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16 May 2019
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Travel Tips

For many visitors to Holden Beach, you must travel some distance to arrive at your Hobbs Realty vacation rental for a week of rest and relaxation. Between preparing to leave for vacation and the trip (whether by car or airplane or both), sometimes all you want is to just get here already!

Kids Playing Games in Car

To relieve some of the “Are we there yet?” and “He’s breathing on me!” statements from the kids en route, we compiled a fun list of road trip entertainment ideas for the whole family. While we all know that DVD players, MP3 players, tablets, and laptops are popular gadgets, we’ve focused on group fun! Some families even choose to follow a “no screen time” rule during travel. After all, they say that "getting there is half the fun."

You might choose to wrap the game ideas below and let the kids open one every hour or so. Whether it’s a new game, a craft activity, or a treat – this will prevent them from opening and eating everything in the first hour of the ride, and keep the ride more adventurous along the way!

Solo Activities

You can make each child a magnetic board using a cheap cookie sheet that can also serve as a food tray and art tray. Small cookie sheets fit perfectly in the seat pockets. As the trip goes on, different activities are given out – some ideas include making keychains, bracelets, other easy dollar bin crafts, stickers, magnet scenes (jungle, dinosaur, etc.), reusable sticker scenes, or small toys for imaginary play. A few snack ideas include goldfish crackers, apple slices, granola bars. Did you know you can add a couple of drops of lemon juice or Sprite in a plastic sealable snack bag of apple slices, covering the slices with the liquid, to keep them from turning brown? Remember to dole out the goodies every hour or so to make them last!

Younger kids enjoy felt books with pieces that stick to the pages. They make these in a variety of topics including colors, numbers, dolls, cars, etc.

Other solo activities great for a variety of ages include coloring, writing song lyrics down as they hear them, journaling and/or drawing what they see along the way, and reading.

And, naps make the trip fly by like they are in a rocket ship!

Activities for the Kids to Do Together

The License Plate Game — Using our handy printable game sheet, cross each state off the list as you see them on your journey. Whoever has the most different license plates is the winner!

Download the License Plate Game printable sheet >

The Cloud Game — If it’s a cloudy day, have a contest to see how many different shapes/objects they can see in the clouds. They can also look at the clouds and draw what they see. To make this even more interesting, challenge them to look only for beach-themed items in the sky.

Observation Games — There are a variety of games kids can play with each other based around things they see along the way. Here are some examples:

  • Make lists of how many kinds of each thing they see (cows, cars, boats, motorcycles, etc.)
  • Count horses, cows, etc. on the opposite side of the car and whomever gets the most is the winner.
  • See who can count the most of something (of your choice) in an hour.
  • Play guessing games like “I Spy,” “Do You See What I See?” and “I’m Thinking of A …”
  • Car Bingo! You can find some free versions of this with a quick internet search, or purchase one. The cards have things on them like water tower, horse, mountain, etc.

The Car Categories Game — Loosely based on a popular board game, Car Categories is a fun brain-teasing game. We made a beach-themed printable game sheet for you and a create-your-own-theme printable game sheet for this one. Choose your letters and categories, set the timer for whatever number of minutes you decide, and the person who gets the most answers wins. For ties, you can judge the most creative answers or just play another game as a tiebreaker!

Download the Car Categories: Beach Theme game printable sheet >
Download the Car Categories: Create-Your-Own-Theme printable sheet >

Map Navigator — Instead of relying solely on GPS, give the kids the atlas and let them take hourly turns reading the map to navigate the trip. (Putting the GPS on silent as a mind-easing back-up plan is acceptable.)

The ABC Game — In the ABC Game, every player needs to find all the letters of the alphabet in order from road and business signs, billboards, license plates, etc. The first person to get to Z wins!

Download the handy ABC Game printable sheet >

Activities for the Whole Car

The “I’m Going … and Taking” Game — The first person says something like, “I’m going to Holden Beach and I’m taking an apple. The next person says, “I’m going to Holden Beach and I’m taking an apple and a word that begins with b, like beach ball. And it continues down the alphabet with each person remembering and accumulating all of the alphabet items. Whoever can get the furthest without forgetting one is the winner!

Photography Game  Take a photograph of scenery, selfies inside the car, or whatever you want every 100 miles (or number of your choice) so the kids watch for the mile markers and count them down.

Group Story Time — You can also do a group story time. Each player gets to make up a sentence or two at a time, without discussing it with anyone. So, Child #1 starts the story with however they want it to start - setting the scene, introducing a character, whatever. Then, Child #2 takes over and advances the story however they want with just 1-2 sentences. Next, it passes to Adult #1 for their contribution, then Adult #2. Continue taking turns for as many rounds as the story needs. You can't get upset if someone takes the story in a different direction than you had in mind. Collectively, you will come up with some funny, creative, and interesting stories! Someone might even want to record the last person at the end of the story on a phone.

Journey Trivia — Before you leave on your trip, Mom and/or Dad can map out the route and do some internet searches of places along the way. You will be surprised at how many towns have cool things to check out that you never would have known existed. You can loosely plan it out to have maybe 10 or so options along the way that you make brief stops to check out (BRIEF because we know you’re eager to hit the beach!). You could stop at some on the way to the beach, and the others on your way home for some easy fun.

Darcy Geho is a contributing author to this Hobbs Realty blog. She spent 11 years working in the vacation rental industry while she lived on and traveled the North Carolina coast. Like most of our visitors, when Darcy isn’t at the beach she looks forward to her next visit. In her spare time, Darcy likes cooking and food preservation and enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog.