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The Best Road Trip Goodie Bags for Kids

Planning a family road trip? Keep your kids happy & quiet with these awesome DIY road trip goodie bags. Keep reading to learn how to avoid the dreaded “Are we there yet?” over and over with these simple bags that you can throw together before you head out the door.

A family stops at a pond to play and run around during a road trip. If you're planning a family road trip, try goodie bags to keep kids occupied.

Oh, how I miss the days when my kids were babies.

Anytime we traveled out of town we could just pop in their binkies and have a relaxing drive while they slept in the backseat.

Now that they’re big kids, things are not that simple.

They bicker, refuse to agree on a movie to watch and constantly ask “Are we there yet?”.

To keep the peace I created DIY Road Trip Surprise Bags that even the big kids will love!

DIY Road Trip Goodie Bags Your Kids Will Love

Three kids wearing sunglasses and smiling at the camera look out of the car window while on a road trip. Road trip goodie bags will help keep your kids entertained on long trips.

At the time of our last road trip, our kids were 5 and 8.

Making them old enough to:

-Refuse to take naps, no matter how tired they are.

-Eat all the snacks in the bottomless snack bag within the first 20 minutes

-Ask “Are we there yet?” – literally one million times.

Sound familiar?

Without a plan to keep the kids busy during your next family road trip, this could completely ruin the beginning of your family vacay.

This year, I decided to be proactive and take advantage of some of the key factors I knew had played a role in misery of our last long trip in the car:

  • My oldest can tell time and kept looking at the clock and asking “How many more minutes/hours?” – in addition to the regularly scheduled “Are we there yet?”
  • Any toys and activities we bring along to keep them busy become “boring” within the first hour.
  • They love snacks and eating snacks keeps them quiet.

Using this “Holy Trinity” of prior knowledge I came up with a solution:

Want more smart parenting hacks like these road trip goodie bags? Read these next:

The Rules of Road Trip Goodie Bags

Brown paper road trip goodie bags labeled with different times when the kids are allowed to open them.

Typically I would have packed a bag of snacks AND a bag of activities to allow them to access at their request.

However, I knew from experience that it didn’t keep them happy or quiet.

This time would be different!

On this road trip I would be alternating a small bag containing snacks or an activity every 30 minutes.

This would ensure that the snacks were rationed to last the entire trip.

It would also keep them excited to discover what was in the next bag.

Here’s the catch:

In order for them to receive their next bag, there were two rules:

Rule #1 – No bickering

Rule #2 – No asking “Are we there yet?” or “How much longer?”

If they did, they would not receive their next bag

How to Make Road Trip Goodie Bags

Learn how to make DIY road trip surprise bags for your kids - no printables needed!

First you need to calculate how long you will be in the car before reaching your destination. I our case it was 4 hours.

Next, you will determine how many bags you need to prep.

Considering that this was the first time we attempted this strategy I wanted to make an impact. In order to keep the excitement up I planned on giving them a bag every 30 minutes.

This meant I would need 8 bags for each child (16 bags total).

I know this sounds like a lot, but there are only a few items in each bag because they only need to keep them busy for 30 minutes…which is pretty much the maximum attention span of any child that I know.

I headed to the store to get my supplies:

If you’re thinking that you don’t have the time (or budget) to go out and buy a bunch of stuff to fill the bags, don’t worry! You don’t have to.

You can use the list of toys, games and snacks above as inspiration while you go around your house and raid your pantry for things you already have.

Simply divide snacks into small plastic bags for smaller servings and gather toys and art supplies that you know your kids haven’t played with in a while.

When I returned home I started by labeling the bags. I used cute duct tape and masking tape to create my labels.

A brown paper road trip goodie bag labeled with colorful duct tape and a blank piece of masking tape.

I marked each one with the time that it was to be opened.

8 brown bag road trip goodie bags labeled with different times. these times indicate when the kids can open the bags and play with their surprises.

Finally I placed the goodies inside, alternating a treat or an activity every 30 minutes and folded up the top to close.

A look at some of the toys and activities I included in the road trip goodie bags for my kids - activity books, scavenger hunt card games, markers, and more.

How did the kids like their surprise road trip goodie bags?

A little boy sitting in a car seat, opening up his road trip goodie bag and discovering the surprise inside.

Honestly, it went great! I will definitely be doing it again.

It only took about 15 minutes to prep (minus the shopping).

They were able to follow our “Road Trip Goodie Bag Rules” – since it would have been torture to miss out on receiving the next bag.

I will definitely use this trick on our next family road trip.

If you have any family travel tips to share, please comment below!

More Family Road Trip Tips:

Learn how to make DIY road trip surprise goodie bags for kids - the easiest way to keep kids occupied and behaved during long drives.


  1. I’m about to go across the country with my 4 yr old alone tomorrow… this will be another 31 hour trip for her this year but were dividing it up into 4 driving days this time since we will be alone. I did the bags every hour and they loved it last time and I think that’s why she’s excited to travel this way again. These are awesome ideas and littles love it! I like ur rules too! Except my kids wouldnt get anything if i followed that 😂

    1. Yay! I am so glad to hear that she loved the bags and that it worked well for your family. I have to tell you that my kids are “big kids” now and these road trip goodie bags have become a tradition. Even my teenager still looks forward to opening the bags and it still works great for rationing snacks and keeping them busy. Wishing you safe travels!

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