We are planning on a long, long drive to visit family. Kids are 10, 8, 7. Obviously we will allow them to take tablets but we need other ideas to keep them amused, happy and comfortable. - Brie
If they are usually happy with a tablet in the car does that mean that they can also read in the car? If you have kids that can read in the car, let them read. If you are driving at night, they can use a book light or headlamp. Regardless, I think a key purchase is a tablet holder, to avoid "vulture posture".
Other posture-savers are the kid audiobooks you can borrow from the library or get online. The Magic Tree House (with soothing Mary Pope Osborne narrating), Clementine, Ramona, Judy Moody and Harry Potter are all good bets. It's a good idea to pick books that the adults will also like.
On to podcasts, another form of entertainment for the whole family. The Best Quiz Ever, LeVar Burton Reads, Wondery's Imagined Life and The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian are popular choices for both kids and kidults.
Some dedicated parents make game binders for their kids on long road trips. You can find travel bingo printables and all sorts of other activities online - a map to follow along the route, mazes, mad libs games, connect the dots ... Anything your kids enjoy will work well. If you place them in a binder and use whiteboard markers, they can be wiped off and reused. In general, having good maps of the trip is useful and gets children engaged. You can even get them to plan which exits to take for petrol, snacks, bathroom breaks, whatever.
I spoke to a parent who's had an activity bag in her car since her kid was a toddler. It has Yahtzee, colouring books, sticker books, reading books, notepads with ink pens for drawing or writing (for their made up version of Pictionary where they just draw whatever comes to mind and the other has to guess what the picture is). I Spy-type books and games are goodies, too. If you want to be the best parent ever, give the kids a new bag of activities every day for an element of excitement, delayed gratification and, let's face it, bribery.
For electronics, bring a couple of movies and headphones for each child, a godsend for travelling parents. You could also download a couple of games that aren't going to frustrate your kids. Basically, come up with an assortment of portable toys or activities of varying degrees of mental stimulation to keep them occupied - and don't rely too heavily on the screens. Good luck!