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Holiday travel tips

Holiday Travel Tips For Families

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We’re right around the corner from the hustle and bustle of the holidays and the travel that goes with it. I have this imaginary scene that keeps dancing in my head: my family is all smiling; we breeze through the TSA checkpoint at the airport; encounter nothing but happy people along the way; and our son never gets bored, hungry or tired.

All of a sudden I’m startled back to reality and wonder if I’m crazy to travel during one of the busiest times of the year, and all of these pleasant images fade away with fear. However, with a little pre-planning and patience along the way, maybe dreams can come true by following these simple holiday travel tips.

Lighten the Load

You’ve spent hours picking just the right gifts for your friends and family members, wrapped them with care and fluffed the bows. Consider mailing them ahead of time so you aren’t worried about them getting smashed in the car or on an airplane.

I’ve seen it happen more than once, individuals show up at the airport checkpoint with their beautifully wrapped gifts to experience the employees having to unwrap them and throw away your hours of work because wrapped packages aren’t allowed through security checkpoints. If you still want to carry a gift on board with you, phone ahead and follow the guidelines to save some disappointment.

Travel with Healthy Snacks

Let’s face it, finding healthy snacks in the airport or in a convenience store when traveling by car can be hard to do and can also be costly for your family. I like to plan ahead and have some snacks ready to go that will: pass the security checkpoints, be easy to eat on the go, and provide a little more nutrition than the potato chips that are so easy to buy.

My son is usually happy if I pack string cheese, Cheerios, apples, bananas and packaged fruit snacks. I’m happy because they take up little room and are easy to clean up in confined spaces.

Dress Accordingly

As we know, airplanes and automobiles are not as roomy as our living room and temperatures can’t always be controlled. My best advice is to dress in thin layers so you can be comfortable enough to move freely and then easily store the clothing if you need to remove a layer or two. I have vivid memories of traveling as a child with everyone’s coats and pillows stuffed between my brother and me in the backseat—if we’d only known about layering!

Also remember that it’s likely that you’ll have to remove your shoes at the airport security checkpoint. Keep this in mind as you plan your travel wardrobe and try to select slip on/off shoes so this is an easy task.

Don’t Forget Medication

Make sure you have necessary medications readily accessible. If you are traveling by airplane, double check the guidelines for what you can bring on board and pack liquid medication in your checked luggage if necessary.

I travel with a complete printout from my pharmacy of each of our prescription medications, name and phone number of prescribing physician and the pharmacy phone number just in case we have a situation arise so we will be able to easily replace something. This is a lot easier than already being frustrated and then having to figure out what to do. I also carry on simple items such as Tylenol, ibuprofen and cough drops, as well as hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to protect my family from germs the best I can.

One of my most important holiday travel tips is: Remember to be patient. Things won’t always go as planned, but if you’re patient and calm, you work through it and everyone can have a memorable trip.

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Airport photo by Charclam / CC BY-SA 2.0

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Marti resides in rural northeastern Oklahoma where she works with corporate, association, and government clients as a meeting planner. She enjoys traveling, whenever possible, with her husband,…

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