It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? There’s pictures to be taken, cards to order and send, turkeys to brine, gifts to be bought/wrapped/mailed, cookies to be baked…the endless list goes on and on. Adding to the possible anxiety of the season…traveling. Traveling with kids at that. Each year increasingly more people hit the roads, airports and trains, spending the holiday break away from home. There are a few key tidbits that should set your vacation on a smooth start.
Prep, Prep, Prep!
This is the top, most important thing you can do for yourself to make the traveling day seamless. I’m a big fan of making out packing lists. Pack absolutely as much as you can (clothes, snacks, entertainment, etc) the day before you leave. Try to only leave out the very last minute essentials, otherwise, pack everything else! Gather all of your luggage in one pile or area so you aren’t searching for the lost DVD player the day of your trip. Especially if you are leaving early in the morning, set a few alarms. Naturally the day it is important to be on time is the day your alarm clock has a glitch. Make sure if you’re using your cell phone, that it is not set on silent or vibrate. No one wants to be the frazzled family from Home Alone running through the airport.
Dollar Bins and Stores Are Your Friend
Kids have their favorite toys and activities they like to do on trips, sure. However, especially since we are on the topic of holiday traveling that can involve delays, I always bring a few new things they haven’t seen before. I love to visit the dollar bins and stores to get new markers, coloring/activity/crossword puzzle books, little toy trinkets, travel games, whatever I think will peek their interest. If I have time, I’ll even wrap them so it’s like opening a fun little gift each time. Even if you think you have packed enough for them to do, pack two to three more. Besides kids activities, I also like to visit the travel section of Target to get small, “airport approved” cosmetics and first aid.
Early Bird Gets The Worm
The earlier you leave, the less chaotic things should be. Chances of delays should be lower, waiting in long security lines, less drivers on the road…it will be worth saving frustration and meltdowns on later!
More Is Better
I’m one of those that goes by the saying, ” Better safe than sorry”. If you are traveling with young kids especially, bring an extra pair of clothes (in your carryon if you’re on a plane). Pack travel size snacks. If you’re hitting the road, I love those divided school bins to put a drink and a few food items inside. Pack gum for kids to chew on during the takeoff and landing to help with their ears if you’re flying (pacifier works well for babies). Half jokingly, I pack some cheap earplugs and cash if I need for other airline passengers if I’m traveling with a cranky baby.
Lastly, pack patience. Chances are a lot of families around you are having the same kind of day! If you have done all of the above, then you have done everything you have control over. Breathe, and reward yourself with an adult beverage at your destination. Happy Holidays!