Plenty of people look forward to the holidays, including the family gatherings that go with it. When you have to travel, however, it can quickly turn into a frustrating and stressful time – especially if you’re traveling with your family. While there is no surefire way to avoid all holiday travel stress, you can put the odds in your favor for your big holiday trip.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Before you make plans
Before you start to make plans, make sure you’re all on the same page. Since families can be complicated, with multiple sets of in-laws and families to visit, you should be sure everyone is happy with where you’re going for the holidays. This needs to happen long before you look into flights, map out a route, or compare accommodations. You should also have an alternative plan just in case your first choice doesn’t work out.
Consider your children’s ages
Children tolerate travel differently, so think about your kids carefully before making any solid plans. If you’re going on a road trip, plan to stop frequently for smaller children. If you’re flying, be sure to prepare them for the experience. No matter the means of travel, be sure to pack some “ busy kits” with items sure to keep your child’s attention. You should also look at school schedules to know what days are official school holidays.
Share your itinerary
Traveling with a family can be challenging, but you’re going to have a smoother experience if everyone knows what to expect. This is especially true of younger children. So, remove uncertainty by making an itinerary of your trip. Include any activities you’re planning along the way and let everyone take a look. Seeing everything laid out makes it easier to imagine what the trip will really be like.
Plan for free time
Sometimes family members have diverse interests that can’t really be addressed in a single outing. For instance, if your spouse likes fishing but you and the kids want to spend time shopping, split up for part of the day and enjoy. There’s no rule that says you have to do everything together. Planning for free time also gives your children some potential downtime and lets you plan on-the-spot outings with those you’ve traveled to visit.