It seems that travel with kids have changed a lot since I was small, mostly for the better. I remember being carried to the car in my PJ’s in the middle of the night and laid down on the back seat to go back to sleep without seatbelts, yes I am that old!
I love that fact that there are lots of gadgets and technology to make traveling easier, but I also like getting the kids to unplug and communicate too. For me it is all about balance and a good trip includes both.
There are some things that are essential for every trip that we take and make life so much easier for me as a mum, but also make my children’s time so much more comfortable.
Top tips for travelling with kids
Embrace technology. We recently did a 15 hour drive to France and it would have been much more painful for everyone involved without our gadgets. The ability to stream to a tablet or download whilst travelling transforms journeys. We love that we can download a whole host of their favourite Disney content when we’re in the UK, and can take those classics with our DisneyLife app everywhere. The boys can watch what they want for their varied library of content, whether it be a movie or a series. The mobile home we stayed in didn’t have a TV, but that was no issue at all with as we’d pre-downloaded a load of their Disney favourites before our trip and we would spend the rainy nights watching family movies.
Travel with a companion. Make sure that your kids take their favourite soft toy with them or a comforter. It can be disconcerting to be in a new place and having something familiar is very comforting. Maxi travels with Simba and Mini with Red Bear. Both of the boys are at the stage where their softies do not come out during the day with us, but they stay on their beds for them to return to each night. They also take them on the plane or in the car too.
Travel activity packs. When my boys were younger I used to give them a travel pack for long journeys which included small toys. I would always ask for a spare activity pack when we ate out as they make great travel competitions as does mess free painting kits! Small pots of homemade playdough are great too and make sure you keep all those freebies from magazines and comics on the weeks before you travel.
Memory games. I think this is my favorite of all, games that do not require pen, paper or anything other than just a person such as eye spy (colours for younger children and letters for older kids), I’m thinking of a country beginning with ……., I’m thinking of an animal….. I’m thinking of a Disney Film (with this one you get to ask the person a question, but they can only answer with yes or no), Eat the alphabet (each person takes a turn listing what they would eat from a – z and then passes it on. The next person has to add theirs and also recite all the previous ones too), The Alphabet Game (tThe alphabet has lots of possibilities for games! My boys love Star Wars ABCs – Anankin, Boba Fett, Clone Wars, Droid, etc. You could also do places, Disney characters, foods, animals, kids’ names, etc.), Name that tune (people get three tries at naming the tune you are humming or whistling), Opposites. (the opposite of short is tall and the opposite of big is small etc), and Joint story (this is a great one because you can make it as long or short as you want! Start by telling just part of a story, and then have the next person tell the next part. Cut them off, and have the next person tell the next part, and so on).
Maps. My boys love maps, we often print out a route planner of where we are going for them to follow the route themselves as we go along. If you have time before your travel you can also look up facts about places you will pass along the way.
Dollar store/Pound Store trinkets. If you have a really long trip coming then get the kids involved and give them a budget to spend at the local store. Our local pound shop (yes we live in the UK) has some great colouring and puzzle books, as well as the regular plastic toys.
Travel board games. Both my boys are hugely competitive and we always have travel versions of our favorite games in the car such as travel connect four and battle ships. I am always on the lookout for travel versions of games and have a great magnetic snakes and ladders too. We keep the games in labeled plastic containers as we are less likely to lose pieces then.
Books/Audio Books. I have one child that is travel sick in the car, which rules out reading for him. But the other loves reading his books en route and as a family we love audiobooks. DisneyLife isn’t just about movies and shows, it has books for all the family to enjoy including classics, picture books, audio books and novels for early readers, plus they are available in five languages.
Free printables. What is not to love about free printables for travel packs. I made some for my boys including count the vehicles, car models wordsearch, join the dots, tic tac toe (noughts and crosses), hangman, travel bingo, car badge bingo and car name wordsearch. My top tip for these is to laminate them before you go and give the kids a whiteboard pen, then they can be cleaned with a cloth or even a baby wipe and be used again and again. Don’t have a laminator, don’t worry just pop them in a plastic pocket and you can do the same.
Snacks and drinks. I make sure that I prepare a load of healthy snacks and drinks before we go. Now the boys are older they get their own bag each (when they were younger I dished them out as they would have eat them all in one go). I love things like granola bars, fruit salad, nuts and dried fruits, flavoured coconut water, popcorn, yogurt coated fruit, fruit leather, dried cereal, cheese,
What are your tip tips for traveling with kids? We are always on the lookout for more, so do let us know in the comments. Happy travels.
I am a DisneyLife Brand Ambassador and this post was created in partnership with DisneyLife who have provided me with a free 12 month DisneyLife membership.