Our 5 Essential Holiday Travel Tips
Read 12 more Holiday Travel Tips
Flying with your family can be a daunting but necessary evil to if you want to spend the holidays with your family. Road trips are also pretty draining. With the holidays fast approaching (and AAA says it will be an especially busy travel season), we pulled together some more tips to make holiday travel easier, maybe even fun! (OK, probably not fun, but definitely easier).
Consider these nuggets of holiday help before you head out.
1. Go early
I always book the earliest departure I can. Sure, getting two kids up at 4:00 A.M. is no picnic, but the first flights out are the least likely to be delayed. Let your kids stay in their pajamas, which are cozy and warm on chilly planes, and keep clothes handy to change into when you land.
This goes for driving too. Kids wake up at the crack of dawn anyway, so embrace it and get on the road before the holiday rush starts.
Here’s what happens when we don’t: We recently attempted what should have been a three-hour road trip but didn’t leave until 11:00 A.M. on a Saturday. It took us an hour to go 16 miles! Our friends who left at 7:00 A.M. cruised through the same stretch of road. Lesson Learned!
2. Travel light (if flying)
Consider buying gifts online and having your parcels shipped to your destination. Then all you have to do is wrap the presents when you get there. The TSA want to know what’s in your carry on too. I’ve had wrapped presents opened by them before —with the recipient standing next to me. It’s a sure-fire way to ruin a surprise!
Keep in mind that no matter what you agree to with your family, your kids will wind up with a ton of new things at your destination. Consider sending yourself a care package, before heading home, with all these goodies. If you know your kids won’t be parted from their new toys, leave some extra space in your suitcase so you don’t wind up having to buy and check (and pay luggage fees on) a new one.
3. Don’t get Hangry
All parents know this rule for their kids but it’s easy to forget it applies to us, too. If travel plans go wrong it’s harder to bounce back and cope if you’re tired and hungry.
So toss your favorite grown-up granola bars into the carry-on along with all those kids’ snacks. And Always pack more than you need.
I fully embrace snacks that kids have to eat individually like puffs, or Cheerios. If it takes them a while to get through their snack that buys you ten minutes of quiet!
And don’t forget, even in winter it’s easy to get dehydrated with all the recirculated air in airports and planes —or the heat blasting in the car because the kids have the coats off. Water bottles for all are essential (you can fill them once you’re passed security). We love this one from Vapur, which folds up to nothing when empty.
4. Travel on the holiday
Some travel experts swear by this tip and it does work. Flights are cheaper and freeways are freer (in the morning at least). But plan ahead: Gas stations and food outlets might well be closed on Thanksgiving day or Christmas Day itself—which brings me back to tip 3!
5. Take Thanksgiving off this year
In every other country, Thanksgiving is just a normal Thursday. Ad in many places it’s low season, too. So consider a Thanksgiving vacation out of the U.S. It could be cheaper. And it will definitely be more fun sleeping in your grandma’s den with four other members of the family!
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