How To Keep The Whole Family Busy When Travelling

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Do you get bored quickly when travelling? Or is it that you struggle to keep the kids entertained when hitting the road or awaiting flights or travel connections? Being able to keep everyone busy and happy during long travelling times can help you to reduce stress levels that are kept low and ensure that everyone is catered for as much as possible.

Whether you travel as a couple, a family with young children, or even a larger family group of all ages, these tips can be a great way to keep everyone entertained until you arrive at your destination.


If you’re travelling by car, this will be easier to plan for, but playing games can be a great way to help people stave off boredom. You can choose classic card games and take a pack of cards, or you can travel sizes of popular board games perfect for the car or flights, or you can play digital games (don’t forget battery packs and chargers if this is the case).

Games like Roblox, Minecraft, Sims, Candy Crush, and more can be incredibly addictive and provide some downtime to keep people occupied. For older travellers who don’t enjoy playing video games, online games like crossword puzzles, sudoku, word searches, etc., can be great boredom busters and more age-appropriate.

Create A Playlist

Music makes everything better, so when faced with long journeys, why not create a playlist for each member of the family or one you can enjoy together? Use headphones to ensure everyone can listen to what they want to if you’re making individual playlists, and if you are in the car, you can have a mini silent disco with each person listening to their own music and no distractions from each other (except for the driver, that is!)

Books or Audiobooks

If you have avid readers with you, then packing books or loading up your reading devices can be a great way to spend travel time and help you keep young and older minds busy. Allow everyone to pick their favourite books (as many as you can realistically take) and then use these books to entertain everyone when on the road or waiting at the airport, for example, or when on transfers. If reading is not an option, some people with travel sickness can’t read when travelling as it worsens symptoms; audiobooks can be a great alternative.

Download Movies or TV Shows

This is a classic option for those with devices and streaming services that afford you the ability to download your favourite shows or movies. Downloading something to watch on your devices prior to setting off means that even if you don’t have an internet connection to stream something to watch, you will still have the option to watch it as it’s stored in your device’s memory.

Otherwise, connect to wifi and stream what you want to watch or what will keep your kids entertained for part or the entire duration of your journey.

Pack Goody Bags

It is not just an option for children, but you can do this for the whole family. Pack little bags that have things to do in the car or on the plane. A goody bag can contain anything from snacks to activities, i.e. colouring books and crayons, small games, toys, card games, or anything that is of interest to the person you are creating it for. These bags can also be a great way to make a family connection if you are travelling in a large group, as everyone can play together during the trip, too.

Snacks and Drinks

No one is a happy camper when they’re hungry and thirsty, so packing plenty of drinks and dry snacks to keep everyone full and happy when travelling is a great idea, especially if you’re going to be spending long drives on a motorway. You can find hobby boxes that lend themselves well to large lunch boxes with separate compartments for you to add fruit, veggies, crackers, crisps, etc., that can be picked at and snacked on during your trip.

Art and Crafts

This can be as simple as assigning your child a sticker book or journal to write or draw in. You can also purchase ready-made travel craft boxes that contain everything you need for a fun trip, perfect for car journeys or plane travel. The type of arts and crafts you choose (and your method of travel, too) is entirely up to you, but it’s a great option to consider.

I Spy

I Spy is a classic for a reason, and you can make it as fun or complex as you like, depending on who is playing. If you are waiting in an airport, you will have plenty of opportunities to make it as creative as possible. Or if you are in a car with young children, you can adapt the rules so they can join in, too.

Alternatives to I Spy include people or object-spotting games, such as yellow cars, people late for their flight, a newborn baby, or different animals or trees. These brain training games are great ways to engage the whole family and young and old kids.

Would You Rather

Not for the faint-hearted, “Would You Rather” is a game where you ask someone if they would rather do one thing or another. Again, like I Spy, it can be adapted and tailored to the audience and surroundings and is a more harmless version of truth or dare. So, get everyone to think of some questions to ask and put everyone to the test.

The Never-Ending Story

Suppose you’ve never played the never-ending story; you’re missing out on potentially hours of fun and silliness. What you do is have one person start the story with a simple sentence. Then, each person adds to the story with a sentence as fun and creative as possible. Before you know it, you’ve gone on a wild, wonderful, unpredictable, and hopefully ridiculous ride, keeping everyone entertained.

Guess Who

Not the board game but real life. Let’s say you’re waiting in the airport lounge for a delayed flight. Pick a stranger who is also doing the same thing and come up with a story as to who they are, where they are from, what they do, and why they are waiting for the same plane as you. The aim is to be as fun and silly as possible; you do not need to be specific or accurate; you need it to be fun.

Scavenger Hunt

Playing a scavenger hunt while travelling can be really fun, especially if you’re putting more than one team against each other. You can look for different things such as road signs, car types, animals, delays, breakdowns, weather changes, people, buildings and so on. You can devise the scavenger hunt prior to leaving based on your mode of transport, i.e. one for motorway driving or one for the airport or a train station. Then you can let everyone know the rules and give them the necessary details.

Family Bingo

Like normal bingo but funnier and without the numbers. You can create your own version of the family based on each member of the family and their characteristics. You can tick off when Grandad falls asleep on the plane, when Nan asks if you want a mint, when Dad farts or when someone asks are we nearly there yet. The first person to win is the first one to complete their board; a top tip is to make them different but not widely different, so it’s not impossible.

If you don’t want to use family members, you can use ideas from a scavenger hunt and turn it into scavenger bingo instead.

Alphabet Games

Alphabet games are basically finding games that you can play using the alphabet. You need to find items starting with each letter of the alphabet in order starting at A. So if it’s food, it can be apple, banana, cheese, dates, eggs, etc., or you can do this using the colours of the rainbow, for example. Red car, blue truck, yellow van, etc.

Encourage Sleep

It is not always possible for you to have calm or amenable children or family members if you’re travelling during the day, but if you’re driving long distances or flying, choosing to go overnight can afford you a calmer trip as kids and adults will be more likely to sleep and rest than need to be occupied for the duration of the trip. While it is not as fun for drivers and front-seat passengers, if you are worried about keeping young minds busy for your trip, starting or completing it at night can allow you to get further with as little stress as possible.

Travelling as a family can be an exciting experience. However, kids can get bored easily when on the road or at airports. Being able to keep them entertained can quickly help prevent tantrums and dramas and keep everyone onside until they reach their destination.

Remember, forward planning and quick thinking can help ensure the trip goes smoothly, but having too high expectations can undo all of your hard work. So expect the worst and plan for the best. Be flexible, and you can start your next holiday on the right foot.

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