEGO case with a lunchbox.

Attach a LEGO board to the inside of a hinged container and fill the container with LEGOs.

 

8. Serve single portions of celery and peanut butter in lidded mason jars.

 

9. Create an “I Spy” bottle filled with rice, small toys, beads, buttons, and other colorful objects.

Create a checklist (visual or text) to go along with the bottle (or bag) and have your child cross off each item once it’s been spied.

 

10. Keep entertainment within arm’s reach by filling a suctioned shower caddy with toys and games.

 

11. Create countdown games for breaks and the ETA to your final destination.

Rather than endure countless variations on "Are we there yet?," start a new countdown each time you get back in the car for another leg of your road trip. For instance, you could hang a banner over the back of the driver seat with blocks of time to tear off as each hour passes.

 

Note: You may not be able to tell from these photos, but I promise, these hacks definitely work—and should only be used—when seatbelts are fastened. I shot these photos in my driveway, and wasn’t even thinking to buckle my kids in as they hopped in and out of our van in order to help with the shoot…my bad!

Related: 11 Almost-Free Things to Add to Your Kids’ Summer Bucket List