The holidays are a time of joy but they can also be a time of stress. From shopping to baking, wrapping and planning, you know better than anyone just how much goes on behind the scenes of a great holiday celebration. Add packing and traveling to that list and it’s enough to make you want to skip the holiday season altogether.
While you can’t anticipate every curveball holiday travel will throw at you, you can greatly reduce the stress of traveling with the whole family by putting in a little extra pre-travel prep time. Spend more time enjoying the company of your loved ones and less time worrying by following these family travel tips.
Pack with Care
When it comes to preparing for a family vacation it’s not just about what you pack but alsohow you pack. Keep in mind that once you reach your destination you need to be able to find little Tommy’s holiday sweater and the perfect gift you picked out for Great Aunt Jane.
Before you get out the luggage, sort your packing list by day as best you can. If you know you’re going sledding on the first day and to a cocktail party the second, put your winter gear on top on your little black dress. Layering outfits for the whole family will help you avoid the frantic moment when you’re tearing through your bags when you can’t find what you’re looking for. Also consider investing in a few travel organizers. They’re great for saving space as well as keeping the whole families toiletries in order.
If you’re traveling with little ones, see if you can lighten your load by calling ahead. If you’re visiting friends or family, ask what baby equipment they may have or if they know anyone they could borrow from for your visit. If you’re staying in a hotel, check to see if they provide a crib. You can even rent all of your baby necessities once you reach your destination from companies like Travel BaBees.
Give Yourself the Gift of Time
Whether you’re flying or driving to your holiday destination, expect the unexpected. You are sure to face delays, traffic, inclement weather or some other time-stealer along your way. Allow yourself extra time to reach your destination and you will find yourself much less stressed when traffic starts to back up. And if you do find yourself with time to kill, use that as an opportunity to spend some quality time with your family – that’s what the holidays are all about after all.
Bring the Fun
You never know how long you’ll be stuck on the road or in an airport terminal. Keep the kids entertained by bringing along plenty of books, and travel-friendly games like electronic travel Sudoku. If you have a smart phone or iPad, stock your mobile device with kid-friendly apps. In addition to addicting games and puzzles, there are some great apps designed specifically for travel that engage the whole family like Family Matters and Route 66 Fun Trip.
Don’t Forget the Snacks
Traveling can be very draining for little kids. Keep their spirits high and their stomachs full by having plenty of snacks readily available. Granola bars, pretzels, and crackers are great combatants against cranky kids. Avoid snack that are high in sugar and be sure to pack something for you to munch. Parents get hungry too!
What other tips do you have for reducing travel stress during the holiday season?
Bio: Beth is a writer for TravelProducts.com with a love of the open road. When she’s not planning her next road trip, she’s honing her skills as an efficient packer and finding helpful travel resourses to share with the travel community.