Traveling by Car this Summer? Must-Have Items for the kids…


School is out and it is time to travel!  You may not be flying anywhere, but traveling by car is a must for family trips this summer.  Our family travels all over the Tri-state area during the summertime, which means long car rides.  So what are my must-have items every time we have a car ride?  I am about to give away my favorite, must-have items:

    1. Smart tablets. I am a huge proponent of bringing along the Smart tablet or DVD player for the car, if your car doesn’t have a built in system already.  Since so many phones can act as hotspot, why not bring the Smart tablet and let the kids play some educational games or watch some movies.
    2. Snacks.  As soon as we leave the house, the first things I always hear is “what is for a snack?”  Pack a cooler with their favorite snack and drinks.  I even pack a few bottles of milk for the kids to help curb their appetites until we are able to stop for a meal. 
    3. Blanket and Pillow. It may be hot outside, but inside the car the air-conditioner is blowing full blast.  My kids are always telling me they are cold, so I pack a small blanket for each one of them, and they bring a small pillow to lay their heads against in their car seats.  Sometimes they even fall asleep and the silence in the car is so relaxing. 
    4. Dollar bin items. It is amazing what you can find at your favorite stores dollar bin.  Some of my favorite items to grab for less than $3 are the coloring items.  At one of the stores we go to, right in the front they have their $5 and under bins.  They change the items seasonally but it also seems weekly.  There have been various bags with the kids favorites characters and in each bag there are coloring pencils, pads of paper, stickers, and erasers.  This item is great for the car, the restaurant, and the hotel room.
    5. Games, Games, Games. There are so many games you can play such as “I Spy with my Little Eye…” or “License Plate” where you don’t need any additional materials to play.  One of my favorite games to make is Car Bingo.  You can make your own version using cardboard paper or buy one at the store, but there are various items you need to see such as a cow or a food truck.  You either close the flap on the board, or but an “X” over the item, and the first person to get to their items crossed off either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally wins Car Bingo.

There are so many fun ways to make your car trip exciting, and these are just a few of my favorite must-have items to help the time pass on our car rides.  I hope you can tell us some of your favorite must-have car items, and remember…Life is Better Traveling!


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Mary Yohannan lives in the Baldwin-Whitehall area of Pittsburgh. She moved to Pittsburgh over 2 years ago with her husband and 2 beautiful children. Mary owns her own travel agency Life is Better Traveling™, LLC which has helped hundreds of families take amazing vacations to Disney®, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Alaska, and all over Europe. She is also the founder of the Travel Agent School Supporting Learning and Education™ or T.A.S.S.L.E, which has the How to Become a SUCCESSFUL Travel Agent program™, a one-stop, all-inclusive program for someone who wants to become a Successful Travel Agent. Mary earned the distinguished honor of the Certified Travel Associate (CTA) through the Travel Institute in 2016, and has several other travel and tourism certifications. Mary has traveled to over 20 countries on 3 continents, but it wasn’t until she had children did she learn that traveling with little ones is a completely different, and sometimes challenging, traveling experience. Mary’s authentic passion for travel and traveling with her children has given her extensive knowledge on the best tips, tricks, and hacks to keep kids calm, entertained, and well-behaved while traveling. She posts a variety of travel tips and tricks on her highly coveted, High Content Life is Better Traveling website, but she has a lot of great advice on traveling with kids that she can’t wait to share with all those amazing Pittsburgh Moms.