How to entertain your kids whilst travelling abroad

I love travelling with my family and passing on my love of travel to my kids, but that said, it’s obviously a bit difficult to orchestrate a fun family trip when everyone has a different personality and set of interests! I used to think pulling off the perfect family trip was something impossible and miraculous, but the more we travel, the more I realize it’s not so difficult after all as long as you do a bit of solid planning prior to the trip. Here are some tips to help you put together a great trip, as well as keep the kids entertained on those long drives, boring layovers, rainy days or whenever else:

Pick the Right Place
Choosing the right destination for your family trips can be really difficult. Some family members like history while others hate museums, some like beaches while others burn to a crisp in the sun, etc. If you really want your kids to be enthusiastic about a trip, you’ll want to pick a place that everyone can agree on. That said, you don’t have to take all of your family trips to Disney!

Involve the Kids in the Planning Process

If your kids are old enough, think about having them each plan activities they’d like to do in your destination. That way, you can get the kids excited for the trip, let them pick out activities that they’d actually enjoy, and get a wider array of activities in your schedule since everyone researches in a different way—plus, hey, less planning for you! You’ll be surprised at some of the neat things the kids can come up with!

Get Things Organized

I am absolutely in awe of how many great apps there are these days that I can use to plan our family trips. I used to really dread planning, and let’s face it, the trip itself is always going to be far more fun than any of the planning stages (especially if the little ones need new shoes or a backpack or something and can’t decide on which style they want!). But since I’ve started using a cocktail of apps to help with everything from packing to itineraries to organization, things have got a lot easier!


Especially if we’re going to be spending a long time in transit (or in case of rainy days in a hotel room), I like to pack some activity boxes for each of the kids. Grab a shoebox and fill it with word searches, colouring materials, comic books, mini board games, decks of cards or anything else that will occupy the kids for a little while. Don’t let them know what you’re bringing prior to the trip either; let the anticipation build! You’ll find that your kids can happily spend hours trying out everything that you’ve packed.

Travel with Gadgets

From games to movies, you can do a lot with a tablet or smartphone that the kids can use. Of course, a lot of vehicles come with entertainment systems built-in, but sometimes not everyone wants to watch the same thing at the same time. Instead, we like to download some movies prior to our departure and load them onto the tablet before we leave. But since copyright restrictions are such a legal grey area, make sure you’re using a VPN when you torrent movies; otherwise, your network service provider could block your account, which is obviously not something you want!

Bring Snacks

Nothing makes a kid crankier than being hungry, and that’s something that you don’t want to have to deal with, especially at the end of a long day. You’ve got options, whether it’s throwing a couple granola bars into your daypack or putting together a tackle box full of goodies for each of the kids that they can delve into as they like. Between these and picnic lunches (we’re big on those, both because they save money and because they allow for good bonding time!), you should be able to keep the kids fueled and happy throughout the day.

Post-Trip Reports

Okay, that may sound a bit boring, like something they would have to do for school, but in the future, your kids will thank you! Truth is, none of you are going to remember every detail of every trip you’ve taken, but if you and the kids write down some of your favourite moments, share some of your favourite photos, and put together a review of the trip when you return, you’ll be able to keep those memories for a lifetime. Have the kids take photos and notes along the way and challenge them to come up with the best report that they can. Of course, there are no winners, but it’s always amazing to see what different things everyone comes up with as their favourites!

I’m lucky enough to have kids who are good travellers (my advice: get them started young!), but even so, I need to do a bit of work to make sure the whole trip runs smoothly. One kid’s bad temper can really ruin a day, so don’t let it get to that point! Instead, do your best to keep the kids interested from the planning point to the decompression point.