How To Keep Kids Happy on Road or Air Travel

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Nadav Levy

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Traveling with kids can be a challenge, and it is essential to make sure that they stay occupied during the course of the voyage. The first thing to remember if you are traveling with kids is to pack food they like. Try to keep it healthy as possible. Pack one or two of their favorite toys, and for bigger kids, pack some electronics as well. Other than these basics, the following are some ideas for keeping kids entertained throughout the trip while making great memories for everyone.

Road Games Are Fun For Everyone

Are you tired of hearing, “Are we there yet?” Are you wondering what you’ll do on the next family road trip to keep the kids and the entire family entertained? I assembled a list of the best road trip games that will make your next trip a breeze.

Read our road games post for hours of fun on the road


Have Entertainment Available

Tablet
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When you’re traveling with kids, keeping them entertained is critical, especially on long flights, waiting at the airport, standing in long lines, or when having a long car ride. It can make the difference between a great trip and a miserable one.
Entertainment doesn’t necessarily mean a smartphone, although a smartphone is a great option when traveling. Depending on their age, here are some great options to consider:

  • Electronics – a phone, music player, tablet are great ways to pass the time.
  • Journal – let them draw or write a travel journal. It’s a great way to enrich the trip and an amazing souvenir.
  • Card and board games – you can buy the games you know and love in traveling versions (small, magnetic, special packaging).
  • Road Trip Games – check out our guide of road trip games you can play when driving or have free time.
  • Dolls they love

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  • Make sure to have chargers, headphones, spare/backup batteries, adaptors.

  • If you take electronics, don't count on WIFI or mobile plans. Make sure to download the apps, music, movies, or TV shows to the device before your trip. You never know when you’ll be without Wi-Fi, and it’s almost guaranteed your kids will desperately need a new app or episode when that happens.

Journal Is A Great Addition To Any Trip

Woman sitting on the grass and writing in her journal
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As mentioned on the “Bring A Car Seat” tip, a journal is a great opportunity to get your older kids involved, learn more, and have more fun.

It’s their choice if they want to buy a physical notebook, write an online document, or blog about it. Some might like to record a short video each day. Give them some time at the end of each day to reflect on the day and talkwrite about their experiences. What they did, what they enjoyed, what did they learned, and maybe where they’re going next.

This journal will also help you if you plan to print a photo book for the trip, which is always fun to have on the shelf and look at once in a while.

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You'll appreciate it when you're home and want to reflect back on your trip, even years later.

Kids Are Great Photographers

A kid taking photograph of a girl
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Kids can bring a whole new perspective to photography and your trip album. It’s not just due to their height, which brings a new perspective; it’s about the way they look at things.
No matter their age, give them a camera, and you’ll be surprised with the results. Give them their own kids’ camera as it will save your battery (which is precious when traveling) and reduce the risk of someone stilling it. Sure, your phone camera is good enough if you don’t have a camera or don’t want to carry one.

Your kids don’t need a fancy DSLR, and they’ll be just as happy with a simple camera or even durable kids’ point-and-shoot camera.

Not only will you get nice pictures for your album, but you’ll also find that kids enjoy taking pictures and learn more about the environment since they focus better on things around them as they search for the perfect picture.

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If they are too young, hold the camera and let them press the shutter or use a tripod.

Make Them Partners

Family holding hands walking in a field
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If your kids are large enough, let them help with the planning of the trip. If they’re too small, keep them engaged and explain the journey ahead of time.

Making them partners can help in many ways:

  • It helps them grow and learn responsibility.
  • Read, research, and choose.
  • Learn teamwork.
  • Learn about where they’re going ahead of time, let’s them study about its history, things to do, what to expect.

If your kids are not used to travel, trips have a lot of new things going on. The preparation and the trip can make them feel uncomfortable, which will ruin the trip for everyone.

If they’re too young, go over the trip plan with them. Show them pictures, a map with the trip plan and places you’ll go, explain the agenda at a high level. All these steps will help them know what to expect.

You can even let them prepare their own trip plan using our Trip Planner For Kids, based on the places you discussed. Use it during the trip to let them know where they are according to the plan.

Remember that the airport and the flights, staying in a new “house”, riding a new car and eating new types of food are all part of the plan.

If they’re older, let them pick the activities they want to do, at least for part of the trip. Take this opportunity to go over your expectations for their behavior during the trip.

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Make your kids part of the trip right from the start. It will result in a happier trip for everyone. Give them options of activities to choose from.

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Last update: May 2022

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