Tips for Taking Road Trips With Young Families, Part II: What NOT to Bring


Maybe it's because I grew up in southern California, or maybe it's because I like seeing things up close. Whatever the cause, I love a road trip, so my children have grown up taking very long car rides. Over the years, mostly by trial and error, my husband and I came up with a list of things we would not allow our children to have in the car. They could use those items in a hotel room or at Grandma's house, but the back seat was off limits.

Here is a list of items that are banned from my back seat.

Legos and Duplos. They get lost and are really hard to find, especially in the dark.

Tiny dolls, for the same reason.

Crayons. They melt onto the upholstery. This is especially bad if you are driving a rental car.

Meltable candy. Sorry, chocolate lovers!

Outdoor toys, such as balls and Nerf guns. Anything that could fly into the front seat must stay in the trunk so we don't have an accident.

Red, orange, green, blue, brown, and purple drinks. They stain upholstery. There are plenty of tasty clear and light-colored drinks available. Save the Gatorade for the hotel.

Loud toys. If the front seat passengers can't hear themselves think, or if they get tired of repetitive sounds, the offending toy must be put away.

Music choices that the adults in the car find annoying or sleep-inducing. Someone has to stay awake and remain clear-headed in order to drive the car.

Pointed objects, such as pencils, that can be used to poke other passengers. 

If you have additions to this list, please include your suggestions in a comment.

Photo by EmmiP at