3 Tips for Organized Travel – Organized Travel with Kids

Traveling with Kids? Don't leave home without this idea - Use sticky note time tabs for your next road trip and you will thrive instead of survive.  Full details in post. - Neat Nest Organizing

Sticky Note Time Tabs

Here is another one of the 3 tips for organized travel in this series, and it focuses on organized travel with kids.
A little bit of planning and preparation goes a long way in making a road trip with children easier, enjoyable and more fun!  This is what we used on our recent travels from western NY to northern Maine.
Sticky Note Time Tabs
Sticky Note Time Tabs for Organized Travel with Kids - Neat Nest Organizing
Here is how it works:
1.  Choose an interval of travel time that suits the age and developmental stage of your child(ren).  Mine are 8 and 6, so one-hour increments were just right for them.
2.  Use sticky notes to record the increments and stick them to the center console below the clock.
3.  Tell the children that when the clock-time matches the sticky note-time, there will be a small surprise.
4.  When the interval is reached, remove the sticky note and hand out the prize/monotony-breaker.
5.  Add more intervals as needed. (I could only fit four at a time.)
Prizes/Monotony Breakers


The prizes I packed included:
*Little craft kits (sticky mosaics are a big hit!)
*Activity books (paper dolls, sticker storybooks)
*Little trinket toy set
*Little coloring kit
*Candy (Gasp! Yes, a few small treats are just fine to enjoy.)
*Book on CD
*iPod with music
*iPod Touch for electronic game time
Travel Guess Who? and Bendaroos were fun options, too.


Bingo also found its way into the prize bag.  I can call out the objects from my seat.


Removable sticky page tabs make great travel bingo markers.  They stay put & are reusable, too!


Tootsie Pop Contest:  See how long each person can go without biting off the candy. 
This took about 20+ minutes; it was fun and also kept things quiet for a bit- bonus!


Packed prize bag was stored near me for easy access.
Note:  Prizes came from many sources.  We bought a few at Dollar General, got some from Grandma specifically for the trip and some were from a stash I had put away a few months ago. (They seemed like new when brought out for the trip!)
Also, each child was required to pack her own car bag as well.  I am not the only source of entertainment for trips.  At these ages, my children are primarily responsible for making their own fun, and they really enjoy preparing and packing their own bags, too. 
Inspiration for this idea came from a July 2012 article in Family Fun Magazine. The author used clothespins attached to the visor instead of the sticky notes.  The sticky notes worked better for us, and I liked having the exact time increment written on each. It prevented the constant barrage of “is-it-time-for-our-next-surprise?” questions.  Plus, the sticky notes were easy to store, use and remove.
We had a great travel experience on our recent trip, and I credit this tip with helping us to that end. How do you survive and thrive on extended family road trips? What organized-travel-with-kids tips help you?
🙂 Robin

*NOTE:  Be sure to consider the age and development of your child(ren) when gathering items for your “surprises bag.”  Be aware of any choking hazards for very young children – toys, candy, crafts etc.  Keep your traveling SAFE above all else!  You are the best judge of that for your child(ren).


  1. Just now commenting about this! The prize thing worked out great! We didn’t use the sticky notes as much because we had some sickies along the trip and they just basically laid there…and didn’t really get too ansy! We did do the packing there own bag thing and that was awesome! We also got the travel Guess Who game :)).

  2. That’s awesome, Annie!! I’m so glad that your traveling went so well and that these tips were helpful, too. Isn’t it fun to see them pack their own bag & feel a sense of independence and accomplishment? Thanks for letting me know!

  3. What do you do if your kids are 2 and 11 ? What time incresments.
    Please write back.

    • I would love to know the answer too about time increments. We are traveling from NY to Florida next month.

      • Hi, Samantha – it will depend on the age of your children. When I first did this, mine were 8 and 6 and 1-hour increments were just right. Now, they could almost go 1.5 hours (if it’s a long enough trip for that increment), If not, the hour still works fine, too. Hope you have a great trip!!

    • Hi, Brianna – For the 11 year old, I would shoot for 1 hour – 1.5 hours increments. Now that my kids are in that similar age range, an hour goes by quick as they stay engaged much longer with the activity. As for the two-year old, maybe every 15 min or as determined by the fussiness level 🙂 I don’t think the 2 yo will really understand the time prompts, so keep an eye out for when to introduce the next toy or food treat. Hope that helps! 🙂 Robin

      • Where did you find the sticky mosaics?

        • Hi, Nicole 🙂

          You can find them online at Amazon – I added the link. Go up and click on the words “sticky mosaics.” You might also be able to find them at your local Dollar General. Joann Fabrics has them as well.

  4. I also like the sticky note idea. Even more, I appreciate the fact that you do have your children responsible for part of their own fun in the car. I think sometimes we can put too much pressure on ourselves to be “fun fairies” all of the time. Thanks! Pinned.

    • Thanks, Suzanne 🙂 Yes, I love that they make their own fun, too! It’s really a joy to see how excited they are and how accomplished they feel when they have their “car bags” ready to go. My “sticky note surprises” are more like the cherry on top of the sundae – a sweet bonus to an already yummy treat. So glad to hear from you!



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