Family Vacation Tips

Family Holiday Travel Tips 2018

[fa icon="calendar"] Dec 4, 2018 6:33:00 AM / by Sally Black

Sally Black

The Top 10 Family Travel Holiday Tips for 20182018 is going to be a record-breaker for Holiday Travel!

According to AAA t 107 MILLION Americans will be traveling this year celebrating the holidays away from home. Santa has his sled and reindeer but the rest of us have to deal with trains, planes and automobiles.

Here are 10 of Vacationkids top travel tips for surviving holiday travel with your sanity...

1. Take a deep breath

Whether flying or driving the first thing I would tell parents is…You’ve got this.Travel is one of the best gifts you can give your kids. It’s a life skill they need to learn early… so you should be applauded.  Don’t stress. If you’re stressed, the kids will pick up on that and be stressed too. If things get overwhelming, have everyone take 3 very deep breaths and blow it out. Sounds silly but it helps!

2.  Allow PLENTY of Extra Time!!!

Airports & roads will be crowded. Normally if you’re flying, you need to be at the airport 1 hour prior to departure for domestic flights and 2 hours prior for international. During the holidays you need to double those times because check in and TSA lines will have millions of extra passengers.

If this is the first time you’re flying with a toddler younger kids consider a “dress rehearsal” day. Visit a local airport and have a lunch date. Give kids time to explore the airport when you’re relaxed and not rushing to catch a flight. If you’re driving, there will be traffic and parking challenges.  Schedule plenty of extra time in your itinerary for traffic snarls and extra pit stops with the kids.

3. Download Travel Apps

Make sure you have all the necessary travel apps downloaded in advance for airlines, cruise ships and resorts. This will make check in easier and help alert you to any delays. If you have a connecting flight, download the airport app to make connection easier. Most offer maps and a list of services.

If you made your travel plans with us then you'll already have all your tickets and vouchers  organized in our phone app for you. If this was a DIY trip then consider using an app like Tripit to stay organized.

4. Parents, Do Your homework!

If you’re flying, Make the time to arrange airport transportation and parking in advance. Know you’re airline luggage rules, especially if you’re traveling with kid gear like car seats and strollers. Have maps and routes printed in case you can’t get a GPS signal. Plan your food & gas stops in advance. If you’ll need a hotel stop along the way, make sure you make reservations in advance.

5. Know Luggage Rules Before You Pack

If you scored a really great price on those airline tickets, chances are you bought basic economy seats. These fares often mean you'll have to pay luggage fees, in some cases you'll even have to pay for carry on bags.  Don't be surprised spending extra cash at the airport. Know they rules in advance so that you can pack accordingly.

6. Be a Smart Santa

Holiday travel and gift cards are really a match made in heaven. If you want the surprise of actually opening presents, shop online and have gifts delivered to your holiday destination. If your home for the holidays is a hotel or resort, call ahead as there may be a fee for them to accept and hold deliveries.

As per the previous tip understand luggage rules and fees if you'll have gifts in your checked luggage. Be sure to keep anything of great value on your person at all times in your carry on bag (again, as per size and weight rules).  Make sure if you are traveling with gifts in your carry on bag, keep them unwrapped in case TSA needs to inspect them.

7. Relax the Rules

It’s holiday rules for the kids! This will make travel fun and will make time fly by. Unlimited screen time for movies and games (parents make sure your devices are loaded and fully charged).  Relax nap and bedtime rules within reason. Road trip games and sing a logs to a great play list if you’re in the car.

8. Reward Good Behavior

A dollar store surprise bag can go a long way to incentivize good behavior. Have some extra special treats tucked away as a reward or to be used in cases of emergency. Also if you're staying with relatives, reward them by using your best house guest manners and a thoughtful hospitality gift. Your actions set the example for your children.

9. Wet wipes, ziplocs and Costume Changes

These are your best friends when traveling with kids. Never leave home without them!(and that includes a costume change for parents too because "stuff" can happen when wrangling kids).

10. See the World Like a Child

Remember people, It's the holidays... and we all began as children. Kids are learning to control their  anger and frustrations. Travel can be scary. Take offs and landings can be painful for little ears. If, you're the lucky passengers who gets to sit next to that two year old or a moody 15 year old...be nice, be compassionate and be understanding. Strike up a conversation. Offer to tell a story. Engage the kids by showing them some of the pictures on your phone.  Keep a pad and some colored pencils with you for spontaneous doodling. You have the opportunity to effect a child's life in a positive way by demonstrating kindness. I do believe peace, joy and togetherness are what the holidays are all about.

Topics: family vacation ideas, Family Vacation

Sally Black

Written by Sally Black

Sally is the Founder of Vacationkids.com Travel Agency and author of the book "Fearless Family Vacations". She is also the Director of Travel Agent Initiatives and Training at The Family Travel Association.