My first piece of advice would be to leave close to bedtime and drive through the night.
That wasn't an option with this trip, and even though my baby took several good naps (more than she would at home), being in the car alllll day was (surprise!) not all that fun.
A few days before we left I decided I'd get started on the busy box I picked for the Pinterest challenge, but then I quickly realized that I didn't have the time or materials to make most of the things on that particular list before our trip... I did have pipe cleaners and a puffs container though, so I put them together for "Pipe Cleaners in a Bottle."
If Elle could give an award for best roadtrip "toy" I'm sure she'd pick the pipe cleaners, hands down. She liked pulling them out, putting them back in, and bending them. She loved handing them to me so that I could hang them off of my glasses/nose/ears and would giggle up a storm while grabbing them back.
So I give an A+ to "Pipe Cleaners in a Bottle." Cheap, very low effort, virtually indestructible, and my brother's cats thoroughly enjoyed batting them around. The only cons I can think of are the sharp ends (I twisted those over and didn't have any problems), and once we took them out of the car, our pipe cleaners seemed to spread to every corner of the house.
texture book to bring along in the car. This requires considerably more effort than "Pipe Cleaners in a Bottle," but if you have some supplies on hand it's not difficult to throw together.
Step 1. Gather up materials with different textures.
I already had all of these things at home, but the possibilities are endless as far as what you put on the pages.
Step 2. Cut pages out of old cereal/snack boxes.
I used my Cricut machine to get the scalloped edges and then glued scrapbook paper on the fronts.
Step 3. Glue your objects on to the pages. Use the strongest glue possible if you have a destructo baby like mine.
Step 4. Hole punch the top of the pages.
Step 5. Tie together with string. Voila!
You may have guessed from the note in Step 3 that my baby girl set out to destroy this texture book. She made quick work of ripping off the fuzzy pompoms, the bubble wrap, and even a couple of the shiny hearts. I hot glued everything except for the foam stickers, and the only page that is still completely intact is the one with the fabric flowers. Maybe superglue would've been better. At the time, I was just happy that it held her interest for more than 5 minutes.
Other tried and true activities:
*Food, glorious food
*And when things got a little ugly that last hour and she couldn't be consoled, I gave her my glasses...even though I can't see without them. She went from screaming to asleep within a few minute's time. Worth it. ;)