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Travel wise...

Hints and tips for traveling with under 8s

During our eldest son's first year of life, he had traveled on 8 long haul flights (8+ hours). 5 years on, I can't reckon a guess as to how many long trips our boys have been on by rail or by air. LOTS. 

So, with the summer travel season upon us, let's trade tips on what works for our families during long trips by rail and air...

  • Depesche sticker books: We LOVE these sticker books. Each themed book includes hundreds of stickers and multiple scenes and they require more creativity than the typical prescriptive sticker book. Themes include horses, houses, castles, space, dinosaurs, zoo...we've done them all and can't pick a favourite. 
  • Map: Traveling by air? Introduce your little one to the onscreen map showing the departure point, destination and the flight path. By rail? Create your own printed map and mark points as you go. 
  • Clock: For young travellers, journeys seem endless. Bring along a watch for your little one. At the start of the journey, draw a clock and label it with 'Start'. Draw another clock, label it with 'End'. Check the watch along the journey to see how much longer...
  • Quiet dice: Bring along small, foam dice like these and a little note pad and pencil. Play dice games like 'Beetle', 'Farkle' or 'Ship, Captain and Crew' to pass the time.
  • Dots and boxes: Draw a grid 9 dots across and down. Grab two different colour pencils and take turns connecting two dots with a horizontal or vertical line (no diagonal lines). Whenever someone is able to complete a box (4 sides), they should write their initial in it and go again. Whomever is able to complete the most boxes wins. 
  • Tabletop racetrack: Grab a couple small cars and a roll of paper tape (masking or colourful washi will do). Make roads along the tabletop or tray table using the paper tape. 
  • Earth, wind, water, fire: Have a scarf? This is a good one for time spent waiting in busy airports or train stations. 
  • Squiggle: Bring along a dry erase board and a couple dry erase markers (and a bit of kitchen roll). Take turns drawing an unrecognisable squiggle--hand the board over to another player and that player should make the squiggle into something recognisable. 
  • Snacks: Grapes, dry cereal, small wheat biscuits, black olives, small pre-cooked sausages, hard cheese, clementines, carrot sticks, apples. We avoid popcorn and most crumbly things during flights--once, we weren't so wise and ended up with a huge mess beneath our feet. 
  • Usborne's new 'Holiday Activities' book: This little book is jam-packed with great activities for a quiet family activities suitable for inflight, or perfect for a rainy day once you get where you're going. At £5.99, it's a great value for money. 

With a train trip on for this weekend, we'd be keen to mix things up and try your ideas. What helps your family to enjoy time together in transit rather than simply passing the time...

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