The crowds, delayed flights, and rising levels of irritation from your fellow passengers can make traveling during the holidays feel like one of the worst decisions. November and December are the busiest travel months in the United States. Many people dread heading to the airport during this time, especially when they are traveling with young kids.
Don’t let your holiday travel get out of control. Manage your traveling stress with these simple tips:
Before You Leave
Booking the right flight
Timing is everything, and rush hour is not the time to be flying, especially during the holidays. Choose your flight departure time and day wisely. If you’re planning on leaving after work, make sure you estimate how long it will take to get through traffic. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are typically slower days to travel, and if you can take the time, choose a flight in the middle of the day.
Be efficient with your packing
Do you really need four options for coats? How many boots does your child need to get by for a week? Making smart choices with your packing is key. Depending on how you travel, opting to carry your luggage onto the plane could save you time when you arrive and also the hassle of lost luggage. If you plan on bringing home more than you started with, pack your smaller suitcase inside a large one and check the bag.
At the Airport
Speed through security
One of the best timesaving moves you can make is to register for TSA pre-check. For a nominal fee (paid every 5 years!) you can expedite your security process and minimize the risk of being late for your flight. You must bring two forms of government-issued ID and make an appointment, but it’s well worth it.
Be strategic about what you wear to the airport. Even with pre-check, having too many loose items like coats, scarves, and bags, can be a hassle and will slow you down. If you’re traveling with small children, keep all of their toys and belongings inside yours until you get through security. There’s nothing worse than sprinting back through the airport to claim a lost teddy bear at security.
Take preventative measures
If you’re traveling more than one time zone, chances are you will experience some form of jet lag. And during the holiday travel season, these symptoms can take an even bigger toll. Get ahead of your drowsiness with Jet Lag Rx, a certified organic and non-GMO medicine designed to minimize the feelings of fatigue and jet lag. Also remember to stay hydrated while you’re flying, and limit your alcohol intake to one or two glasses.
Bring fun activities for the kids
Traveling can be long and stressful for kids, especially when they get bored. Having plenty of activities on hand can make the difference between a peaceful flight and a nightmare. Depending on your preferences, there are lots of options to keep your kids occupied.
Colored pencils are a fun, easy, and mess-free activity you can both participate in. Bring coloring books and plenty of paper to keep your options flowing. If your child can read, load up your e-reader with plenty of books, both for the plane and for the rest of the trip. Choosing more mentally stimulating activities versus passive TV watching may also help your child fall asleep during the journey (woohoo!).
Make arrival plans
If you haven’t arranged your transportation after arrival, think about your plan about 20 minutes before the plane leaves. When you get on the ground, be prepared to wait in longer lines, especially for bags and taxis. Knowing what to expect and having a plan for it can help make your arrival much easier. If you know you’re going to have to wait for bags, take the kids to use the restroom while the bags are coming out. If you’re traveling with another adult, send one person to run ahead and hail the taxi while you finish getting the bags.
Holiday travel can be stressful, but you don’t have to be stressed out. Make a plan, take a few deep breaths, and remember these tips. You’ll be relaxing en route to your holiday destination stress-free!