Holiday travel seems to have become synonymous with the word stress. If we’re not careful, we can quickly forget what the holiday season means to us and our loved ones because we’re so wrapped up in the details of planning the trip to Grandma’s and making sure that we bought gifts for each of the 32 people in our extended family. Here are four stress free travel tips to make this holiday season the best one yet:
Time your travels well. Depending on how far you’re going, and by which means you’ll get there, you’ll want to do some planning so that you’re not just avoiding big-city traffic, but also getting in a lot of road hours while the kids are sleeping. If you’re flying, you’ll want to do the opposite so that kids are alert and easy to deal with while going through security and boarding the plane.
Travel light. Keep everyone’s wardrobe super simple; take two tops for every bottom and rethink the need to take more than three or four outfits since it doesn’t cost much or take a lot of time to do a load of laundry. For little girls, think leggings in staple colors like black and brown and tops that can be worn with either pair. Use some accessories like hair bows, scarves and hats to dress your outfits up and down, depending on the occasion.
Give up the gifts. To avoid the stress of shopping for so many people, and having to take them unwrapped in a piece of checked luggage, to the tune of $100 or so, suggest that your family members just draw names and each person gets a gift or gifts from one person, not each family. Or skip the gifts altogether and use the money to spend the day on an outing to do something like visit the local children’s museum, take in a show at the theater or spend a day at an amusement park.
Make the trip worth the wait. Take along small gifts and snacks to dole out every 30 to 60 minutes, depending on your kids’ ages and how long you expect them to stay occupied with the treats. Some great kids travel activities and kids travel toys include: sticker and activity books (if you’re crafty, check out the ideas for felt busy books on Pinterest or get some printables from Family Education), stencils, new games on the iPad, books from their favorite series or author, and treats that are infrequently eaten and aren’t messy.
What are your best tips for stress free travel?