My family lives 6 hours away. That makes for a long trip when you bring 3 little ones with you. We don't have a DVD player in the van, nor do we want one. Despite other mothers' claims that they are absolutely necessary for everyone's sanity, I've found that they're realy a luxury we can do without. Here's how we do it:
I dig through the house and find a good mix of small toys. I put them together, and pack them into a small bag or back-pack.
See what I found in our junk drawer, toy box and school cupboard?
Of course, there are Barbies. I chose clothes for her that are easy to pull on and off. That minimizes the frustration, and I can avoid crawling into the back of the van to pull up Barbie pants.
Cars for Graedy - they'll keep him occupied for hours.
Of course there are special snacks.
When all else fails, in goes the CD of kids' music. I'm still humming the ABC song to myself.
The goal of the Boredom Buster is to spread the toys out over the trip. I planned on 1 special thing per hour. I kept the pack next to my seat, and held off for as long as I could (which was about 1.5 hours). Then, I throw a new activity into the backseat every hour or so. Small, simple stuff is best, but not too simple or else they'll tire of it.
It works for us! What do you do to make road trips more bearable?