How to Keep Your Kids Engaged During Travel

February 24, 2024
2 months

As you step onto the plane with your little one, you might notice some apprehensive glances from fellow passengers, fearing the inevitable crying and yelling during the journey. But fret not! We’re here to help you keep your little travelers engaged and content throughout the flight. And you’ll be relieved to know that most of these methods don’t involve excessive screen time since, let’s face it, iPads can run out of battery, right? So, let’s embark on an adventure of creative ways to keep your kids happily engaged, ensuring a tear-free and enjoyable flight for everyone involved! From interactive games to storytelling and travel-themed activities, we’ve got you covered with these kid-approved strategies that are bound to make your family travel experience smoother and more delightful. Bid farewell to boredom and meltdowns as we unveil the secrets to travel success with little ones in tow!

Pre-Trip Preparation

Taking a trip with the kids can be daunting. However, it shouldn’t stop you from having new experiences and exploring unexplored places. In this section, we are sharing the must-follow steps that will make planning easier for you.

Child-Friendly Accommodations and Amenities

The second step is to find kid-friendly accommodation as well as other amenities. Ideally, the hotels and restaurants you choose should have daycare services and a play area, respectively. Moreover, there must be swimming pools and playgrounds around, so your little ones will be busy. Also, it’s recommended to book such places in advance because they are in demand, and you must secure a spot.

Child with mother in swimming pool holiday resort

Transportation Options Suitable for Kids

Kids are quick to get tired, which is why it’s important to choose comfortable transportation options. The buses, trains, and flights must have kid-friendly activities. For instance, some flights offer child seats and priority boarding for people traveling with kids. So, always choose the right transportation that offers an enjoyable and convenient experience.

Pack Smart

Packing for solo trips is so much different than packing for a trip with kids. This is why we recommend smart packing, which has the following must-haves.

Organization is Key: Invest in packing cubes or organizers to keep clothes, accessories, and essentials neat and easily accessible. This will save time and prevent frantic searches through a messy suitcase.

Versatile Clothing: Opt for versatile and mix-and-match clothing items that can create multiple outfits. Neutral colors and layering pieces work wonders to maximize your wardrobe options.

Comfortable Shoes: Pack comfortable and durable shoes suitable for walking and exploring. Consider versatile styles that can be dressed up or down for various occasions.

Minimal Toiletries: Streamline your toiletries by packing travel-sized items or using reusable containers. Remember, most accommodations provide basic toiletries, saving space in your bag.

Essential Electronics: Bring essential electronics like your smartphone, charger, power bank, and a universal adapter to stay connected and capture memories on the go.

Packing For Holiday

Travel Documents: Keep your travel documents, such as passport, ID, tickets, and travel insurance, organized in a secure and easily accessible wallet or pouch.

First-Aid Kit: Carry a compact first-aid kit with basic medical supplies like band-aids, pain relievers, antiseptic wipes, and any personal medications you may need.

Reusable Water Bottle: Stay hydrated during your travels by carrying a reusable water bottle. Refill it at water fountains or restaurants to save money and reduce plastic waste.

Travel Apps: Download useful travel apps for navigation, language translation, currency conversion, and local recommendations. These apps can be invaluable during your solo adventure.

Emergency Cash: Keep a small amount of emergency cash separate from your main wallet, in case of unforeseen situations like lost cards or limited ATM access.

A beautiful young girl in a white casual suit sits on the bed and uses a tablet

Travel Insurance: Secure travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and travel disruptions. Solo travelers should have comprehensive coverage for peace of mind.

A Positive Attitude: Most importantly, pack a positive attitude and an open mind. Solo trips offer unique opportunities for self-discovery and meeting new people. Embrace the adventure with optimism and curiosity.

With smart packing and these essential must-haves, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate the joys of solo travel and create cherished memories along the way. Enjoy the freedom, exploration, and self-discovery that come with the solo traveler’s journey!

Snacks and Drinks for the Journey

If you have kids, you know that they will miss the one thing they cannot have. For instance, if you don’t bring water to the park, it will be the first thing they ask before going to the swings. This is why it’s better to pack snacks and drinks for them. The snacks will keep them well-fed, so pack some granola bars, sandwiches, cheese, and fruit. In addition, don’t forget to bring a water bottle and a few juice boxes.

Sandwiches fruits and vegetables in food box backpack on old wooden background Concept of child eating at school Top view Flat lay

Entertainment Essentials

It can be challenging to keep your little ones occupied, so it’s important to plan the entertainment essentials in advance. You should pack some games and books – they must be age-appropriate. This will ensure that they are fully engaged.

  1. Age-Appropriate Games and Books:

Choose games and books that match your child’s age and interests. Interactive games like travel-sized board games, coloring books, and storybooks can work wonders in keeping them entertained.

  1. Travel Activity Kits:

Prepare travel activity kits customized for each child, containing their favorite toys, puzzles, and small crafts. These kits can be delightful surprises during the journey.

  1. Screen-Free Options:

While electronic games can be handy, it’s essential to limit screen time. Encourage your kids to interact with the environment and engage in imaginative play during the trip.

  1. Music and Audio Books:

Create a playlist of their favorite songs or audiobooks to listen to during the journey. Music and storytelling can be soothing and enjoyable for young travelers.

Little child using laptop on train
  1. Snacks and Treats:

Pack some special snacks or treats that they can look forward to during the trip. Be mindful of any allergies or dietary restrictions.

  1. Busy Bags:

Prepare “busy bags” filled with small toys, stickers, and activities that can be easily accessed during the flight. These bags will keep them entertained while you attend to other aspects of travel.

  1. Interactive Gadgets:

Bring along interactive gadgets like magnetic drawing boards, travel-size puzzles, or building blocks. These toys can keep kids engaged and stimulate their creativity.

  1. Extra Batteries and Chargers:

If you plan to bring electronic games or devices, ensure you have extra batteries and chargers readily available. Running out of battery power mid-flight can lead to unwanted tantrums.

  1. Travel-Friendly Apps:

If you choose to use electronic devices, download educational or age-appropriate apps that promote learning and creativity. Some apps offer interactive stories or games suitable for kids on the go.

  1. Surprise Activities:

Prepare some surprise activities or small gifts that you can reveal during the trip. New items can provide excitement and keep the journey fun and fresh.

  1. Audio Books or Podcasts:

If your kids are a little older (six to ten years old), you can opt for audiobooks. The audiobooks will keep your kids engaged and happy for a long time, and you can even discuss the books to keep each other busy. In addition, audiobooks help improve your kid’s vocabulary and communication skills. Also, when kids listen to the stories, it helps boost their imagination and creative thinking skills.

  1. Road Trip Games:

There is nothing better than games to keep your kids engaged, and there are some road trip games that you can try, especially if you are traveling by car. For instance, you can play “I Spy,” in which the kids have to describe something that they are seeing, and the other people have to guess it. Some other games include 20 Questions and the Alphabet Game. With the latter, the players must find a word with the first letter of the object that they can see on the road.

  1. Printable Scavenger Hunts or Bingo Cards:

One of the interactive ways to keep the kids engaged is to use printable bingo cards and scavenger hunts. There are games available online, and you can print them. These games can be downloaded according to the destination. For instance, if you are traveling to Yellowstone, print the scavenger hunt or bingo cards for Yellowstone, so your kids can check out the surroundings and point them. In fact, to make the experience more unique, you can set up new rules, so your kids will be busy for a longer time. That’s because they will need time to memorize the rules!

  1. Storytelling or Improvised Plays:

Your kids need to indulge in imaginative and creative activities to keep them engaged, which is why we recommend storytelling or plays. Your kids can take turns in telling and improvising the stories. In fact, kids can act on their favorite character, which will keep them engaged.

  1. Choose a Craft Pack:

Nothing is better than killing two birds with one stone, and this activity is the perfect example. You can create a craft pack with some crayons and coloring books, so your kids can brush up their fine motor skills. If you have more than one kid, make sure you’ve got a separate craft pack for each kid so there are no fights.

  1. Use the Gel Stickers:

The window gel stickers are perfect for traveling, irrespective if you are traveling by car, plane, or train. These stickers are available in different geometric shapes, cartoon characters, flowers, and animals, which will keep little kids engaged. These stickers have a gel material, which sticks to the window glass without leaving behind sticky residue. Also, they are reusable, so you can get the worth of your money.

Happy family running or flying toys on sunset beach or ocean in freedom holiday energy bonding or travel playing fun Sea children or kids with airplane interracial parents or aeroplane by nature
  1. Give Them a Camera: 

If you have a small digital or a polaroid camera, hand it over to your kids. The kids are attracted to everything while traveling to a new place, so they will be busy taking pictures. Once they are done taking pictures, you can even talk to them about the pictures to understand what caught their attention. All in all, it will keep them busy, and you will have something to talk about.

  1. Beach Activities and Water Sports:

Kids love playing with sand, and it’s recommended you take them to the beach, wherever you are. Let them make sandcastles and swim around in the crystal waters. In addition, you can look for water sports, such as Paddleboarding, kayaking, and snorkeling. These activities will keep them hooked, and they will be able to get Vitamin D while enjoying to the fullest.

  1. Nature Walks, Hiking, and Picnics:

Kids love going to parks, which is why you should make nature walks, picnics, and hiking an important part of the travel itinerary. You have to take them out to scenic areas, such as nature reserves and national parks. This will help them observe wildlife and learn about different ecosystems. The best option is to plan a picnic and make memories as a family.

Mother and her little sons hiking trough forest
  1. Kid-Friendly Museums and Science Centers:

The first option is to look for museums and science centers that will capture the attention of your kids. These venues offer an interactive learning and exploration experience. In addition, these places help spark creativity and curiosity. These kid-friendly science centers and museums also have presentations on art, history, technology, and science, which will keep them engaged.

  1. Animal Encounters and Wildlife Parks:

Kids love animals, and you should surely add some wildlife parks to the list. In addition to wildlife parks, you should visit zoos and aquariums, so you can see different species and learn about them. If there are animal safaris available, you should go there as well because they are more interactive and offer an unforgettable experience.

  1. Local Festivals and Events:

If you are traveling to a new place, it’s important that your kids learn about their culture and history. For this reason, you have to look for the local festivals happening during the time you are visiting. In addition to the local festivals, you can look for street fairs and parades because they are fun and keep the kids immersed.

Group of different ethnic little child raise their hands or cheers together to express happiness and their clothes stain with multicolor after they play with color painting
  1. Historical Sites and Landmarks:

Exploring landmarks and historical sites in a new place is always exciting, and your kids will love it too. Visiting these places will help them learn about new cultures. In addition, they will learn about the historical figures. Most of these historical landmarks have guided tours, so you can get them to make sure your kids get the correct information.

  1. Traditional Crafts or Cooking Classes:

If you want your little ones to learn about the new culture, it’s recommended that you sign them up for traditional crafts and cooking classes. That’s because the tourist destinations have workshops related to local art, such as weaving and pottery. In addition, they can take part in cooking classes to learn how the locals make their native cuisines. These hands-on experiences will keep them engaged for a long time, and they will learn something on the way.

Tips for Smooth and Enjoyable Travel

While we have already shared some tips to keep them engaged during the journey and once you reach the destination, there are some additional tips that will help you create an enjoyable and smooth travel experience for the kids. So, check them out because these tips will make your life a lot easier (you won’t be scared to go on trips anymore!).

  1. Keeping a Positive Attitude

It is normal for you to feel tired while traveling, especially if you’ve got to take care of the kids. However, parents often forget that kids are sensitive to the emotions of adults. This is why you must maintain a positive attitude while traveling because it creates a happy and calm environment. In addition, you have to be a role model for the kids.

So, even if there are some challenging situations during travel, you’ve got to keep the calm and be optimistic. It will not only help you cope with stress, but the overall experience will be more enjoyable as well.

  1. Embracing Unexpected Changes and Delays

Unexpected delays and changes in the plan are common parts of traveling. While it’s easier for adults to handle these changes, the kids often get tired and frustrated. Ranging from road traffic to flight cancellations, you can come across different types of issues. When traveling with kids, it’s important that you keep a positive attitude.

You have to be flexible and patient in these situations. That’s because if you are frustrated, the kids will channel the same energy. So, stay calm and try to plan a backup to keep them engaged through the delays.

  1. Ensuring Sufficient Sleep and Breaks

The kids start being cranky if they miss bedtime or a nap, which is why you have to ensure that everyone is getting sufficient sleep. You have to incorporate nap time during the travel. In fact, if you are traveling by car, you should plan to camp up and rest, so everyone can sleep and recharge.

Little girl sleeping in the airplane
  1. Healthy and Convenient Snack Options

It’s important to have sufficient snacks for the kids while traveling. It’s recommended to choose snacks that your kids love. In addition, the snacks must be non-messy and easy to eat because you don’t want the cleaning job while traveling. The ideal options are energy bars, trail mix, veggies, and fruits. Also, always try to pack healthy snacks because they give them more energy.

  1. Managing Mealtime Disruptions

The mealtime can get disturbed during travel, which is why you have to know how to handle or manage these disruptions. For instance, you can search for the dining options on the route, so you guys can eat even if there are no snacks left. Last but not least, be flexible about meal schedules and don’t mind a few changes in the diet, especially if you are traveling to a new place.

  1. Planning For Downtime and Relaxation

Some downtime and relaxation and essential to keep your kids engaged. You should plan a nap or other quiet activities, such as book-reading and looking out the window for scenic views. The downtime and relaxation will ensure that your kids aren’t tired or overstimulated.

  1. Establishing Rules and Boundaries

Kids need rules, and you’ve got to establish the boundaries and rules before traveling. You’ve got to make these rules and communicate them with your kids calmly. For instance, you can teach them how to behave in public spaces and how it’s important to respect the people around them. It’s recommended that you keep reinforcing these rules to ensure your kids remember them. Lastly, always give them safety instructions, so they can protect themselves if they temporarily get lost.

The bottom line is that we have made traveling with kids too challenging and complicated. As long as you pack some snacks and toys and plan the engaging activities, your travel experience will be fine!

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