Traveling as a family can be fun, but it can also be a challenge. When you’re juggling little ones, something as simple as paying a toll on the highway or navigating an airport can become more challenging than running an obstacle course. Add the stress of traveling with kids to the crowds and chaos that appear during the holiday season, and you’ve got a headache on your hands.
While the only way to truly eliminate the stress that comes from holiday travel is to stay at home, there are some steps you can take to make the experience a little less painful. Before you head out to visit family this Christmas, consider these smart ways to take some of the stress out of your holiday travel:
Do some prep work.
Don’t wait until the day before you’re set to travel to start preparing. The holidays are a busy time for everyone, but by making time to take care of a few things before you’re actually on your way, you’ll eliminate a lot of potential pain points later on. If you’re driving, make sure you aren’t due for an oil change or a tire rotation. Flying? Collect everyone’s ID’s and print your tickets off before you go (or pull them up on your app!) so you know you have what you need to board your flight.
Give yourself lots of extra time.
Rushing to get to your destination is never fun, and with so many extra travelers out and about, you’re sure to run into some delays. Whether you’re hopping on the highway for a road trip to visit family or you’re heading to the airport to catch a flight, you’ll want to give yourself more time than you think you’ll need.
Make a plan to keep the kids entertained.
Don’t assume your little ones will keep themselves busy or fall right asleep the moment you hit the road. Instead, plan for the worst and pack a bag filled with things that’ll keep them busy while you’re en route to your destination. Depending on their age, consider their favorite toys, puzzle games, coloring supplies, or a well-loved show loaded onto a fully-charged tablet.
Don’t skip the snacks.
Making a detour to grab a snack on your road trip isn’t always an easy option, and relying on the cookies or peanuts offered on the plane isn’t a great way to fill your stomach. When you’re gearing up for holiday travel, have a nutritious meal before you leave home, and if you’re going to run the risk of developing an appetite en route to your destination, make sure you bring some snacks to hold you and the rest of your family over. Be smart and choose easy-to-eat, low-mess snacks like trail mix, beef jerky, and fruit chews.
You aren’t the only stressed-out traveler trying to reach their destination in time for Christmas dinner. It’s important to remember this as you navigate congested roads, wait in long airport security lines, and deal with unanticipated delays. Instead of allowing yourself to get frustrated by the inconvenience of it all, be patient and considerate and embrace the spirit of the season.
As one of the most popular times of the year to travel, the Christmas season can be a stressful time to hit the road or take to the skies. However, getting to spend the holidays with loved ones who live far away is often well worth the hassle of reaching your destination. Embrace these tips as you get ready to travel this holiday season and see what else you can do to reduce your anxiety when it comes to holiday travel.