It’s the holiday season and families everywhere are getting ready to celebrate. A major part of the holidays includes traveling to be with loved ones. And many of you will be traveling with your little ones for the first time. Here are a few tips to make your holiday travel experience a more positive one so that you can keep your focus on what’s important and not stress about the little things.
Do your Research
Be familiar with your travel plan prior to departure. If traveling by car, know the route you plan to travel and any stops you think you would like to make. If traveling by plane know the location of your departure and arrival airports. Take into consideration airport transfer times when making plans. Try to leave little room for surprise as far as travel logistics are concerned before you leave. Know your hotel location, and all amenities that might be important to you like free Wi-Fi or free parking.
Avoid Peak Travel Days
If possible avoid traveling during peak travel days such as Friday, Sunday or day before a holiday. Also try to avoid peak hours such as flying in the later afternoon. Holiday travel periods are busy but you can make your travel experience easier by traveling on a non-peak day and time.
When traveling with children it is important to give yourself adequate amount of time to arrive to your destination. If driving to your destination include time for extra stops and unforeseen traffic. When traveling by plane, think about where you will plan to park your car at the airport, if you will need to take a shuttle bus and the checking in process. Don’t leave yourself stressing at the last minute, know that during the holidays extra travel time is a must.
When traveling as a family, many people tend to over pack. Try to keep packing to the basic necessities. Count out how many days you will be away and pack accordingly. If you are traveling to visit family and will have access to a washer and dryer, even more reason to pack light. Don’t forget to have a change of clothes for your child with you on your journey just in case. (Use Free Like Birdie Travel System Bags to keep your children’s clothes organized and contained.)
You will always need snacks for your children any time you leave the house. The words “I want a snack” have been heard by parents worldwide. If driving it’s helpful to pack adequate snacks for the trip going and coming home. This way you won’t need to worry about making an extra stop to get snacks when driving home. When flying, make sure you have enough snacks to get you through the trip to the airport and to the gate area. You can always stock up again on more snacks at the airport or upon arrival at your destination but try to be prepared.
If you have a smartphone it is always helpful to download apps that will help you with your trip. There are apps to keep you organized like Tripit and help you communicate like Skype. These free apps help families organized and able to connect with friends back home no matter how far they travel.
Sometimes there are changes to the plan that are unforeseen. Always make sure your car is ready for the road before departure and that you are properly prepared with necessary basic parts such as a spare tire. Be sure to have all important items with you on hand such as medications, important documents or a change of clothes. If traveling with a baby have enough diapers and wipes in supply in case there is a flight delay or cancelation. Keeping a small first aid kit with you while traveling with small children is always helpful, since some basic pain relievers cannot be purchased over the counter in some countries.
Activity Bag for Young Children
Whether in the car or inflight, it is always helpful to have a bag of age appropriate compact activities for children to play with while traveling. When packing activities, look for things such as stickers, small crayons or markers and books that can be easily carried in your child’s backpack. If you keep these items as a surprise until your traveling, the distraction usually will have a more sustained effect.
Mail gifts to destination prior to departure
If possible, mail your holiday gifts to your destination. This is one less thing you will have to deal with when loading up the car or packing your suitcase. It is important to note that wrapped packages in your suitcase might be unwrapped for inspection at the airport. Be sure to provide ample time for delivery since the mail system is saturated that time of year.
Keep the Holiday Spirit
The most important part of any travel experience any time of year is your attitude. If you keep a positive attitude during family travel, it will allow you to enjoy the experience so much more and your children will learn from your example to be positive while traveling. Remember the holidays in particular are a joyous time for celebration with family and friends; don’t let anything take away from that.
Rania Kfuri is an experienced traveler and the mother of two girls who love to explore the world. These family adventures led Rania to found her company @FreeLikeBirdie a company that designs and manufactures travel accessories for infants and toddlers. Visit them at www.freelikebirdie.com