A parents’ guide to vacation boredom busters

Are you tired of staring at the same four walls? Are your kids climbing those very walls? It may be time to treat your family to an extended vacation. Slow travel can be safe during this challenging time, and social distancing can be achieved, along with mask-wearing and testing.


A change of scenery can be relaxing, and getting away from the daily hum-drum can act as a ‘reset’ on your mental health. Your kids will benefit from getting your free time with no interruptions. 

Of course, when you’re on the road, there’s a greater likelihood of your little ones coming down with a case of travel boredom–which can lead to vacation-ruining meltdowns. After sitting in a car for ages, kids tend to get whiney and complain. Additionally, the run-of-the-mill hotels rarely resemble your toy-infested and charmingly-disorganized home, meaning these unfamiliar locations, complete with pillow mints and neatly-ironed bed sheets, can spur an eruption of tears. If you notice your little ones expressing concern over their unattended stuffed animals waiting back at home, a travel tantrum may be on the horizon. 

Luckily, there are several things you can do to help mitigate meltdowns: begin with open communication. Tell your child where you are going (consider utilizing a map), how long it will take to get there, and the mode of transportation of choice. 

Coach them through how you expect them to behave— and be mindful of age-appropriate expectations. Most importantly, keep vacation boredom at bay (in addition to utilizing these tips and tricks mentioned above) to avoid disastrous and embarrassing tantrums. 

Preparing for long-term travel

Soon-to-be vacation-goers should consider the benefits of shipping their vehicle to their final destination. Should you decide to bring your family car along for the adventure, invest in a reputable auto transportation service through providers like Guardian Auto Transport

Still not convinced shipping your vehicle cross-country is worth the added expenses? Recognize the benefits of having reliable transport when you arrive and dodging time-consuming rental car lines. 

As a general rule of thumb, remember that the less uncertainty surrounding travel, the better. When your children know what to expect, they are less likely to have a meltdown. A familiar environment (like your car and their trusty car seat) in a new, scary place can be surprisingly comforting for an anxiety-ridden traveler.

Bring along sources of entertainment 

Although everyone expects a vacation to be fun, there are unexpected let-downs: a rainy day, closed destinations, a long drive in-between activities, and the list goes on. To avert disaster, always have on-the-go activities to keep little hands busy on-the-go— i.e., a drawing pad and some coloring tools. Small stuffed animals and other quiet playtime activities are always a must. Worst comes to worst, bust out those electronics to help keep their minds occupied. 

Keep expectations realistic

Don’t expect to hit every single ride at the amusement park or visit every museum within a five-mile radius. Create a schedule that allows for downtime within the day, so your kids have time to settle and regroup before going off and having fun again.

Remain calm

It may be extremely aggravating when kids have a meltdown on vacation. Some parents may perceive these travel tantrums as ungrateful behavior, especially when you’ve spent countless hours planning your out-of-state excursions. However, keep in mind that your little ones are often unable to regulate their emotions, and their feelings are much closer to the surface. 

That said, if you remain calm and correct this less-than-satisfactory behavior before your young child explodes into a full-blown tantrum, you’ll be much better off. 

A vacation is an unforgettable experience for the whole family. With these tips and boredom-busters, you can rest easy that your kids will enjoy the trip as much as you will.

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.



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