Travel with kids – What toys should you bring on planes and trains?

Travel with kids – What toys should you bring on planes and trains?

The idea of travel with kids can be stressful. For some parents the idea of flying with kids actually prevents them from booking holidays abroad.

However, many many families manage to travel with kids successfully. They even enjoy the opportunity to bond with their children.

Part of this is experience – travel with kids gets a lot easier the more you do it! But it’s also about preparation. Turn travel with kids from something to be avoided into something the whole family can look forward to by bring suitable entertainment along.

So what toys should you bring for travel with kids?

1. Toys that can be played with in multiple ways

The problem with ‘gadget’ type toys is they only do one thing. Once your child is bored of that thing, the toy is useless. Here are some classics that we always bring when we travel with kids.

Flying with a toddler or infant:

  • Stickers
  • Animal dominos
  • Top trumps (or other cards with characters on them)
  • Colouring
  • An old wallet with small change and old cards
  • A few favourite lightweight books (the indestructibles books are great for younger kids and are very lightweight)
  • A small duplo set
  • Rubber ducks (these can double as bath toys while you’re on holiday)

Travelling with older children:

  • A deck of cards
  • Lego
  • A travel board game pack (checkers, backgammon, chess)
  • A book or kindle
  • An iPod

2. Something you can play with them

Travel with kids can be a great way to bond as they have your full attention for several hours.

You’ll notice that a lot of the toys listed above depend on social elements to make them work. Human beings are more interesting than toys (honestly!). If you can find things to do together it’s going to make the time go faster and mean you have far fewer things to lug around.

3. Simple, cheap toys

You don’t need expensive, flashy toys to entertain children. As long as they haven’t played with the toy too much beforehand it’ll hold their interest for at least some time. I recently entertained my 2 1/2 year old for a two hour flight with 3 plastic cups and 3 super hero cards.

Travel with kids - entertaining a 2 year old on a flight with 3 cups and 3 cards
Flying with a toddler

Just as importantly, things get lost on journeys. Remember that everything you bring is one more thing to keep track of. Bring toys that won’t cause tears if they get lost.

4. An iPad, tablet or phone

Tablets are really helpful for getting kids through long journeys. Allow yourself to stop worrying about how much time they’re spending looking at screens – journeys don’t last forever. If an iPad gets you through them then so be it.

5. New toys

If all else fails, get something new. I personally buy a new set of stickers for every single journey we go on.

Kids get bored really quickly. If your child picks up toys and discards them within a few seconds there’s a fair chance that he’s just bored of them.

If they’re bored of them at home, of course they’re going to be bored of them on a plane. Head to your nearest charity shop and pick up a few new toys or books to keep them entertained.

Read about why you shouldn’t bring your kid’s favourite toy on trips here. 

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