You got through your Thanksgiving travels, now Christmas is on the horizon. This time of year, traveling with kids is on everyone’s mind; from grandma to the single person sitting next to your little “Angel” on the plane. To make matters worse, this is the most heavily traveled time of the year and everyone’s nerves are frazzled. So what can you do to make things as pleasant as possible for all involved? Here are some “survival” tips.
Pre-planning is key: Try to anticipate as much as you can. Long lines at the airport; wear slip on shoes, no belts, no excess metal on clothes. Leave the studded T shirt for when you get to grandma’s. While you are waiting on line, take off your jacket, take out your laptop and cosmetic baggie. Bring activities and food for the plane or car.
Do you need to bring a car seat? What’s available at your destination? Can you buy Pampers when you get there? Are there age appropriate things for your kids to do where you will be? Do your research ahead of time. Being prepared eliminates those unpleasant surprises.
Potty Trained?? If you are in the process of potty training, consistency is important. However, traveling may not work within your child's schedule. This may be the time to let go of the routine and consider using pull ups for the trip or at least on the airplane. An “accident” might be more of a setback than if you used pull ups during the trip.
Car seats, Strollers and other kid gear: If you have one of those car seat-stroller snap in models, you can take the seat on the plane and gate check the stroller frame. See what The Car Seat Lady has to say about airplane travel. You can also check out buses, trains & taxis on her site. For kids 22-44 lbs., you can purchase a safety harness . CARES FAA-Approved Safety Harness
Think about where you are staying: Location and size counts. Kids need room to play. A tiny hotel room can ruin everyone’s time. A family suite can eliminate a lot of stress. A washer and dryer or laundry facilities on site, can save packing, if you can do laundry mid-way (saves extra baggage costs too). Not all suites are high end luxury. There are many moderate priced accommodations; Embassy Suites, Extended Stay America just to name two.
Assign a family historian: Let the older kids be in charge of capturing photos. They can do that with a smartphone or an inexpensive point and shoot. If you have a writer in your family, they can journal about the vacation. After you get back, have them make a scrapbook, CD or a video of the family adventure. You can send it to grandma and grandpa as a thank you. For those of you into Pinterest, here are Travel Scrapbook ideas.
Lastly and most important, be flexible: Don’t be attached to your plans. If the kids are not enjoying something, scratch it. The reverse is true too. The purpose of all this is to be together and to have fun. Families form deep lifelong memories with each other when they travel together. That is what is most important.
You only have 18 summers with your kids. Pack in as many good times as you can.
May you have uneventful travels!
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