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Road Trip Sanity Saver

Traveling with kids can be an adventure to say the least.  Taking a long car trip with children can be enough to drive you insane!  Here’s a car ride game that can make those long car rides a lot more manageable and (dare I say it?) fun!  I came up with this simple car ride game for a recent road trip to Orlando and my kids loved it!  It’s easy, inexpensive and works for any age child.

Here’s how it works:

Take a look at your route and see how many states you will cross during your trip.  Get a paper lunch bag for each state plus one to start with.  Mark each bag with the child’s name and the state – i.e.  Miranda – North Carolina – for each state and one for the start of the trip that says something fun like “On the road to Orlando!”

In the “start” bag put a snack, a juice box and the License Plate game, and at least 50 small stickers (I put in extras so there was no drama over lost or dropped stickers).  Print out some instructions on how to play the game (Put a sticker on each license

plate that you find while driving) in the bag.  To make the License Plate game more interesting and to keep their attention for the entire trip, I added a twist – money!  For each license plate they found on the road, they earned $0.50 in souvenir money.  This kept them scouting license plates for 12 hours straight!

Next, fill each state bag with some goodies to keep your kids occupied.  I put in a juice box, a fun snack (little candy bars which my children don’t normally have) and an age appropriate activity.  For my kids (ages 16, 13 and 8) I used things like Mad Libs, travel games, drawing pads and pencils, etc.  You can use whatever your kids would enjoy.  You might even want to splurge in one bag with something more expensive like a new game for their DS or the like.

Every time you cross a state line hand out the appropriate bag.  I used a tote bag for each child and layered the lunch bags in reverse order so that as we crossed into a state, they just took the bag on top.

In total, I spent about an hour organizing this activity (including picking up snacks and games) and my kids loved it.  They couldn’t wait to get to the next state to see what was in the bag and the activities kept them busy.  They have already asked when we are taking our next road trip so they can have new bags!  Road trip boredom conquered!

Want a copy of my License Plate Game and Road Bingo?  E-mail me at!

Christine Hardenberger (The Vacation Architect­­­­­­­TM) can help you navigate the travel maze.  She is an authority on Disney, Universal Studios and cruise vacations.  She has been recently featured on MSNBC’s Today Travel and Trekaroo.  Contact her at 800-272-7739 or and let her create a blueprint for a better vacation! 


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