The MyBrownBaby/Random House/Fodors “Road Trip Survival Kit” Giveaway ($300 Value!)

My parents didn’t take my brother and I on a lot of vacations when we were little—money was short, vacation time was hard to come by, they didn’t like plane rides and driving long distances wasn’t exactly on their list of favorite things to do. I think I can count on one hand how many vacays I had as a child; all of them, save for one, involved really long car rides to the South. Mommy would pack a cooler full of sandwiches and snacks, a few jars of water and homemade punch and a few diet Tab sodas for herself. And we would straight-shoot it from Long Island to wherever, windows up, cigarette smoke choking my brother and I near to death (both my parents were smokers), mostly in silence—or with my brother and I slap boxing in the back seat when my dad wasn’t giving us the stink eye from the rearview mirror. Somewhere deep in the recesses of the back of my mind, I remember a jar—one that stood in as an alternative to stopping at gas station bathrooms. Yeah. Let’s just say Daddy didn’t believe in making a whole lot of stops. I don’t know, maybe he thought it wasn’t safe for a car full of black folk to stop at random gas stations in the South. Or maybe he was just driving to get where he was going. I think that’s where I get my “I’m driving to get where I’m going” verve from. Though I leave the jars at home.

Ahem. I digress.

Nick and I are a bit more adventurous with our family vacations; planes are usually involved, but we think nothing of piling the girls into the car and driving to Hilton Head, St. Simon’s Island and Savannah for a few days on the beach and some sightseeing. The kids already are back at school, but heck, it’s the middle of August and I think we have one more last summer hurrah in us. We could go somewhere close and easy to get to—maybe a long weekend visit to my Dad’s up in Virginia, or a quick ride over to Chattanooga, TN, or Memphis, where there’s some cute kids’ activities to get into and decent family-friendly restaurants to eat at. I’ve been thumbing through 535 Best Beaches In the U.S., Caribbean, and Mexico, a new book by Fodors, for some quick getaways that we can take with the girlpies. Maybe we could hop over to St. Helena Island to visit the Penn Center Historic District, home to the South’s first school for freed slaves. Or maybe we could go to Cumberland Island here on the coast of Georgia—see if we can spot some of the wild horses that roam free on the island’s undeveloped, pristine beaches.

If we do choose to do a last summer getaway, I’m sure I will pack sandwiches. A few snacks. A drink or two. Definitely no jar. (Ahem.) Definitely a few books on tape, my girls’ new obsession after Mari listened to a few on her great adventure with her girlfriends to camp this summer.

Got a last, quick summer vacay in you? If so, I’ve got you covered in this quickie MyBrownBaby “Road Trip Survival Kit” giveaway. I’ve teamed with Random House to give one lucky reader a grab bag of everything a mom needs for a stress-free road trip with your kids, including books for both the grown-ups and kids in the car, audio books great for the whole family’s listening pleasure, backseat tips and car games from the experts at Fodor’s and a plethora of other goodies for all ages. Here’s what’s in the “Road Trip Survival Kit”:

Audio Books

HOME by Toni Morrison
THE MIGHTY MISS MALONE by Christopher Paul Curtis
CHOMP, by Carl Hiaasen
BRINGING UP BÉBÉ, by Pamela Druckerman

Hardcover Books

CROW by Barbara Wright
A BALL FOR DAISY by Chris Raschka
CALICO JOE by John Grisham

Paperback Books

MAINE by Courtney Sullivan
500 BEST BEACHES by Fodor’s Travel


“Have Good Nights” Activity Book
Recess Reader Magazine
Beach Balls
Fodor’s Family Travel Tips for Summer Road Trips
Living Language flashcards for learning ‘summer words’ in different languages.

That’s a book and travel pack worth a whopping $300! Want in on this super easy, super awesome “Road Trip Survival Kit” giveaway? It’s easy peasy. Enter to win via the Rafflecopter below. Just follow the directions and you’re totally in there.

This contest ends at midnight on Monday, August 20th. I’ll personally fulfill the prize, but you can win only if you enter via the Rafflecopter contest app below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. My grandparents used to pull the “jar” thing with me, too. I would say how terrible that is, but I guess making my kids use a travel potty inside the van really isn’t all that different! Georgia never changes, I suppose.

  2. My husband is from Charleston and he and his family DO NOT believe in plane rides either. They drive everywhere! When our twins were little, I remember driving down 95 toward SC listening to seemingly endless screaming until they fell asleep somewhere in northern VA. I’m now looking into taking a family trip to Puerto Rico (can’t drive there!) and my husband keeps trying to drop little “subtle” hints which to me say “I really don’t want to fly!”

  3. please enter me in this contest, i never listened to an audio book, so this would be great

  4. I do not like to drive once i became a wife and a mom but traveling to TN to be my sister is long but worth the visit.

  5. My memories of family trips were all great times. My parents (especially Dad) always took great pride in taking us to cities where we could go to museums and see education sites. The funny thing about it, all though my brother and I didn’t complain about it, all we really cared about was when can we get to the hotel pool!!! So often now, Dad will ask, remember when we saw…”XYZ” place on vacation?? I don’t have the heart to tell him, I really don’t remember so I just play along! “Yeah Dad, that was great!!”

  6. I’m the queen of road trips, lol. I think nothing of loading up the girls, books, a portable dvd players & hitting the road. I usually make a trip out of the trip:) Depending on what direction we’re headed, I stop & sight see. We stop at farms & do a little fruit & veggie picking. Stop at landmarks. Anything to keep the kids engaged & exposed to different things. We would thoroughly enjoy these on our next road trip or just because:)

  7. My family loves traveling to the beach to splash in the water and soak up some sun. These audio books would be perfect for the car rides!

  8. My son doesn’t return to school until September so I will be on vacation during the last week of August … thinking of taking a train trip somewhere … these prizes will come in handy!

  9. All of our family lived up north, so we didn’t even have the “down south” trips when I was a kid! My son, on the other hand, has relatives everywhere (including overseas). We went to Washington, DC last year and had a blast!

  10. The Mathis Clan of Dublin, Ga. held it’s 2010 bienniel family reunion in Savannah, Ga. So my Maryland-based clan hopped in the van and drove down 95, meeting up in a big ole house with my parents and my brother and his two kids. As a child, however, I most remember travelling by car up to Connecticut to see relatives on my Dad’s side. I remember that being the farthest I had ever travelled and so always viewed those relatives as exotic and cool. No jars for us, but there were some stops on the side of the road for my brothers.

  11. As a child, my family took a trip across TX to visit my grandparents every 4 years. Being stuck in a car for 13 hours with my 5 sibilings was no fun. My children have already been on more trips at the age of 3 than I did my entire child hood.

  12. As I grew up in the Caribbean, there were very little road trips and family vacations were all plane rides. Thus, I’ve become extremely spoiled when it comes to road trips, simply put I HATE THEM! However, my hubby and I ensure our beautiful girls, ages 16 and 7, do experience family vacations. In fact, we just had our very first road trip to “down south” for a long weekend in NC (we live in MD) and last month we headed to Puerto Rico for a week. The road trip to NC wasn’t so bad but I’m not in a rush to do it again either. That being said, I love exposing our girls to different experiences. Family vacations are a definite must do in our household!

  13. haha, the Jar! We are a road trip family and we (depending on what time and where we are) will stop on the side of the road and squat. I don’t think that’s any worse than the jar, except the jar stays in the car where as squatting is outside of the car and you have the chance to wipe, LOL!

    We just moved from the midwest (WI) to the south (TX) and that was a 24 hour ride with 3 kiddos (11,6,5) it wasn’t as bad as I thought it could have been, besides the fact that I got 3 hours of sleep during that 24 hours!

  14. I’m from Boston and now live in Atlanta. the past two Christmas’ have been hard because my sig. other and children live and work there while I live and work here with the other two. This past Christmas, I drove sixteen hours straight to be with them for the holiday. the children were surprised and the baby (2.5 now) was exstactic to see her family. My special needs son also got to see his grandmother and aunts. We spent the Christmas and New Year with them. the hardest thing was driving back alone with them, it was obvious that they felt a little empty because their sib’s cousins etc. were not with them. After 22 hours, my son and daughter both were asking could they go in the car and drive to Boston to see dad. This is my fav. vacation because not only did I drive alone with them, they remembered every detail that made this trip special. When school let out, my son asks, “we go Boston?” That’s how good that trip was. ~ Thanks!

  15. Sometimes I think I’m in need of a therapist’s couch to deal with my all my issues surrounding my sad one time ride to hot M-I-crooked letter… my parents divorced right after that one so that was the end of our family road trips. I’m proud that my husband and I can give our babies that experience. It is neccessary for well rounded development. I wish all children in urban areas could experience those get aways & exposure. Wonderful post!

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