‘Tis the season.. for Holiday Travel! While those words might be enough to strike fear into the hearts of the bravest mom and dad, there are some easy travel tips that will help get you to your destination safely.. with your sanity! It needn’t be another episode of FFF (Forced Family Fun…) if you incorporate a few simple things.
- MAKE SURE TRAVEL DOCUMENTS ARE IN ORDER: Do NOT do as I did one year and try to get passports for the kids a few weeks before our cruise. Though it can be done, why add cost and stress to the process? Plan ahead!
- INVOLVE KIDS IN THE PROCESS: You can do the heavy lifting, but the point is to let them and their opinions matter. Older kids spend time online and might be privy to points of interest that you are not. And we know how much more fun, ANYTHING is when you have a say in the outcome. Relinquish a little control and let kids help out.
- BE FLEXIBLE: Things are not always going to go as planned. It might be a situation where more goes wrong than goes right. Roll with it; sometimes the best adventures are those that are unplanned!
- DON’T BE TIED TO THE CLOCK: Whether flying or driving, I like to operate using a loose schedule. Things happen; flights get delayed, traffic gets bad and so on. Why stress out over stuff you can’t control? Take a breath and smile. You get there when you get there.
- LET KIDS PACK THEIR “GO BAG”: The go bag is the one with the toys they want to take. Let them pack it but you reserve the right for a heavy edit before you leave.
- PACK A SURPRISE! Combat boredom by putting something in YOUR bag that your kids have never seen before. For younger kids, it could be a new toy; for the older set, a book or candy (yeah I am THAT mom). Dollar stores are great for stuff like this!
- PACK FOR MINOR EMERGENCIES: Baby wipes, hand sanitizer, band-aids and anything else you think you might need.
- USE APPS! Apps are great for travel ( a couple of my favorites are Waze and Trip Case) but also for games and learning. Find out what’s hot and download before you board.
- PLAY ROAD GAMES: Not every moment needs to be staring at the screen. Bring back the fun of the family road trip with some old school games. My sister and I were especially fond of I Spy, The License Plate Game, The Alphabet Game and one I think my mom made up.. The White Horse Game. We got a nicke for every white horse we spotted. Yeah totally sounds made up.
- PICK INTERESTING STOPS ALONG THE WAY: On road trips, pack in time for multiple stops. Let the kids get out and explore and stretch their legs before getting back in the car.
- TRAVEL DURING OFF-PEAK HOURS: This is one of my favorite tips. When Casey and Cole were young, we drove mainly at night. They slept most of the time and when they woke up, we were at our destination. Also check early morning and late evening flights if your kids have the temperament for that.
- EVERYONE GETS A SAY: Put together a petty cash budget and let everyone take turns on how it’s spent.
- DON’T OVERPACK; DON’T OVER PLAN: Let there be some navel gazing time. It’s vacation; it doesn’t need to be as scheduled as work week.
- BUILD IN SOME DOWNTIME FOR YOU! Now you know me.. and you know I mean this. Take some time to be alone if you want, to rest, recover and rejuvenate. It’s your vacation too, remember.
What are your favorite tips for vacation travel?