Stress Free Travel: Coach Journeys with Young Children

1st June 2015

We all know that coach travel and package holidays are a more cost effective and stress free option than packing the family and luggage in the car and paying the costs of petrol etc.

However there is still the question of keeping the children entertained! Whether it’s tantrums, wails of, “I’m bored!”, or the teenagers in the family complaining that they “don’t want to go”, we have a choice of games, activities and ways of making travelling with children easier!

If you’re going with the extended family it might be wise to keep the children sat together with the adults sat in front so you can turn and sort any disputes – it’s definitely a job for the whole group to ensure the younger ones are still happy.

Some family games to play:

I Spy: A family classic but still entertaining on the road, particularly as you travel through towns and villages, but you must be quick! Start by choosing something you can see and say, “I spy with my little eye something beginning with…” and say the first letter of the word. If people start to give up you can give a hint, i.e. “There are four of them” or “It’s outside the coach”. If the little ones can’t spell yet, spy coloured things and improve their colour knowledge!

Raindrop races: It’s a dreary day and that doesn’t help anyone with their mood, but why not make a game of it? Pick a raindrop at the top of the coach window and have races to see whose can make it to the bottom first!

Shopping lists: Start with “I went to the shop and bought a…” and say an item, continue it around the group, building the list as you all go. The first to stumble over the shopping list / get the order wrong loses. E.g.

  1. I went to the shop and bought an orange…
  2. I went to the shop and bought an orange and giraffe…
  3. I went to the shop and bought an orange, giraffe and phone…
  4. I went to the shop and bought an orange, giraffe, phone and umbrella…!

Alphabet game: Pick a topic and go through the group coming up with things that begin with that letter. The first to get it wrong or can’t think of one loses. E.g.:

Topic: Girls’ names

A: Amanda; B. Bertha; C: Carol etc…

Other activities

  • Keep everyone busy by bringing your own paper and pens to play hangman, noughts and crosses or “Guess the Drawing”. Colouring books and other traditional activities can add to the excitement of the impending holiday, rather than having them attached to their electronic devices.
  • Take a portable DVD player for the youngest to be distracted with a film – if the journey is long they might even nod off, leaving the DVD player to the next set of kids!
  • Why not check if your coach has Wi-Fi? Some do – including ours – and will provide endless hours of distraction and entertainment for all of the family!
  • Allow the children to take their mobile phones, Nintendo DS’ or other small gaming devices and that will probably keep them impressed for even longer.
  • If you’re travelling at night, dress the kids in their pyjamas and take blankets and pillows – enjoy those blissful moments of peace!

Helpful suggestions

  • Make sure everyone has been to the toilet before the journey – even if they wail “I don’t need it!” (That applies to children and adults)!
  • If you’re in the car take a few snacks and drinks to entertain the kids and keep them from getting fidgety.
  • Set off at night or first thing on the morning, so the children can sleep.
  • Don’t make it a last minute dash to your transfer, i.e. flight, ferry etc., and allow the children time to blow off some steam before being fastened in again.
  • Take sports bottles or sippy cups, rather than juice cartons and bottles that are more likely to spill.
  • Always take a plastic bag – no child or adult can guarantee they won’t get travel sick, even if they don’t usually…
  • Remember baby wipes for spills, ink stains or otherwise – it’s unbelievable how much they come in handy.

If you have any tips for travelling on long journeys, get in touch with us at @stanley_travel!

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