Great games for journeys

If you are planning a trip away for the upcoming school holidays, you might be wondering how to keep the kids amused on the journey. Even if you have packed a whole toy shop’s-worth of games it is inevitable that after a while they will be bickering and you may even begin to hear the dreaded words “are we nearly there yet?” or perhaps it’s clever variation “how many miles to go?” For the sake of everyone’s sanity, it is worth having a few classic games up your sleeve.

Treasure Hunt
This is a great game that can be played on any mode of transport and the family can work as a team. Before the journey, prepare a list of things to find – in an airport this could be a guitar, a laptop, a surfboard, someone wearing sandals and socks (and you will see all this things sooner or later). On a car journey it could be a canoe on a car roof, a vehicle with three wheels, or cows in a field. But to avoid cheating on this one, you may need to appoint a second witness!

Car Cricket
An oldie but goodie. The player picks two colours – one is their “runs” colour and one is their “out” colour. The player scores runs by the colour of the cars in the oncoming traffic. So if their runs colour is blue, they score one run for every blue car that passes. If their out colour is yellow, they are bowled out as soon as a yellow car passes and the next player takes up the road wicket.

Pub Cricket
This is best played when driving through the English countryside. Children have to watch out for pub signs and score runs according to how many legs are in the name – so “The Old Dog” would have four legs, so the player scores four runs. If there is any ambiguity on how many legs are in the name, or there could potentially be too many to be fair, eg “The Army and Navy”, that player scores 20 runs. The player is bowled out when passing a pub with no legs eg “The Rose Bush”.

Buzz words
A variation on Treasure Hunt, but with words. The parent picks a word and children have to listen for the word on the radio, during announcements or even written on signs. As soon as a player hears the word they have to shout “Buzz!” and choose the next word. The beauty of this game is the children will have to be nice and quiet in order to pick out the word!

Rhubarb and Custard
Guaranteed to cause much hilarity wherever you are. Players are asked a question, but they are only allowed to respond with “Rhubarb and Custard”. So they might be asked “What are you wearing on your head?” and they must answer “Rhubarb and Custard”. If they laugh, their turn is over. This can be played using any word you like – I bet your children will think up some good ones!

Are we really nearly there yet?
Not a game as such, but if you have older children who don’t get car sick you might like to print off your journey from a route finding site such as Multimap and give each child a copy to follow. It keeps them occupied and teaches them useful map-reading and navigational skills (but instead of “are we nearly there yet?” you might hear the very sly “are we on the A303 yet?”).

The Silence Game
Simple- the children have to be silent and the first one to make a noise loses. If you’re lucky, they might fall asleep!

Family Travel Insurance – easier than any game!
Wherever you are going for your spring break, make sure you have adequate travel insurance for your family. Even in the UK, travel insurance can cover you for cancellation of your trip (conditions apply) and abroad it can cover emergency medical expenses, preventing even minor mishaps turning into expensive and stressful situations. Cover for a family starts from under £10* and instant cover can be arranged through the 24/7 travel insurance site.

*Premium £9.75 includes Insurance Premium Tax based on 2 adults under 55 and their two accompanying children aged under 18 taking out a Standard single-trip policy for 3 days in Europe and travelling within 14 days of purchase. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press and are subject to change.