Dad shares genius balloon travel hack

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 Photo: Getty Images

From the "I can't believe I didn't think of that" files comes this simple and cheap hack for travelling with kids: carry a balloon in your handbag.

Reddit user and parent orchid_breeder shared this tip recently. "Many times I have been saved travelling with balloons. They take up no space and are great for airports, especially on the way home when the kids are sick of all their toys.

"We've played with balloons in a hotel room when the kids needed to get energy out," they went on. "When I had a plane that was delayed, I was able to whip out a balloon that was in my carry on and blow it up. We found a gate that was empty and played volleyball over the seats for 90 minutes before the plane boarded.

"There are almost infinite balloon games you can invent with a balloon, and they work as well for 15-year-olds as they do for two-year-olds. All hail the great balloon. PS It's fun for me too."

And just like that, travelling with kids will never be the same again. My kids go nuts for balloons, and whenever they have them they end up playing a game where they have to keep it off the floor.

My only hesitation is that, as a bit of a balloon-phobe (I know how lame that is), what goes up must come down ... suddenly, with a bang.

Yes, you can use the clever hack of putting a bit of sticky tape over the balloon before you prick it with a pin, but there's still a chance it could pop at any moment and that makes me nervous.

And I can't imagine airport security would be massive fans either.

One commenter had a solution for parents like me who aren't massive balloon fans: they travel with an inflatable beach ball. "You can collapse them down to nothing and then inflate them in an empty gate of a layover airport to get some good run-around time in, then deflate them again to board."

Clearly there is a bit more planning with the beach ball, whereas you can just carry a balloon in your bag all the time, but both are genius ideas if you're going to be spending long periods in a confined space with bored children.

And cheap and easy entertainment that will also get kids moving is a great step forward.