Spicie’s Guide to Happy Holiday Travel with Kids

Spicie’s Guide to Happy Holiday Travel with Kids

 

By: Heather Jabusch

If your holiday travel has crossed the Griswold threshold, you’re doing it wrong!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again – at least that’s what the song says. Holiday festivities come with friends, food, gifts and quite often – travel! Traveling with the kids isn’t always fun. Travel, especially extended travel, is tough on the young ones. Following the tips we provide may not induce a rollicking, hand holding, signing merry songs trip that is all sunshine and smiles – but it should keep you from having a Griswold family adventure which is only fun on the big screen. Since it is often mom that takes charge of the kids on a trip – we hope these tips make your travels go a little easier, but P.S. to dads – they will work just as good for you too!

 
We have all witnessed children showing their butts off in public and said to our selves (or out loud), my child would not dare!  And if this is your children, than please read these tips to help avoid this behavior this holiday season and always.  It starts with you!  Children will pick up any expressions of anxiety or frustration over the trip, so do not share these feelings with them.  This includes them overhearing you on the phone; or any faces/reactions you may make while discussing your upcoming travels.

 
Be flexible! Enrich your family to be more flexible during holiday travel by discussing options or back up plans.  Talk out any trip related concerns with the kids at least a week prior to every trip.  It may be as simple as what to do with the pet or as complex as cancelled flights, but opening the communication in advance will help eliminate game day fright.  Get them involved in the planning and let them do a task to be part of the efforts and thus want to reap the rewards of their hard work.

 

 

Get healthy! Start the family on some vitamin C at least two weeks prior and during the trip (if possible).  Another great immune defense medicine is Echinacea, which is a natural herb that can be found in teas or the pill form.  Make sure everyone understands the importance of hand washing and germs.  Get the travel size hand sanitizers and have them easily accessible.  We do ours at the same time, right after getting back in the vehicle.  We keep one in the vehicle and I have one in my purse and work desk.   Your family is going to be around a lot of people and no one wants to get sick during the holidays.  This is the time to catch up, share social traditions, and show our best selves to our family, friends, and loved ones.

 

 

Always allot extra time for everything and leave early to help avoid crowds like this

Leave early!  Allow for unexpected delays like traffic or if you forget something and have to stop to replace it.   Enjoy the journey with your family and keep the stress levels down.  Use the extra time to engage each other by exploring new places, playing games or singing songs.  As a kid, my favorite car game was “I Spy.”  Another great car game is to see who can find the farthest out of state license plate.  Now, lots of parents have movies, IPods, or I Pads with games available to keep the kids entertained.  If not, then get coloring books, washable markers/colors, headphones to music and plan for other activities to keep your kids entertained during the down times.

 
Hot items!  Don’t forget the simple things that will aggravate you the most.  Make a detailed list and check everyone’s bags.  Hot items include: cell phones, chargers, tickets, reservations, important phone numbers, pillows, medical cards, passports, cameras, etc.  Take the list with you and use it to make sure you have everything for the return trip home.  Double win!

 
Be Responsible!  Keep your kids close and in your care.  Ball teams will come into the hotel for tournaments, and the parents will just let their kids go!  They will bang their baseball bats on each hotel door on their way down the hall.  The hotel staff, airplane attendants, and other travelers are not babysitters for your children.  Some people do not even like children.  Be careful who you leave your kids with and respect the fact that everyone is not on vacation and may not want to be distracted.  Make sure your plans include time for the kids to be kids, like taking them to a park and letting them play freely.

 
I have traveled with kids short and long distances; in vehicles and on planes.  For us, snacks are one of the biggest hot items for traveling with kids.  In no way am I saying stuff your child quiet, but we all know if we get hungry we get cranky, and the same is true with children.  Chewing food also helps small kids cope with air pressure changes that may otherwise make them upset.  Anything you can do to eliminate them from having a meltdown will also make the trip more pleasurable for you and your family.  If you have some tips you find extremely helpful, please share them with us, as all kids are not the same.  Wishing everyone safe and happy holiday travels.

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