According to Forbes, travel is rebounding to pre-pandemic levels, and fast. As the weather gets warmer, more of your loved ones get vaccinated, and we get the OK to travel safely and responsibly, travel is quickly becoming a top priority.
Over at Grasshopper Goods HQ, we’re dreaming of weekend trips to the lake, plane rides to a faraway state, and road trips with our families. This wanderlust has me reminiscing on my road trips as a kid as well as my husband and I taking our kiddos out on the open road.
We’ve gathered up four fun kids’ travel ideas that will keep your car rides calm all the way to your next destination. Whether you’re headed to a nearby weekend getaway or embarking on a multi-stop tour, we’ve got you covered.
1. Surprise Packages
My dad was a pilot, so when I was a kid, we did a ton of road trips, as he needed a reprieve from flying everywhere all the time. I brought this love of road trips to my family too, encouraging the kids to share in my passion for exploration.
One tradition I’ve instilled in my kids is surprise packages. I pack a brown paper bag to the brim with fun snacks, arts and crafts, and toys, and seal it with a drawn-on smiley face—and the kids have to time when they pull items from the bag. At 90 miles out, maybe they’ll each get a set of crayons. This inventive, fun travel hack is interactive and gets kids excited for the next stop in the destination, because it means one more surprise awaits them. They also remember this ritual as grownups; my kids still smile when they talk about this.
I highly recommend adding fun travel games to the surprise package. We’re constantly adding fun-filled activities to the Grasshopper Goods shop; we recommend Boredom Bingo, which provides kids young and old with memorable, tech-free activities that the whole family can participate in.
2. Window Markers
Glass markers or liquid paint markers are perfect for letting kids’ imaginations run wild during the long drive. After triple-checking that the markers you’re purchasing are erasable and window-safe, share with your kids at the start of any road trip journey.
Encourage their boundless creativity, or provide them with a drawing challenge or response to an art prompt. The best part? Each child can create their own masterpiece on the window they’re seated next to, so no one will be fighting over markers or what scene to draw. (Unless you have more than two kiddos, at which point we say, encourage team-building by splitting children up into pairs!)
3. Trip Journal
Slate notes that while our memories start early on, we don’t always remember things like our second birthday down the road. Storytelling can actually help children strengthen their memories for the long haul.
A trip journal, an entire notebook dedicated to whatever your kiddo wants to write about, doodle, or draw during the trip, will help them engage in the fine art of storytelling. And what’s more, they can look back on their fond memories years, even decades later. We have journals in the shop just perfect for this task.
4. Paper Maps
Think back to a time before GPS. You plugged your destination into MapQuest, printed out the pages upon pages of directions, and headed on your way. If you got lost, it was off to the nearest gas station to ask a local for a new path forward.
Now, think back to a time even before this. On long road trips, your dad would unfurl a giant paper map, pulling over a few times to get you on track to your destination. You couldn’t pull up GPS on your phone. Heck, you didn’t even have a phone. It was just you and the open road.
Transport your own kiddos back to this time with paper maps. Either ditch the GPS and try it out full-speed ahead, or have your GPS sneakily on in the background just in case. Ask your kids to map the route or plan the next leg of the trip using old-school cartography.
For your next trip on the open road, I hope you find these ideas for traveling with kids helpful. Each activity nurtures the power of the imagination and creativity, allowing kids to explore without limits.
Like this blog post? Sign up for the Grasshopper Goods newsletter for monthly inspo and exclusive offers. No spam ever, we promise.