Family vacations are an opportunity to disconnect from the day-to-day and reconnect with each other. It’s also a chance to unplug, literally, from the devices that all too often keep us disconnected from the world and one another.
What? No tech while traveling? Don’t worry. We’ve got some things you can pack on your next trip that provide entertainment, exploration, and family relaxation.
Tech-Free Family Travel Options
Board Games – Open up the game closet and pack a board game. Consider a game that can be finished in less than an hour as well as one or two that could last the evening. Classic games like Monopoly and LIFE are cross-generational and great games for grandparents to grandkids. Compact games such as Exploding Kittens, Bears vs. Babies, and Mexican Train Dominos won’t take up much space in your luggage.
Family Photo Essays – We have cameras on our phones but if you have old digital cameras, use those to teach your kids about photography. It gives them a creative new “toy” that’s an artistic outlet, and they’ll learn responsibility by taking care of it and being selective about what they shoot. Try a scavenger hunt on a hike or day trip. When you get home, you can make a slideshow of the trip that includes photos from each person in the family.
Puzzles – Pick your poison (number of pieces, that is). Choose puzzles that have many small pieces for a challenge that could last through the vacation. Depending on the child’s age, they can search for edge pieces while the adults fill in the center. Pack a Puzzle Mat that rolls up so you can take your finished, or unfinished, masterpiece home.
Books/Books on Tape – Books that the family can read as a group can be an engaging way to pass the time. While not strictly tech-free, audiobooks have wide appeal. The whole car can listen to the same book on the way to your destination. Popular family book series: Series of Unfortunate Events, Harry Potter, How to Train Your Dragon, Percy Jackson, Spiderwick Chronicles.
Art Journaling – Blank sketchbooks or think paper, glue sticks, markers, washi tape and just about anything you can pin down to a page can make what might have been a boring afternoon into an adventure in art. Choose a theme or free-form it to see how each person’s inner artist emerges. There are no rules, just creative expression.
Postcards and Stamp Collecting – This may sound old fashioned, but our kids loved it. Stop by the post office in the location you have traveled to, especially if it’s overseas; you will find unique stamps. Take postcards or stationery with you to mail to friends and family sharing your adventure.
Paper Maps – Children often feel out of the loop when traveling. Get paper maps of your destination and surrounding areas. Spend time looking at your travel route and where you are heading. The children can become navigators along the way. You won’t need GPS with a great map.
A Few Tech “Light” Options
We know it’s impossible to totally disconnect, so we’ll have some “light” tech options for you on Monday.
Tech-Free Family Vacation — Final Thoughts
Traveling with family is a time-honored tradition. The modern travel challenge is to plug into the family and the destination while untying the tether of technology. With a little strategic planning, your next trip can be one that achieves this goal, charing cables not required.