Art supplies

Our kids love to color and draw. We bought them each a full-sized sketchbook to bring on the trip, so that meant there was no loose paper flying around the back seat. And my wife packed a set of crayons and colored pencils. She made sure to pack two of each color so there was no fighting and a pencil sharpener for the inevitable broken crayon and colored pencil. (No markers, which make marking up the backseat upholstery far too easy.) They probably spent more time drawing than doing anything else.


Before we left, we got them a few surprises. One was a new book for Sam. The other was a couple of those Grab-and-Go packs featuring coloring books and crayons emblazoned with their favorite characters. We didn’t reveal them until just before we left, and they were a hit.


Of course, no road trip preparation is complete without great snacks, but we tailored the selections to our boys. Their favorites include cheese sticks, Goldfish crackers and granola bars, so that’s what we brought.

Stuffed animals

Our extensive collection of stuffed animals, which our boys call their “buddies,” are essential toys. Given their way, they would have brought along dozens, but we said they could pick just one. They each picked their favorite, and they stayed focused on playing with that one toy. Had they brought more, it would have been a mess. It also made it easier to make sure we didn’t leave a favorite buddy in another state.