Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner and many American families including mine, are getting ready travel for the holidays. If you are planning an traveling with your kids this year here are a few tips to help ease your anxieties.
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If you are flying with your children it is a lot easier navigating the airport with less luggage. Only pack the necessities. Make sure everyone has a tooth brush, but you can all share a tube of tooth paste. Bring along travel sized toiletries because they take up less space in your suitcase. Pack enough clothes to get through 2-3 days. Understand that you can do laundry while on vacation. If you are staying in a hotel find out where the nearest laundry mat is. Only allow your kids to pack one or two of their favorite toys. Any more than that will take up too much space in the suitcase. Share suitcases. You can have one suitcase for the parents and one for the kids. If you have a large family have your girls share a suitcase and your boys share a suitcase.
Keep the Kids Entertained
An eight hour car ride or five hour plane ride seems a lot longer for small children. Kids are impatient and hours go by slower than they do for adults. In order for the travel time to go faster make sure you pack items that will keep your kids occupied and their minds away from the long trip. If you are traveling by car a portable DVD player will provide hours of entertainment for your kids. You can pack their favorite DVDs in a flip folder instead of taking the whole case. These convenient folders can be purchased in the electronics department at any department store or at your local dollar store. Books can keep older kids occupied on long trips. You can pack activity books or chapter books for them to read. Have your kids pick out their favorite book from home or take them to the book store to purchase something new. Tell your kids that they have to wait until the trip to read their new book, or do the activities. Listening to music also helps the time go by faster. Tweens and teenagers love listening to mp3 players and they can create their own playlists. You can also bring along kid-friendly CDs for small children to listen to during a long car ride. If you are traveling on an airplane, download music apps such as Pandora, or Slacker radio for your phone, ipad or tablet. Make sure you bring along ear phones so that you do not disturb other passengers.
Plan your Itinerary Ahead of Time
Decide who you are going to visit and what you are going to see two weeks prior to leaving. If you are traveling by car and need to make an overnight stop book your hotel. Figure out where you will stop for your overnight and book a hotel in that city or town. This will save you a lot of time especially during the busy holiday travel season when many hotels are filled in advance. If you are visiting family or friends decide who you are seeing, when and where you will be going. Schedule an activity for every day of your trip to avoid confusing, disorganized last minute plans.
Traveling with your children does not have to be stressful. With simple planning and organizing you will have a more enjoyable family vacation. Relax and have fun with the time you spend with your kids on your trip. Before you know it you will be headed back home and back to work, school, and household duties.