Another good thing to have on hand is a portable DVD player. Though I would never advocate routinely parking a child in front of the TV or a video game, on a long trip in a confined space, a good movie can be just the right thing to give a kid a sense of relaxation and security. (Let's face it, Jet Blue and Song have saved many a parent's sanity with their individual TV screens!)
Finally, I always pack plenty of wipes '- kids always seem to be spilling, getting sticky or even car- or airsick. You can really never have too many!
... And for "being there"
I don't mean the swimsuits, ski boots and outfits '- you've of course thought of all of that. I'm talking about having a day-to-day emergency kit for those "Are we there yet?" "I've got nothing to do," "When are we having lunch?" moments. When I arrive at my destination, I pare down the "bag of tricks" to a small day pack, and include just a few toys, lots of wipes and perhaps a small snack or two, to have on hand wherever we are '- poolside, sightseeing, shopping. It's amazing what a hero Mom becomes when she can pull out just the right thing at the right moment!