Five Top Tips for Keeping Kids Busy Abroad

“Mum, Dad – Are we there yet?” All your hopes and dreams of the tranquil trip away can all come tumbling down in that one moment when the reality of entertaining your little ones for the next week (or two) suddenly hits home. From the airport journey to the drama of the hotel room itself, holidays can be a trying time for parents’ patience.  The key to a happy, peaceful holiday is—as it so often is—preparation, and finding ways to keep kids busy on your summer holiday might well be the ticket to coming home rejuvenated and re-energised. With this in mind, we have come up with our top five tips for keeping your kids busy abroad. 

#1 Keep it Simple

Simple, classic travel games that require little in the way of extra packing are always winners for keeping kids busy. Games such as I Spy, Would You Rather?, and 20 Questions are travel staples, while with a modest pad and a pencil you might also initiate one of the most effective travel games: the licence plate game. Simply ask your little ones to pay attention to the licence plates on passing cars and to scribble down plates from different countries (or States, if you are in the US). The person who spots licence plates from the highest number of countries wins, and you can always raise the stakes by offering double points for the capital city of each country.


A long-time favourite among little boys and girls, LEGO engages children by allowing them to build their own creations which can be easily achieved on the go. We recommend putting together a LEGO kit using a plastic tub or lunch box and challenging children to build the model before arriving at your destination. With a full range of thematic kits available from all your children’s favourite franchises—from Star Wars and DC Comics Superheroes to Angry Birds and Disney Princess—LEGO is sure to keep little ones occupied without the worry of crayon etchings on the hotel wall.

#3 Trunki

Transforming the tedious journey into a playful adventure is a great way to set your children’s imaginations running and deflect their attention from the travelling itself. A Trunki suitcase does away with the boredom of packing and travelling with a fun, original design that adds a sense of adventure to any trip. Its wheeled design also allows you to transport tired legs easily without any whining. To buy into the adventure concept further, think about creating a travelogue-style journal, such as this one for adults, asking your little traveller to jot down key events and memories from your trip.

#4 Apps

Smartphones have evolved to become every adult’s number one travel companion, allowing us to check emails, read books and magazines, listen to music and watch films from a single device that fits in our pockets. A smartphone, tablet or iPad has the same magic power over children, with a whole galaxy of apps available for children of all ages that are often not only entertaining but also educational. Favourite apps we love at The Hut include: “Leila and the Little Folk” (Shiny Monkey Games), a story-based app for older children with games and puzzles to solve to progress through the storyline; “Talking Tom”, a cute kitty who imitates what you say and responds to your touch; and “Tozzle Puzzle”, an app featuring a comprehensive range of puzzles and animations that is a huge hit among parents of toddlers.

#5 Audio Books

Travelling is famous for inducing bouts of nausea among the best of us, and that is no less true for children. Car journeys are a notorious offender, and there is no better recipe for a migraine that a queasy, unhappy child on a long car trip to your summer destination. Staring at a single screen or page often makes you feel worse, and an audiobook provides an alternative way to divert attention and keep children engrossed in a new tale. From classics such as Roald Dahl’s The BFG or Matilda to more modern tales from the Harry Potter series or The Book Thief, a good story is an easy way to grab a child’s attention.


Sarah Atkinson

Sarah Atkinson

Writer and expert