In case you are planning a road trip with your kids, you need to be well prepared and know how to keep them entertained and happy while traveling. Kids get bored quite quickly, so you need an array of toys, games, and activities that will make the trip more enjoyable. In many cases, good music helps a lot too and it is relaxing both for the kids and for the adults, including for the driver without destructing their attention from the road. Before we go on and present you with 11 smart ideas on how to make travel fun for kids, let’s have a look at what is important while traveling with children.
What is important for a safe trip with kids?
It is natural that safety comes first, so you have to take care that your kids have the proper car chairs or booster seats depending on their age. If you are traveling with a baby, make sure that you have sufficient gear to last you the whole trip. You need to take into account feeding, napping, diaper changing. Pack all the necessary items but do not overpack. Be realistic – at the end of the day kids do not need that much stuff as we might think.
Planning the actual route is also of paramount importance. If possible, avoid roads that are too busy so that you can enjoy the trip. It is better to make travel from A to B not too long. You can embark on a road trip with several stops here and there or book a few hotels on your way to your final destination. Take time to enjoy the actual travel.
If you are not using your car, you need to take into account the type of transport. A bus, for example, is not a good idea for babies and younger kids. You will not have that many stops and the chances that your kid gets bored or uncomfortable are higher. The best way to travel long distances with a kid is by plane. Take into account your kids comfort and consider spending a bit more money if need be but make the trip enjoyable for all.
Last but not least, make sure that you have taken all the necessary documents with you, especially if you are traveling abroad. Check the validity of your passports and/or visas (if you need any), make sure that your kids have the necessary vaccines, take more than one credit or debit card with you.
If you want your kids to have fun while on the road you need to take care of two very important things – keep them busy with some activities and keep them well fed. Here are 11 ideas that can help you achieve your ultimate goal and enjoy your trips.
Prepare a snack survival box
Food is essential for a trip, especially for kids. Regardless of their age, all kids love to nibble on something and usually get quite anxious and moody if they are hungry. If you are traveling with a baby, you need to pack formula or appropriate food and make sure that you keep their feeding time.
When you are traveling with bigger kids, you can prepare a snack survival box that will both keep them fed and make them smile. You can take a container with several sections and pack different types of snacks according to your kids’ preferences. It is a good idea to include something salty, something sweet, fruits, vegetables and above all snacks that are not difficult to eat while on the go. If the food does not make too much of crumbles or stains that’s an added bonus. You may need to put the same type of snacks for each kid in order to avoid revelry or someone being offended.
Note that the snack survival box does not replace a proper meal so you may need to stop on the way for lunch or supper if your journey is too long.
Pack a busy bag for each kid
Another essential kit for a fun trip with kids is a toy pack. You can pack a bag with various types of toys and activities to keep your kids busy on the road. Choose several of the things your kids love playing with and include them in the busy bag.
As an idea, the kit can include pencils or crayons and a coloring book, stickers, small toys, simple art and craft materials, travel toys or board games. If you are traveling with more than one kid, it may be smart to pack the same type of toys and activities for each of them. We suggest using cheaper toys that you won’t regret being broken or lost during the trip and that are easy to replace.
You have two options to use the busy bag:
- Hand out the set at the beginning of the travel to each kid and let them browse through it and choose what to play with.
- Keep the travel set with toys with you and offer a different activity every 40-50 minutes or at an interval that you deem right.
Depending on the age and on the personality of your kids, each strategy can be successful. To have a spare plan, you can even prepare a busy box to hand out and keep a few additional toys and activities with you that you can offer at a later stage.
A squishy toy, for example, is a good addition to your travel set as they are loved by children and can help get the anxiety levels under control and calm down the child in an unusual situation such as the trip.
Take their favorite toy or game
Most children have a favorite toy or game that makes them feel well. Do not forget to take that item with you while you are traveling. If your kids’ favorite item is a blanket or a sippy cup, for example, pack that as well.
These toys are important for kids and will keep them busy and calm during the journey. Make sure to have some additional toys or means of entertainment as well.
Make a movie screen for the car
Kids love watching movies and it is one of the easiest ways to keep them occupied. You can make a movie screen for the car and thus keep your child happy while on the go.
One of the hacks you can use is to put your tablet or iPad in a zipper bag and stick it to the back of your seat. Thus, your kid can watch the movie and you do not have to worry that they play with the tablet and may disturb something. This hack is great for toddlers and younger kids but won’t do for older ones as they would insist on playing with the tablet.
Allow them more screen time
We all know that screen time is not the best for our kids and we are looking for alternatives to keep them busy. A mobile device, however, can be your best friend while traveling. You can turn it into a movie screen as suggested above in case you have younger kids or simply allow your kids to play games or watch videos on the smartphone or tablet. You need to make sure that they have no access to uncontrolled websites, though, prior to handing them the device over.
If you are flying, it is a smart move to pay for inflight Wi-Fi and let your kid enjoy games and videos while on the plane. It will be much easier for you as well and the investment will pay back.
Take a magnet board game with you
Board games are great fun for the entire family. You can spend hours playing checkers or any other game. Nowadays, there are magnet board games that are made just for travel. They help the figures stay safely attached to the board and allow you to play safely even while moving. As there is a great variety of such games, including hangman, your kids can enjoy various options throughout the journey. The bonus is that these board games are usually quite compact unlike their normal counterparts and won’t take too much space when you pack them. This makes them perfect for any kind of travel, including by plane where you have restricted luggage.
Get your kids wireless headphones
Wireless Bluetooth headphones are one of the best travel gadgets you can get your kids. They will allow them to listen to music, watch their favorite cartoon or play a game without disturbing the rest of the travelers. Headphones are practical not only for plane or bus journeys but also in the car. They can help the kid forget that they are traveling and let them totally emerge in the game or movie and thus the time will fly easier for them.
Let them read a book
Reading a book is a great way to make travel time fun. Choose a book that your kids love and let them read a certain number of chapters or pages, depending on their age. If you are traveling with more than one kid, you can turn reading into a game and check who will read more pages for 20 minutes, for example.
If you are traveling with an infant or toddler, you should be the one doing the reading but it will still be great fun for the little ones.
Write or draw a story for your travel
You can ask your kids to make a diary for their travel. Depending on their age, you can make them write or draw a story of their trip and everything that they saw or liked or even disliked about the journey. You can encourage them to give ideas about what can be done better next time. Thus, they will feel involved in the entire process and anticipate the next trip.
Film a movie
Another alternative to documenting your trip is to film a movie about it. You can ask your kids to use their tablets or smartphones (or yours if they don’t have any) to record a movie telling the story of your travel.
Note, that this should not be a simple video but they need to think of a scenario and roles in order to make it more challenging for them. You can add requirements in accordance with their age. This will surely keep them busy on the road and you will also have a great time afterwards watching the movie.
Play a game
Another great option to make travel fun is by playing a game together. You can choose between different games such as “I see something that starts with…”, or name all words starting with a given letter or all yellow objects or turn it into a competition who will see a bird or other object first. There is no end to your creativity in such a situation and you can stimulate your kids to suggest games as well.
Traveling with kids can be fun if you plan it properly. Make a list of all the things you need to take with you and check that they are in the luggage before you set foot on the road. Don’t forget that toys can play an educational role as well in addition to being a great way to have fun during trips. Check our toys section for ideas what to include in your travel kit to keep your kids entertained while traveling.