Road Trip Prize Countdown

Family road trips hold a unique place is everyone’s hearts. You either hate them or love them. Make your family’s journey special with a hour-by-hour road trip prize countdown.

Road Trip Prize Countdown

On our first long trip to Chicago, when the kids were young, I started a road trip prize countdown. Now they expect a surprise every hour when we travel. Does it annoy me? No. I like making our trips extra special. We’ll experience a limited number of road trips as a family and I want them to be fun and exciting.

How Much: A road trip prize countdown is simple to prepare and execute. If your road trip is an eight hour drive, then you need eight prizes for your destination trip and at least four prizes for your return home.

When: An hour between prizes is the right amount of time. Most prizes will occupy the kids for 20-30 minutes. Then there is usually about a 10-15 minute lull were they kids are satisfied, followed by another 15 minutes of expectation for the next prize.

Where: I organize my prizes into smaller sets and store them in simple canvas tote bags. I’ll bring one set out at a time and keep it with me because I am “the prize lady”. The newly reveled prizes serve double duty when used to entertain children in the hotel room or at a restaurant.


Ready for an 8 hour road trip with a Road Trip Prize Countdown

Prizes & Surprises

I stock up on small trinkets during holiday clearance sales. Gifts for the Easter basket or stocking stuffers make perfect prizes. The dollar racks or stores are another great place to score some fun finds.

In addition to store bought items, my kids get a lot of excitement out of ordinary items. When they were five years old, two star shaped sticky notepads kept them busy while stuck in bad traffic. Once it was a box of band-aids, the digital camera and a roll of tin foil.

Games & Activities

Some fabulous Midwest bloggers have got the scoop on how to satisfy the kids! Check out this great list of travel games and activities.


If you over-plan and just don’t get to all the prizes or activities, that’s ok! Keep them hidden and use them on your next adventure. 

What’s your child’s favorite road trip activity? 

pinterest road trip game countdown

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