Whether you travel by plane, by train, by bus, or by car, you should consider boredom as one of the things that might hinder a smooth and fuss-free travel. This is especially true to toddlers and younger children, who have shorter attention span than bigger kids. Hunger, toilet time, the time and length of travel and also the weather should be factors to be considered, too.
But bigger kids get bored too, they might have good attention span, but sitting for long hours would make them look for things to keep their hands and minds busy. You can use the long hours to teach them a thing or two – not only with being patient, but also things like bible books and characters, counting, addition, even multiplication.
So before you head out to your destination whether to Paris, to Singapore, or Venice, consider these things to avoid boredom.
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If travelling by car, get the car checked thoroughly at least a week before your planned trip. This will give you enough time for adjustments if need be. Also check the seat belt, and make sure they are in good condition. Seat belts that don’t lock could spell trouble. Adjust the belt as necessary so that your kids would be comfortable through the whole journey. Too tight could cause pain and discomfort, while too loose could be disastrous.
Bring art materials: paper, pens, colored pencils, even a drawing tablet. For smaller kids, coloring books and crayons would do. While it wouldn’t be so stable on the road, the uneven coloring and not so fine images drawn may add laughter.
If your kids aren’t the easily to get dizzy type, bring their favourite books or something that might interest them. If there’s a particular book set in the place you are going to, buy that. It will make the story a lot more real for them if they get to see the place described in the book with their own eyes.
Snack and Stretch
It is a given that long hours of travel will make one hungry. Make lunch boxes and snack boxes of food that could keep them satiated, this includes beef jerky (the ultimate travel food) or squid jerky, salami sticks, cheese sticks, and protein-rich bars. Stay away from sugary treats as this would make them cranky in the long run.
If there’s a car rest, you can grab something to eat there for bigger meals and also get to stretch your legs and body for having to sit on for hours.
Comfort and Rest
Make sure that the kids (and your) bladders are comfortable, I mean let them go to the toilet as soon as they say they should. If travelling by bus or car, the next stop (car rest) is a good way to go. Trains on long travel have toilets so this isn’t much a problem. Just make sure you have your own tissues and wipes for extra hygiene.
Sleep if you can. Bring neck pillows so you can sleep comfortably. If you travel by train or bus, make sure that you get reclining seats to make resting comfortable.
The old fun game of “I spy” is one that challenges kids eyesight and how well they can identify objects described, but it gets boring if all you see are trees around. So bring some game cards, sliding puzzles and mind games, a handy game console if you have one and allow the kids to play a little just so they don’t get bored.
Save some of your favorite movies on your netbook (or laptop if it’s not so heavy for you). This will come in handy if you’ve exhausted all means of entertainment at your disposal.
Listen To Relaxing Music
If the kids can’t sleep, and it’s their nap time, play some music to lull them. Some kids may sleep better with headphones or earphones on, so bring some.
Other Things To Do On Long Trips With The Family
Prepare a bag with essentials
In their personal bags, put a change of clothes, some tissue wipes, a bottle of water, their snacks, and small toys. If your kid has a comfort object or toy, bring it along. Also put an emergency contact card inside for security purposes.
Even if you’re just visiting a city nearby, bring documents, IDs, healthcards with you. Secure them in plastic ziploc to avoid them getting wet. Also bring cash, it’s not always wise to rely on your ATM.
Pick a good hour to travel
Early morning travel means you beat the rush hour traffic. It could also make the kids sleep while on the road as the coolness of the morning, the movement of the vehicle makes them sleepy.
Pack and load stuff the night before if travelling by car. If you travel by train or airplane, make an account for all luggage and bags before you leave, don’t forget name tags.
Ready First Aid Kit and Medicines
One of the more important things to do on long trips with the family is to pack a first aid kit. Even when going out, these kits are handy, if your kid gets knee scratch while at the playground, it’s easy to appease them when they see you holding a band aid.
Also bring some medicines with you, specially if your kids has asthma (like our older son). He always has an inhaler in his bag, and I have an extra with me. It doesn’t hurt to be careful when on the go.
We might have missed some point about things to do on long trips with the family and other tips to avoid boredom while on the road, we’d appreciate your help. Let us know in the comments.