If you’re traveling with the family this holiday season, keeping the peace and keeping things moving is key. Here are some great ways to help keep your travels fun for the kids—and stress-free for the adults.
There’s nothing quite like spending the holidays with the family. Sharing the good times and seasonal traditions creates warm memories that will last a lifetime. But getting to your destination with kids in tow can be a whole different story. The long holiday lines at the airport, flight delays, or heavy traffic on roadways can test any adult’s patience, let alone that of even the most easygoing kid.
There are, however, ways you can navigate the perils of traveling with the whole family during the holidays. Check out these tips for making that travel time with kids easier, more fun and less stressful.
Fly Through the Airport
Airports during the holiday rush: not words anyone loves to hear, but there are a few simple steps that can take some of the sting, and waiting, out of the experience. When flying, pack light with carry-on bags if possible, avoiding that long wait in the dreaded bag-check line. And keep tabs on your flight status online, via the airline’s website or your favorite travel app. Often you’ll find the option to check in online, skipping even more airport-wait time. Smartly saving time when flying, especially during the already crowded holidays, can go a long way toward keeping kids, and parents, happy and sane.
Plot Activities Along Your Route
We all know that longer drives can lead to restless kids. So if you’re driving this year instead of flying, and time allows, try to think ahead and keep a look out for unusual roadside attractions to help break up the time…have you ever seen the giant dinosaurs towering 30 feet above I-10 in Cabazon, California? Or the World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City, Kansas? Even pulling off at a scenic park or having a family picnic at a well-maintained rest area along the way can do wonders for breaking up the monotony.
Keep Kids Busy and Engaged
Offer kids a new toy or game. A game, stuffed animal or activity book (think: a holiday-themed coloring book) will go a long way in keeping little ones entertained. Head to your nearest dollar store and stock up for the trip with out spending a lot of money
For the 21st century kid, an e-reader or tablet offers “page after page” of engaging material. (Bonus: tablets offer plenty of kid-friendly games, too.) If you’d rather she be tech-free for the trip, let her pick out a few books at your local library.
Keep a holiday travel journal
If you have a child old enough to write, give him a journal and let him record details of the vacation. Encourage him to jot down the family’s adventures, yummy meals (holiday home cooking!) and interesting experiences. It’s a great way to record holiday memories you can all look back on.
Give her an inexpensive digital camera or a disposable camera and let her get creative. She’ll be able to document her experience, plus capture some photos of mom and dad on vacation.
With a little bit of planning, you can keep the whole family in good spirits while setting the tone for fun, stress-free traveling this holiday season.