Organising a road trip or long haul flight can be so exciting! Something families look forward to each summer. Visiting bucket list locations and making amazing memories with your kids. But many dread the travel to and from these wonderful locations.
We all know keeping kids entertained any day can be hard work, but it’s even harder when you are confined to a small space. That’s why we are sharing our list of essential things to pack for a road trip, plane journey, train trip etc!
Olivia is nearly 7 and is a bit of a book worm, so keeping her busy is not too hard most of the time. But when we travel in the car for up to 10 hours it can be slightly more tricky.
We find letting her have her own travel kit within easy reach really helps keep her happy and entertained. Olivia has her own pretty rucksack (kindly bought by her Auntie and Uncle for our travelling) that we fill with fun and entertaining items. It’s not too heavy so she is able to carry it herself, enabling her to bring it into service stations, on trains and other forms of transport.
In our Travel Kit
Sticker and Activity Books
I should have shares in The Works! I buy so many books from them, especially educational sticker and activity books. They are fun and interactive, perfect to keep little ones busy on travel days. As well as fun ones, you can regularly pick up educational ones which mean they are learning without knowing it. They are also easy to use in the car and other small spaces and keep Olivia entertained for the trip, as well as for several days afterwards.
There are loads of great kids magazines in the shops these days. Something different to read, usually having activities inside and those annoying toys that kids always love on the front. Olivia loves a trip to the shops to pick a couple of these to go in her bag.
Depending on the age of your child and how your travelling, a good book can keep a child entertained for some time. As mentioned earlier, Olivia loves books and is a great reader, so I always make sure I pack several reading books both fiction and non-fiction. I also make sure there are plenty of bookmarks in the car – we’ve had plenty of books stuffed with tissues and anything else that came to hand!
Olivia has a friendship bracelet maker traveller kit. It has a drawer with all the accessories needed. It is the perfect size for using in the car, fits perfectly on her lap and allows her to spend some time making bracelets in the car while we travel.
Colouring and Drawing Books
Colouring and drawing books along with a nice pack of pencils, rubber and sharpener always goes down well.
There are many travel games you can get like Smart Games Temple Trap, which is single-player and great for the car. For us, as we generally drive separately and Olivia travels in the car with just me, we can’t play wonderful games like top trumps and snap, but there are plenty of other games you can play. We play verbal games such as I spy, number plate ABC, opposites, guess the animal and yes/no game. We also use Articulate cards, with Olivia trying to describe the words while I try to guess. Simple games like these can make an hour pass by quickly.
Headphones are great for travelling. We have foldable headphones which Olivia keeps in her bag and can be used with tablets and phones to watch movies, play apps, listen to audio or music. If you’re worried about how loud they may be, you can buy child-safe headphones which limit max volume.
Audiobooks are a great option if your child isn’t quite reading yet, or if they get sick while reading in the car. They are great for all ages and can be either listened to by everyone in the car or on headphones. We find it allows Olivia to sit back and relax. Look out the window and just listen. It gives her eyes a break from close up activities. Sometimes she even falls asleep.
George also likes to listen to audiobooks while he’s driving, and has found his audible subscription invaluable.
Now we know this is not for everyone but an iPad, pre-loaded with movies, documentaries, Netflix and educational apps is great for entertaining kids of all ages. It comes in handy if I need a break from all the talking or if we are driving through a city and need to concentrate slightly more. Olivia knows how to set it up in the mount with her headphones attached and it keeps her quiet for a good hour or two. It also has a kindle app so that she can read.
Amazon Fire for Kids Unlimited
Again I know not its not everyone’s choice. The Amazon Fire for Kids is great as it is loaded with age-appropriate apps, tv, movies and games. It also has the added benefit that you can set a goal of educational activities to complete before they get to have free reign of the apps. We also had to make use of the 2-year, no-quibble guarantee recently and received a replacement tablet the next day.
Food can be a lifesaver on a road trip. We always pack plenty of snacks to give Olivia throughout the journey to help break up activities and take her mind off the journey time. We try to make sure it’s not too messy, otherwise, I will be cleaning the car out the other end! Fruit, crisps, cereal bars, raisins, cucumber, sandwiches etc. We do pack drinks but try to keep it to a minimum otherwise we would be stopping every half hour.
Wipes are a must along with the snacks as children can easily clean themselves up after eating. If they are travel sick its an easy way to clean up. You can always use them to refresh yourself when you stop for breaks or if you get a bit hot.
We always ensure there is a bag in the car which is kept in the back to put rubbish in and in case of any travel sickness emergencies.
We all have our favourite songs, even the little ones. We let Olivia make her own playlists, and we have a family playlist that we all add songs to. Singing along together in the car can be great fun. You can also allow them to listen to music on headphones.
Top Tip – Take breaks
Make sure you take breaks and allow children time to run around. If there is not much space to run then play a simple game of Simon Says or the Bean game to get them jumping up and down and running on the spot to use some of the energy.
However, if on a plane or a train this is not always possible. Just remember you’re not alone, there will be plenty of other families in the same situation. Just breathe and try another activity or game.
Enjoy and Make Memories
If you plan ahead and make sure you have plenty of activities you can keep children entertained for hours without too many complaints, taking the stress out of the journey.
Do you have any tips for keeping your kids entertained while travelling? Please share below or let us know on social media.