The Best Activities for Traveling with Children

A mother and father looking and smiling at their daughter sitting on luggage on trolley in airport

5min read

Published 18 July 2023


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Embarking on a family adventure is like strapping yourself onto a roller coaster with tiny daredevils by your side. Even though it means extra planning and organisation, it is an enriching and important experience for all family members that is well worth doing. Keeping little (and not-so-little) explorers entertained is a task, but we’ve put together some activity suggestions to make it easier for you. While the ‘are we there yet?'s' will still come, these activities will hopefully reduce them and give weary parents a nice break. Let's take a look. 

Journal It

Here at Flight Centre, we all love to keep a travel journal to look back on the memories, and we know kids would be the same! There are lots of children’s travel journals you can buy that have prompts or give them a nice notebook to freestyle on their own. Not only will they be able to look back on their trip and see what they were doing daily, their creativity will be encouraged, and it will get them excited for each day! Include stickers, maps, postcards, glue-in paper tickets, or photos to accompany their drawings and stories.

Young boy smiling and looking out the window of a train as he holds pen to paper and his mum sits beside him on her phone
Young boy smiling and looking out the window of a train as he holds pen to paper and his mum sits beside him on her phone
Young boy smiling and looking out the window of a train as he holds pen to paper and his mum sits beside him on her phone

Play the Game

Many classic games like Guess Who and Trouble come in travel sizes, and you can get magnetic chess and checker boards that are also small and lightweight, making it easy to take them along for the ride. Card games like Uno are also easy to take on trips and keep the kids entertained for hours. It is easy to find card and board games for all ages, and most op-shops will have good quality secondhand games if you need something new along the way without spending too much money.   

A mother and two suns sitting at a table on top of a mountain on a sunny day playing a board game together
A mother and two suns sitting at a table on top of a mountain on a sunny day playing a board game together
A mother and two suns sitting at a table on top of a mountain on a sunny day playing a board game together

Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunts are a great way to keep kids engaged during a trip and curb boredom. You can find many printable templates on the internet for kids of all ages, or you could get creative and make them up yourself. Whether in the car, at an airport or a resort, there will be lots of things you can ask kids to find. It’s easy to get teens and tweens keen by involving their precious phones- get them to take photos of the scavenger hunt items, tick off the items in their notes or use an age and location appropriate app.   

Two girls looking and pointing at a map they are holding while standing in a lush green jungle
Two girls looking and pointing at a map they are holding while standing in a lush green jungle
Two girls looking and pointing at a map they are holding while standing in a lush green jungle

Get Their Brains Working

There are lots of puzzles and games your kids will love that will stimulate their brains and teach them along the way. Get them to do portable puzzles, word finds, brain teaser travel quizzes, or even learn the basics of the language in the country you are heading to. Rubik's cubes are also enjoying a resurgence, and you never know – you might end up with a Rubik's cube-solving champion in the family. Would You Rather is another fun game that will work their critical thinking skills (obviously the kid's version). Ask questions like “Would you rather be the funniest person alive or the smartest?” or “Would you rather be able to talk to animals or speak every language” and make sure they tell you why they answered the way they did.  

Mum holding book full of brain puzzles while daughter leans on her and looks at the book
Mum holding book full of brain puzzles while daughter leans on her and looks at the book
Mum holding book full of brain puzzles while daughter leans on her and looks at the book

Audio Books and Podcasts

If it's time for some quiet, get the kids to pop on their headphones and get engrossed in an Audio Book or Podcast on their device. A quick Google will bring up many options, and you can work with your kids to find topics they would be interested in. Whether you want history, music or just a good old story – there is something for all ages and interests. While we know the kids need their own headphones to save fights, get a splitter so they can listen together at times, or you can listen along. Remember to download heaps of episodes so they can still listen without wifi or expensive data. While we know most parents like to limit screen time as much as possible – while travelling, having something fun to watch or interact with will provide entertainment for kids and break time for parents.   

Three children on a train looking at one tablet with their headphones
Three children on a train looking at one tablet with their headphones
Three children on a train looking at one tablet with their headphones

Budding Artists

A simple sketch pad, triangular crayons for younger kids and pencils for older ones will keep them entertained for hours and encourage the artist in them. Let them draw whatever they want or provide prompts like "Draw your favourite part of the holiday so far." Colouring in books are also perfect for this, and come in every age range – including adult, so you can colour with the kids. We’ve included a colouring page of our captain that you can print and take on a trip with you. Get a magic ink colouring book if you’re looking for something they may not have seen before. They come with one clear marker that magically colours the pages in various colours. They come in multiple versions, including Disney favourites, so you’re sure to find one your kids will love.   

Child in orange shirt drawing with crayons on pen with toy airplane sitting on drawing book
Child in orange shirt drawing with crayons on pen with toy airplane sitting on drawing book
Child in orange shirt drawing with crayons on pen with toy airplane sitting on drawing book

Classic Car Games

Everybody can think of games they used to play with their parents on long road trips, and these games obviously don’t have to be played just in the car – they are transferable to all modes of transport and locations. The best thing is they don’t require equipment, just brains, eyes, ears and mouths. Some classic favourites are “I Spy” and simple games like “count how many red cars you see”. If you want something more involved, you can play “I went on vacation, and I packed...” where each family member has to think of an item starting with alphabet letters.   

Dad, mother and two daughters sitting in a car while they all smile and the girls point
Dad, mother and two daughters sitting in a car while they all smile and the girls point
Dad, mother and two daughters sitting in a car while they all smile and the girls point

Baby and Toddler Games

Anyone who has a toddler knows they need entertainment too - especially while travelling. First off, the novelty of travelling will be enough to entertain them for a little while no matter the mode of transport. Point out all the fun and exciting things like the tray table and out the window. For toddlers – mess-free colouring books, dry-erase books, and screen time will be your best friends.   

Mum and toddler pointing out the window of an airport and looking at the planes
Mum and toddler pointing out the window of an airport and looking at the planes
Mum and toddler pointing out the window of an airport and looking at the planes

Taking your family on holiday will be incredibly rewarding for everyone, and travel is integral to everyone’s development. Taking your children on holiday can seem daunting, especially for the first time. But trust us, the extra planning will be very worth it. Remember, things may not go as planned, so just relax and enjoy the ride.   

Captain Colouring Page

Colouring page image of captain
Colouring page image of captain
Colouring page image of captain

Ready to embark on your next family holiday? Check out the links below and book today!

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