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Family Road Trip Essentials

If your family is anything like ours, you're probably racking up more mileage on your bumper sticker laden SUV than you’d like to admit. And all that mileage adds up to a lot of hours in the car together. Very close together, maybe even touching, since your tent, camp stove, and backpacks are taking up the majority of the backseat. So how do you make all those long cramped, hours in the car manageable? The following items won’t get you there any sooner, but hopefully will help the time fly by faster.

Erica Lineberry

(Chris Mueller)

Portable DVD Player

A long car ride is the one time that our son is allowed to watch TV for hours on end. And he’s also the first to start packing when we say the words “road trip!” There are a wide range of sizes, specs, and prices to choose from, but a portable DVD player with a 7-9 inch screen should fit perfectly in a child’s lap. One essential feature to look for is a power adapter for the car, allowing the player to stay fully charged even on long trips.

(Shutterstock/Oleg Golovnev)

Kidz Gear Headphones

This piece of gear goes hand-in-hand with the previous one, because after the fifth round of "Thomas the Train," you’ll be thankful you bought these. And for families with multiple kiddos, headphones are a great way to keep the peace when musical tastes vary. These headphones may be designed for little ears, but they boast the same high quality components found in most standard adult headphones. A built-in volume control knob featuring the proprietary KidzControl Volume Limit Technology is a comforting safety spec for new users.

(Courtesy Kidz Gear)

Star Kids Snack n Play

Your budding artist will have a perfectly flat space in which to color with the Star Kids Snack n Play, and other riders won’t have to constantly pick up rolling crayons. Secured by straps that buckle around your child’s car seat, this brilliant product also features two side mesh pockets—perfect for storing a host of entertainment options.

(Courtesy Star Kids)

USA License Plate Game

When your kids need a break from their handheld gaming devices, take this oldie-but-goodie out for some educational family fun. This is not your grandma’s license plate game. Well, actually it is…just wrapped up in a sturdy, colorful, reusable package. Kids of all ages will enjoy scanning the roads searching for more license plates to flip over—and the best part is that there are no loose pieces to misplace.

(Courtesty Melissaanddoug.com)

Diono Seat Belt Pillow

Sleeping is a great way to pass the time in a car, provided you can get comfortable. This soft and luxurious seat belt pillow from Diono means no more painful neck kinks from contortionist-style sleeping positions. The pillow attaches to a seat belt and allows your child to drift off to dreamland in a natural and supported position, all in a fraction of the size of traditional pillows.

(Courtesy Diono)

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