A Sweet Travel Trick For Kids

travelling with kids

When I was little and my parents were taking me away for our annual summer holiday, we’d stop by my grandparent’s house to say goodbye. Each time we’d leave my Papa would pass me a paper bag that was sealed. According to the family story, I asked what was in the bag and he said, “Never mind.”

The ‘Never Mind Bag’ tradition was born.

As soon as we’d pull away from their driveway, I’d open the bag to find a juice box, a piece of candy and/or cookies, a piece of fruit, and a small present like crayons and a colouring book.

My Papa passed away when I was six but my Nana carried on the tradition. Sometimes, I’d find the latest in my favourite book series in the bag and once there was a diary. As a teen, she’d usually press an envelope into my hand. In it was always $10 or $20 and a small treat.

I’ve carried on this tradition with my own kids for our own road trips.

The bags look a little different that mine. I still include some fun (and healthy) snacks for the car but also usually give them a ‘blind’ bag from one of their latest obsessions like a Lego Mini-Figure, Shopkins, or a Pokeman card set.

My boys aren’t yet readers, but I also add in a well-loved book or two for them to read in the car. When it’s a book they’ve already read with us, they are able to retell it to themselves. Lately, my 6-year-old has been asking for comic books so the next time I make him a ‘Never Mind Bag’, I know I’ll be including one.

A sweet trick for traveling with kids

When my sons go to one of their grandparents to stay for up to a week, I usually include a smaller set of Lego or some Playdough. The kids are excited and our parents appreciate the quiet downtime it provides.

Do you have a family travel tradition? Plus, road trip gear for kids.


  • Hannah says:

    My mama used to do something similar with us, and we LOVED it! She would collect a few small gifts (toys, games, books, treats that were great for traveling with) and wrap them up. Then they would be dispersed as we went along, a different one for different legs of the journey. I did this for Z when we went on our trip to Colombia last fall (although I didn’t wrap them), and can’t wait to make this a tradition for road trips as she grows.

    Fantastic tip, Sara! Thanks for sharing this!

    • Sara Vartanian says:

      What a cute way your mom had of drawing out the fun! Us mamas have to be inventive when faced with long trips! Thanks for commenting.

  • homewithaneta says:

    I am going to use this on our big road trip this Summer. I need to keep the kids occupied for 2 days of travel and this (or many of them) will be happening