You can’t seem to avoid holiday traveling if you have a large extended family. There are always get-togethers at Grandma’s or holiday dinners at Uncle Ed’s. Getting to these holiday functions requires smart traveling planning and knowing some good traveling tips can come in handy.
Did you know that car travel is the most popular way to travel during the holidays? 83% of traveling during the holiday season is done by car.
Long car rides can be especially challenging at any time of year, but add in a couple of excited youngsters and you may have some extra need for patience and organizational skills.
Here are a few tips for making your holiday car travels run more smoothly:
Involve the little ones in the planning stages so that they will look forward to seeing something that they helped to plan.
Include some kid-friendly stops along the way so that everyone will have a chance to stretch their legs and have fun at the same time.
Allow for extra travel time just in case there are traffic jams, or weather-related road conditions that slow you down.
Limit your road time to just 6 to 8 hours of driving time per day and have two drivers in the vehicle so that you can switch every two hours. Switching will make long drives easier.
Never make a rest stop when children are sleeping. Driving during sleep times allows for you to make the most headway because you won’t have to make any stops.
Pack a cooler with snacks and wipes for cleaning up before and after eating. Place the cooler between kids in the back seat so that they feel like they have their own space. The top of the cooler makes a cool place to play with cars and trucks too.
If you are flying you will need to be prepared for security rules. Time can be wasted if you are not prepared ahead of time for what you can and cannot take onboard the flight. Also, know what is allowed to be carried onboard with you.
As you approach boarding sections you will need to take out laptops as you get near the scanner. Getting it out ahead of time will save time and aggravation as others will not want to wait as you fumble around your belongings trying to locate your laptop. It is important to pay attention as you come to the other side of the scanner, so that you pick up your laptop and not someone else’s.
Holiday traveling with gifts has some special precautions as well when it comes to the security gates. Do not spend the time or money wrapping your gifts in gaily-colored wrapping paper because you will have to unwrap them in front of the guards. To avoid hassle, either wait until you arrive at your destination to wrap them, or mail them separately to arrive at your destination. Mailing them separately could also save you money as you may have to pay a fee if they put you overweight on the baggage.
Give yourself plenty of extra time so that you arrive at the gate before you need to. This way if there are extra security checks you won’t be late for your flight. Checking in always takes longer than you expect. A good rule is to be at the airport an hour before domestic flight times and 2 hours before international flight departure time.
There is not much you can do about snowstorms and other weather delays, but booking early-in-the-day flights will give you time to arrange other options for coping with these delays, like booking later flights or making other travel arrangements in order to fix the situation and still arrive at Christmas dinner on time.
Always check the status of your flight in advance of arriving at the airport. You can check the status of your flight on the airline website. You can usually sign up for automatic flight status notification right on the website so you can be notified by text message on your cell phone.
That airport website comes in handy when it comes to knowing where the nearest place to eat is at the airport and how close it is to your departure gate. Sometimes if you have a lengthly delay you might even find that your airport has a spa.
Always know what the plan is for once you arrive at your destination. Is someone picking you up, is there transportation arranged ahead of time like a rental car? Make sure that you have a printout of your driving directions to the hotel or other destination so that you don’t get lost once you get there.