Things To Know

Top Travel Tips for Thanksgiving & Christmas

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, we pulled 5 tips we think are most essential for making Thanksgiving and Christmas travel easier, maybe even fun! (OK, probably not fun, but definitely easier).

Consider these nuggets of holiday help before you head out.

(Read 12 more Holiday Travel Tips.)

The 5 Most Important Holiday Travel Tips

1. Go early

busy airport, holiday travelI 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 and getting to the airport is a breeze.

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 rise early: We recently attempted what should have been a three-hour holiday-weekend road trip, But didn’t leave until 11:00 A.M Saturday morning. 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 in no time. 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.

Aside from not wanting to carry them, the TSA want to know what’s in your carry-on. I once had wrapped presents opened by them —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.

Your kids won’t be parted from some of their new toys. So leave extra space in your suitcase. When I didn’t do this I wound 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.

Vapur water bottle empty Vapur water bottle fullSo 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, which 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.

holiday travel can mean bad weather4. 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. And 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!

More Holiday Travel Tips

Here are 25 tips from the TSA and advice from AAA, too.

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