Kids are always excited for the destination of a trip — the theme-park roller coasters or playing at the beach. But how do you handle them during the not-so-fun parts of the vacation? What about the long road trip to get to that beach, plane delays or packing their suitcases?
Here are some tips to teach your kids to love all the aspects of traveling — even the less entertaining ones.
Being Patient at the Airport
Waiting at the airport is always tedious, especially if your flight gets delayed. How do you keep the kids entertained if you’re sitting there for hours on end?
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to entertain kids of all ages. A popular and universal way is reading. Get kids into a good book they can be immersed in for awhile. Devices like tablets or portable DVD players can also keep kids engaged.
A deck of cards provides kids with endless games to play, and it’s small and easy to throw in a carry-on bag. For younger kids, bring toys like brainteaser puzzles, finger puppets or coloring books.
There’s only a limited amount of things you’ll have room for if you want to bring them all in your carry-on bag, so pack wisely. Make sure you bring activities that will keep your kids entertained for long periods of time — but won’t take up too much space.
Regardless of if the reason for packing is because you’re moving or going on a trip, packing is still something children don’t like to do. Try making packing a game, like seeing who can get done the fastest. This works best if you have multiple children, or they can compete against the parents.
Give a little reward for the fastest packing, too — but your kids will only get that reward if the packing is done neatly and if the bag is filled with stuff they need, not just toys.
Music also helps move packing along. It can be a big family party with singing and dancing. Turning it into a fun event makes children actually want to do it instead of seeing it as a chore.
Moving boxes aren’t the only thing you can color on and decorate, either. Try getting some plain luggage tags and let your kids decorate their own. They’ll be excited to try and spot which bag is theirs after their flight or when they get to pull it out of the car.
Trapped in a small space for hours on end — without the novelty of the mode of transportation being something cool and exciting like flying can be — can make road trips challenging with kids. Fear not, though, because there are things to keep you from hearing, “Are we there yet?” every five minutes.
Once again, games are always a good choice. Try playing “I Spy” with things you see out the window. For example, see how many different states you can find on cars’ license plates.
If you don’t have a route for your trip picked out, try one that’s tried and proven to be great. You can also map out places you want to stop at and plan a route through those locations. Look up quick little side destinations the kids will enjoy to visit along the way and break up the monotony of driving.
When all else fails, books, tablets and portable DVD players will almost always keep a kid entertained. Try finding material that’s relevant to the place you’re going so they can learn more about it and get even more excited to visit.
Unfortunately, if there’s bad weather, it means potentially getting stuck in your “home away from home” for a day or so. For starters, try and find a rental home that has activities for children, as well as adults such as an indoor pool. It’s an easy way for kids to be entertained, and you can sit back and lounge for a bit while you watch them.
Bring some board games or buy some if there’s some sort of department store around. Things like Uno, a cloth checkerboard, dominoes or memory games are small enough to fit in a carry on. Places like Walmart and Target also sell little travel versions of popular games, like Chinese checkers. A small Lego set is even a good idea for some hands-on activity.
If the rental home that you chose already has some of these games – score! Looks like you already are winning. If not, and you don’t feel like spending the money, you are not totally out of luck! Check around for a notepad or scrap pieces of paper you can have your kids draw or play a little informal game of Pictionary. Another option? Tear pieces off of the notepad and use them as clues for charades.
Vacation homes are also the perfect place for a blanket fort because they can sometimes already have blankets and pillows stocked away for guests. If you know your kid’s would enjoy an activity like this, check with the renter to see if they already have these supplies at the home for you. If so, build a fort between the beds, or even cozy up on the floor in a mound of pillows. Your kids can have an adventure using their imagination, or they can hunker down with a book.
Traveling with kids doesn’t have to be terrible. Help keep them entertained and they’ll realize all parts of traveling can be fun — not just getting to the destination!
Kacey Mya Bradley is a lifestyle blogger for “The Drifter Collective.” Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.
The Drifter Collective: An eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us.