When you’re travelling with children the last thing you want is for them to be bored.
It may be tempting to bring their latest flashy toy that the just absolutely had to have, but resist the urge (and their complaining). Here are three reasons why:
1. It won’t entertain your kids for nearly as long as you’d think.
The problem with flashy toys is once they’ve been played with the child loses interest. At best they’ll then discard the toy, at worst they’ll start using it to bash walls, fences, plants, you, their siblings…When travelling with children you want toys that are multipurpose, but not quite like that!
See the image at the top of this post? This was taken on a 11 hour flight to Thailand (read about it here). A combination of paperback books (they weigh less than board books), the plastic cups from our meal and an iphone were enough to entertain our 2 year old.
2. They’re big and clunky.
When you’re travelling with children minimalism is your friend. Each additional thing you bring will make it harder to locate something you actually need when you’re searching for it.
You know how things become more complicated when you have kids? If you’re not travelling with children, then rifling through a bag is no problem. Add two kids, a confined space and some crying. Suddenly bags fall out of the overhead locker when you open it, one child does a runner and the other’s clawing at your leg while you’re desperately searching for the snacks.
For me, packing light is an absolute must when travelling with children. Their toys are no exception. I recommend packing a small bag that fits into your own bag (they may want to hold it at first, but there’s a fair chance you’ll be carrying it before long). Add small, light, cheap toys to it and some snacks.
More on minimalist travel for the modern family here.
3. If they lose it you’ll suffer.
If you’re not watching closely those cupboards or draws at your hotel that you just wish they would stop playing with may become the next home to their new super-duper-electro mark 6. You’ll only hear about it when you’re on your way to the airport.
4. Children will be interested by a new environment
Most of the time while you’re travelling with children you won’t need toys at all. New people, environments and activities will keep them entertained.
You will need some things to entertain them on planes and trains. Do bring toys with you, but it’s also worth being creative. The plastic cups from meals make great toys for kids. You could also try requesting a couple of cups, some ice and stirrers from the flight attendants.
You can read an hour by hour account of our long haul flight to Thailand with toddler and baby for ideas.