Traveling with kids is a challenge for all families. I know. Bored kids will nag, complain and whine to the point that people around them (normally mom or dad) feel like bailing ship- or jumping from the moving vehicle.
To make sure that doesn’t happen, and to allow you and other fellow passengers to enjoy your next long-distance trip, I’ve included some useful tips to keep the kids busy and entertained while traveling. So put these tips to use next time you’re traveling via plane, train, bus or my favorite mode of travel- road trips.
With cartoons and/or movies
When my kids were younger, my husband and I traveled with a DVD player and movies. Now, for long road trips, we make sure to rent a vehicle with an entertainment system and we stock up on movies at various Redbox locations across the country. It’s handy because you don’t need to return your movie to the location it was rented at. So if we pick up a movie in Ohio and drop it off in Iowa, we’re charged the same low rental fee.
We also travel with tablets, smart phones and iPads loaded with the Netflix and Hulu apps so we can watch our favorite shows on the go. Obviously, this works best when free Wi-Fi is available, so it’s particularly helpful in passing time during long layovers or hotel stays.
With some books
If you prefer to unplug, consider picking up some new books for your child to read on the go. Of course, this only works when your children are able to read independently. If they’re not reading yet, you can load your phone or table with audio books to help them enjoy the trip and pass time, or you can read to them.
The homeschool mom in me could never resist a stop at the library before my family set off on a trip. I always picked up books for my kids to read about the destination we were planning to visit. I speak from experience when I tell you that a stack of reading material can definitely come in handy when you’re stuck on the George Washington Bridge heading into or away from NYC.
With something that might improve their skills
Another activity that can also occupy kids’ time is to give them something to do that will improve their skills. For instance, a book of simple math problems, a book of word searches, or a blank notebook for drawing or journaling about the trip can keep your kids’ occupied and improve their skills.
With some quality sleeping time
When my kids were babies and wouldn’t go to sleep, I learned a quick drive around the block did wonders to lulling them to sleep. The same holds true with teenagers. One of the easiest ways to pass time on a trip is to spend time sleeping. Before your next trip, invest in some cute travel blankets and pillows and send your kids off to dreamland. You can pick these items up and more at Kohl’s, plus you can save during their massive sales, promo codes and deals. I’ve learned those items aren’t just for kids. It’s amazing how much more comfortable a long flight is when I’m equipped with a travel size blanket and travel pillow.
I don’t go anywhere without a deck of cards. These have come in handy time and again and have made my kids very popular on more than one occasion. Our deck of cards has come in handy on a cruise, when we were stuck at the airport due to a cancelled flight and to pass time in a hotel or vacation rental.
In addition to a deck of cards, we also have a selection of travel games- Scrabble, Battleship and Tic Tac Toe. But your games don’t need to be elaborate. You can play simple “I Spy” games or memory games.
When traveling long distances with kids (or without), it’s important to remember that there will be moments that aren’t fun and must be endured, but family travel is a great bonding experience.
How do you keep your kids busy when traveling?