Taking the Kids Logo
November 7, 2014
Our annual tips on surviving holiday family travel
Scene from the classic movie Christmas Vacation (1989)


Dear Family Travelers:


Are you ready for holiday travel?  


You are about to take the kids on a great adventure-traveling through the busiest days of the year? All to eat too much and spend the weekend with relatives you might barely be able to tolerate (some of them, anyway)?   


Here are our Taking the Kids Tips to Holiday Travel that aim to reduce the travel stress and maybe save you a little money in the process:


1. Juggle your dates. Travel the weekend before Thanksgiving or on Thanksgiving morning. Same thing for Christmas. Major search engines like www.kayak.com let you see the prices if you shift your travel by a day or two.  You may be able to avoid massive traffic too.

2. Book a nonstop flight, even if you have to pay more. Consider alternative airports.The planes will be packed and if you miss your connection - all it takes is one major storm somewhere - you won't find enough seats on the next flights for your family. And pay extra for economy-plus seats , especially if you are traveling with young children. It may be the only way you can guarantee getting seats together on packed flights.

3. Sign up for TSA Pre Check : You and the kids can speed through domestic security lines without taking off your shoes, belts, etc. Kids under 12 can go with parents who are part of the program.

4. Buy a seat for the baby and toddler and bring their safety seats onboard.Yes, they can fly free until they are two, but everyone from the FAA to the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that young children are far safer - not to mention more comfortable - in a safety seat, especially when a flight hits turbulence. You'll have a more comfortable flight too.

5. Allow extra time, whether you are flying or driving. You'll need it!

6. Stash away sandwiches, snacks and reusable water bottles in the car or your carry-on bag. You not only feed the kids healthier en route but also save considerable money and time.

7. Be prepared with something new to entertain the kids enroute-a movie for the tablet, a video game, a holiday book you can read together, a mini toy or game.

8. Keep that hand sanitizer handy and use it often. Ask your pediatrician to recommend a physician in the area you'll be visiting, particularly if any of your kids has a chronic condition. And consider travel insurance. You'll be covered if you can't travel because of illness or have to stay longer if, for example, your child gets an ear infection and can't fly.

9. Make sure kids who are flying as unaccompanied minorsknow where they are going. Yes, kids have been put on wrong flights. Give them a cell phone and all of the phone numbers they might need. Teens who aren't being supervised by airline personnel need to know that if their flight is diverted or if they miss a connection, they've got to speak up and tell the gate agents and flight attendants they are alone. You don't want them to get lost in the shuffle.

10. Say thanks but no thanks to the relatives and opt for a hotel or B&B to keep some space for yourselves. You'll find a lot of deals, especially on weekends in cities and holiday weeks in suburban hotels when the business travelers are gone.

Most important, keep your cool. No matter what happens, getting angry and upset won't help. Just remember, you'll have another story to tell around the holiday table.



And from our partners at Family Travel Forum


 Our Kids' Guides Series from Globe Pequot Press continues to grow. Now available: New York, Orlando, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and San Diego.  San Francisco and Denver are coming soon!


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