Every year my family goes on a super-long (16 hours!) road trip to see family. We split the trip into two days and have a blast. No really! Our family of 4, a minivan, and the open road- it's a recipe for good memories. It's amazing that there hasn't been a bad experience yet- but I think that has to do with our outlook on things. Looking at everything we come across as a memory-making experience makes everything more fun. Even getting stuck in Memphis an extra day because of snow and ice in Arkansas last year didn't ruin our fun!
Aside from a good attitude, another necessity for a good road trip experience is food- and lots of it.
A good mix of "real" food (carrot sticks, celery, cheese, peanuts and raisins, etc.) and junk food.
Since these road trips are always over the holiday season finding a great selection of deliciously bad-for-you road trip food is never really a problem :-)
One of my favorite "real food" items to take with us are "Roadtrip Sandwiches." The contents of the sandwich aren't as important as the preparation. I try to find a sandwich filling that will please all of us, so I generally stick with ham and cheese but anything will work. Feel free to use another lunch meat, chicken salad- whatever you like.
I start with a tray of King's Hawaiian rolls and slice the entire tray in half. I slather on the condiments, generally just mayo and mustard to keep my daughter happy. After the condiments I layer the meat and cheese, put the entire other half of the tray of rolls back on top, and use a knife to cut between the rolls. Here's the best part (besides the little snack-size sandwiches)- the whole tray of rolls can go right back in the bag! Throw it in the cooler and you're good to go. No fuss, no mess.
:-) If you have more than a couple of people you might want to make more than one tray- they're as easy to mindlessly snack on as a sackful of Krystal burgers (another road trip guilty pleasure of mine I didn't discover until moving to the South!).