Are we nearly there yet? Direct Line investigates how parents keep their kids entertained on holidays

27th August 2013

  • A quarter (25 per cent) of parents pack books to keep their child quietly entertained
  • Almost a fifth (19 per cent) equips their child with a camera to capture holiday snaps
  • Nearly one in five (18 per cent) keeps their child amused with a mobile phone
  • A seventh (13 per cent) bring their child’s video game(s)
  • One in eight (12 per cent) packs an iPad to keep their child occupied

Modern parents are still relying on traditional activities to keep their children entertained on holidays and the associated long journeys, a new study has found.

The research1 from Direct Line travel insurance found that although gadgets and gizmos are still popular ways of keeping kids content, the old ones really are the best ones. With their educational yet entertaining appeal, books topped the poll, with one in four (25 per cent) parents raiding the bookshelves when packing for their little bookworms.

Nearly one in five (18 per cent) parents are keen to nurture their child’s creative side when on holiday by bringing colouring pens and paper, with more women than men choosing this option (23 per cent vs 14 per cent). Other traditional and educational items favoured include:

  • Puzzles / puzzle books (one in six – 17 per cent)
  • Familiar bed toys (one in six – 15 per cent)
  • Comics / magazines (one in seven – 14 per cent)
  • Board games (one in ten – 11 per cent)

The most popular gadget to keep kids busy was a digital camera, with almost one in five (19 per cent) parents channelling their child’s inner David Bailey by giving them the opportunity to capture the memories on film for years to come. Other technological items include:

  • Mobile phone (one in five – 18 per cent)
  • Personal music player (one in seven – 14 per cent)
  • Video games (one in seven – 13 per cent)
  • Personal DVD player (one in eight – 12 per cent)
  • iPad (one in eight – 12 per cent)

Each of the technological items was favoured more by fathers than mothers.

Other parents fond of more active forms of entertainment packed ball games (one in ten – nine per cent), a rubber ring or lilo (one in twenty – six per cent) and some even took a boogie board and a dinghy away for a swell time in the sea.

Tom Bishop, head of travel insurance at Direct Line said: “Holidays are a time to relax and get away from it all, but they inevitably involve long journeys and extended mealtimes which can leave little ones restless. So when you’re travelling with children, it’s important to plan ahead and pack the right things to keep them entertained and keep parents’ relaxation levels up.”

Bishop continues: “It’s no surprise that the research found compact and easily transportable items so popular and gadgets proved to be particularly in demand. If parents plan to take expensive gadgets away, they should check whether the single item limit on their travel insurance policy is enough to cover their replacement and if not, they should speak to their insurer to see if they can raise the limit for an additional fee. It’s also worth checking whether the relevant gadget is covered on their home insurance policy away from the home.”

Notes to editors

For further information, including regional, age and gender breakdowns, please contact:

1 Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2,004 UK adults aged 18+ from 22nd to 26th March 2013. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides car, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0345 246 3761 or visiting

directline logo
Do you have any  insurance policies  with Direct Line?
Close ×
directline logo
Do you have any  insurance policies  with Direct Line?

Things you need to know about Over 50s life insurance:
Premiums stop after your 90th birthday but you still enjoy cover for the rest of your life. In the first year, if you die from natural causes we will refund any premiums, or if you die as a result of an accident, we will pay your cash sum. After the first year regardless of the cause of death we will pay your cash sum. Depending on how long you live, the total sum paid in premiums may be more than the cash sum payable on death. If you stop paying your premiums before the end of your policy your cover will stop 30 days after your missed premium and you won’t get anything back. This isn’t a savings or investment product and has no cash value unless a valid claim is made. Inflation will reduce the buying power of your cash sum in the future.

Close ×