Traveling for the holidays is never high on anyone’s wish list, especially with kids, but it’s usually worth it to see your loved ones. Often, families will alternate travel years, and if it’s your turn this year, you’re in luck. We have provided you with plenty of tips to hopefully make your travels as safe and pain-free as possible.
Plan now! You know well that gas prices and flights go up around the holidays. The earlier you start budgeting and booking, the better off you’ll be. One important aspect people always overlook is time. Make sure you give yourself enough time to make connecting flights, as delays with TSA, weather and airline maintenance is inevitable. Also, for road trips, remember that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest time of the year. Consider leaving Tuesday night or Thursday morning for less traffic and stress.
With kids, you’re probably used to preparing for the unexpected. However, the holidays provide you with more tasks to accomplish, leaving you feeling stressed out – and with good reason. Before you leave on your trip, plan with your spouse or significant other ways to make everything work efficiently. Divvy up responsibilities and hold each other accountable. Also make your kids a part of the team as well! Give them small duties, and always be prepared for the “I’m bored!” mantra with snacks, games, movies or apps on your phone or tablet. Your sanity will thank you later.
If you’re flying, make things go more smoothly by only bringing carry-on bags, instead of checking them. This will help avoid the hassle of waiting for them on the conveyor belt. Another important tip for flyers – don’t wrap your gifts ahead of time! TSA may have to unwrap your presents to inspect them – for both carry-ons and checked luggage; it’s not worth it to see all your hard work go to waste.
For long road trips, being properly prepared is key. Yes, you may have your route all planned out on your phone via a maps app, but what if you lose service and get lost? Get a physical map and plan your route ahead of time – just in case. And although southern California has moderate temperatures all year round, your destination may offer different, more extreme, weather. Ensure your family’s safety by checking that your windshield wipers work properly, all fluids are topped off, and snow chains are in your trunk. While you’re at it, make sure to get your vehicle maintained and tires checked before you leave. Review your insurance policy beforehand so you know exactly what’s covered, in case something happens. And remember, your family will be happy to see you no matter what time you arrive, so drive safely, buckle up and always follow posted speed limits.
Holiday travel is never easy, but with proper preparation, it can be as pain-free as possible. Enjoy, and safe travels! W