10 Fun Family Bonding Ideas For Traveling Families

As a worldschooling family, especially one who does long term family travel, finding opportunities to connect with your family is a priority. And no matter where we are in the world, coming up with fun family bonding ideas is key to making our travel experiences memorable.

We know it isn't always easy to find activities that everyone in the family wants to do. When we travel, we often do homeschool activities to keep the kids learning during this time. But sometimes the kids want something that isn't necessarily education geared. And sometimes what's fun for one kid isn't considered fun for another.

That's why I decided to put this post together. I know how important family bonding time is for families who travel. So I've tried to find fun family bonding ideas that you can do at home or on the road.

This post was updated on May 12, 2022.

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Our kids bonding in Spain (February 2022)

Using bonding activities for families as a way to connect

Whether you're at home or traveling, you're going to occasionally come across down time. While it's always good to use the down time to focus on "me" time, you can also use the down time to focus on family time.

Use the down time to connect deeper with your family. In other words, use this time as an opportunity some family bonding ideas with your kids. Spending family quality time together is a good thing.

If you're on a family vacation together, take a few minutes each day to do some family bonding ideas together. Create a new family routine or tradition. Really get to know your kids and your partner if you have one. 

Bonding during travel (February 2020)

Building relationships through these family bonding ideas

Whether you're a family in bustling Jakarta, or camping on properties in rural America, bonding time is important for families. And regardless of where you are in the world, there are ways that you can connect meaningfully connect with your family.

These last few years have thrust us in situations where we have to be with each other for extended periods of time. In order to get through those situations, communication is key. And this is especially important for families.

Being able to communicate your needs, and allowing others to communicate their needs is an important dynamic to all families. But that level of communication doesn't happen overnight. It takes time to cultivate the trust and understanding needed to have open communication channels.

That's why doing activities together is a good first step. Daily life is full of distractions. But during travel, all those distractions are lifted. It's the perfect time to bond and connect!

Read more of my posts focused on indoor activities you can do with kids during travel.

Playing songs on the ukelele on our balcony (April 2020)

Our favorite family bonding ideas for traveling families

As a traveling family, we don't always have many resources on hand. It takes a bit of creativity and flexibility to do family bonding activities. Fortunately, there are many things that families can do together no matter where they are in the world.

Most of our favorite family bonding ideas tend to be those that inspire travel in our kids. Sometimes we like to hike together, or spend time in the outdoors. Other times, we like to bond by visiting theme parks like Disneyland or experiencing a new city.

Our bonding activities don't necessarily have to be travel related either. We can have fun as a family just hanging out at home. Here are eleven of my favorite activities that our family likes to do together.

A mother and kids doing family bonding activities in Singapore at Gardens by the Bay
Hanging out in Singapore, before the outbreak (January 2020)

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1. Binge watch your favorite travel movies or shows

With so many options for watching movies online, including Amazon Prime Video, it’s easy to do movie marathons as a family. Have your kids pick their favorite travel-themed movie or show, and then spend a night watching them together.

You can also use this to prepare for trips too. Before our trip to the Harry Potter studio tour in London, our family binge-watched the Harry Potter movies to prepare and get in the Harry Potter mood.

Watching drawing videos together on YouTube (March 2020)

2. Cook a meal together

During quarantine or lockdown, everyone has to eat. Rather than have your kids sit on the sidelines, involve them in the cooking process. They can have responsibilities for various parts of the meal. Or they can even create the menu for the meal!

Cooking with grandma in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (April 2019)

3. Practice meditation as a family

One of the family bonding ideas we started taking up while slow traveling is meditation as a family. It’s amazing how much this can help kids to settle down after a crazy day!

If you haven’t done meditation before with your kids, have them start small with one or two minutes. Every few days, add an extra minute to make the meditation longer. Our kids are now able to sit through at least eight minutes of meditation!

A meditation space at an eco hotel in Padang Bai, Bali, Indonesia where families can do family bonding activities
Our meditation space in Padang Bai, Indonesia (November 2019)

4. Learn a new skill together

Travel offers great opportunities to learn a new skill. So why not do it together with your kids? Throughout our travels, we've taken chocolate workshops and cooking classes with our kids. Our kids have so much fun learning new skills with us.

The best thing about learning a new skill together is that they're family bonding ideas that incorporate an educational component too. During our down times, our family has been learning how to draw using a drawing book I bought online. We all do the drawing exercises together, and share what we’ve drawn afterward.

Learning to draw (March 2020)

5. Family bonding ideas that encourage being active

Nothing beats boredom like movement. If your kids are feeling lethargic and bored during your travels, do some quick exercises together. YouTube is a great resource for finding exercise videos.

We also like going out to trampoline parks and playgrounds. If you have a trampoline in your backyard, this makes for some excellent bonding activities for families.

Jumping at a trampoline park in Jakarta (November 2019)

6. Make a movie or music video together

For some fun and silly family bonding ideas, why not make a movie or music video together? If you have an iPhone, you can use iMovie to splice video clips on your phone into a movie. And you can add music too!

If you have an Android phone, there are a few recommended in this article (fair warning, I haven't used any of them yet).

Using a smart phone to do family bonding activities
Using a phone to make movies (July 2014)

7. Make it a karaoke night

If your kids know how to read, then karaoke night is a must! Again, we like to use YouTube to find videos with lyrics. It’s free, and there is a large variety of musical content on YouTube.

And if you're traveling, going out to a karaoke place is a fun way for kids to step out of their comfort zone and try something new. Encouraging kids to try new things is what helps them to become avid travelers.

Singing karaoke in our Airbnb in Hanoi (April 2020)

8. Family bonding ideas focused on game night

Game night is also a fun activity to do with kids during, whether you're at home or traveling. We have a variety of travel card games that we bring with us no matter where we go in the world. Our all time favorite game to play is Stack The Scoops, which we created as a family and sell online. But we also like to play Uno, Sushi Go, and story dice with the kids.

If you don’t have access to physical games, you can see if these games are available as an app. We like playing Mysterium, Connect Four, and Memory on our phones.

Story dice for game night and family bonding activities
Story dice for family game night (March 2019)

9. Give your family a spa day

Sometime during travel, what you really need is to pamper yourself. During our travels, we occasionally like to splurge and spend the day at a spa or hot springs. We've visited hot springs in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, and also visited some Bali hot springs in Indonesia. And during our Andalucia, Spain road trip, my daughter and a did a girls visit to a hammam, a traditional Moroccan bath.

If you're not able to do a full-on spa day, why not do an at-home one! Spend an evening painting nails, getting facials, and doing massages. If you have a bathtub, put some bath bubbles or bath salts into the tub, and take turns soaking.

Toya Devasya hot springs and spa in Bali, Indonesia (October 2019)

10. Go camping in the woods or at home!

We love to go camping! We've been camping with our kids even when they were toddlers (don't believe what others say, camping with toddlers is so much fun!).

But the best part about camping is that you don't have to go anywhere to do it. If you have a tent at home, and you have a large enough space, why not pitch a tent in your living room? Your kids can put their favorite stuffed animals, blankets, and pillows into the tent, and use it as their fort. 

Read here for even more ideas of outdoor activities you can do with your kids.

Backyard tent camping for family bonding activities
Pitching a tent at home (May 2017)

Doing these family bonding ideas at home and on the road

Wherever you are in the world, having fun things to do at home with family can help make this stay at home period much more bearable. And it can also help to bring your family closer than you’ve ever been before. 

If it’s one thing I’ve learned from traveling full-time with my family for the past year and a half, it’s that family time is precious. Someday, your kids will be grown up, and you won’t have that time together anymore. So make bonding time with family a priority for your family. And use this time to really connect.

Are there family bonding ideas you do with your kids that isn't on this list? Share it below in the comments!

Gearing up for a big family travel adventure? Use my ebook, Hey Kids, Let’s Go Travel! as a resource for tools, advice, and action steps for planning your trip.

Ten Family Bonding Ideas For Worldschooling Families | The Wandering Daughter

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