Nothing else brings the same mixture of excitement and dread to a parent than holiday travel. Taking kids on the road or through the airport can bring some anxiety, to say the least! Here are some tips for easy holiday travel with kids to get you through 2019.
Oh, December. It’s bitten me in the butt every year. To be blunt about it.
As a runner, it falls smack in the middle of my fall and winter training.
That means long runs on the weekends, hydrating like crazy, and stocking up on the gear I need for races. (And by gear I clearly mean running costume pieces, because, hey, who am I trying to fool here?).
December is one of the few months I don’t travel for races, but family travel is completely ON the calendar.
Five Tips for Easy Holiday Travel With Kids
Almost every December we take a trip to see family in California or Texas. Our plans are still in flux for 2019, but even if we stay home, there’s always another trip to plan.
It’s also the month where spending can get a little, shall we say, out of control. Especially when we do add travel to the mix.
Airfare for six isn’t cheap, yo!
Holiday Travel Tip 1: Use a Travel Reward Card
Be sure to check them out and pick the one that will fit best for you.
I use a variety of cards depending on the trip I am planning. Even those running costume pieces will earn me miles- holla!
Be sure you pick one with flexibility.
I like the ones that allow you to decided when, where and how to use your miles: flights, cruises, Uber rides, hotel stays… you name it.
Bonus for the cards that allow you to choose your airline: you aren’t married to a particular one.
Holiday Travel Tip 2: drive during off-peak times
We’ve made car trips that start at night to avoid traffic that you usually find on the road during the day.
Planning the driver’s sleep schedule ahead of time (and maybe some extra coffee on the way) is important.
Those trips are the most peaceful, however, for parents whose kids will sleep through the night and don’t pull the “how much longer” whine every 10 minutes.
If you are traveling with teens and tweens, you’ll want to be mindful of their, ahem, special needs.
Holiday Travel Tip 3: Utilize Apps
Apps like Waze can help with traffic.
Downloading your airline or airport app can keep you abreast of changing conditions about your flight.
My weather app helps from planning to packing to travel- I’m such a weather nerd!
Holiday Travel Tip 3: Be flexible
It’s the holidays, and that means there are a lot of people trying to do the same thing you are: take advantage of time off from work and school, head out to see family or visit exotic new places.
What that really means is that your entire state is going to end up on the same roads or at the same airport AT THE SAME TIME.
Mercy. It’s going to be crowded.
Try to pad in some extra time and lower expectations when it comes to some things.
Holiday Travel Tip 5: Smile
May the holidays be merry and bright for everyone- even if that jackhole who cut you off on the freeway ends up being your seatmate on the plane.
Or your kids are acting up just a bit at the airport.
Try to have fun with it anyway.
In the words of Clark Griswold, “It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. You’re gonna have fun, and I’m gonna have fun…”
I’ll leave it at that.
Do you have any travel tips for the holiday season? Where would you like to go this year?
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Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)