Holiday Travel Tips

This is the biggest travel day of the year.  Many people hit the highway, airways, or even railways.  Traveling is one of the single most stressful things that one person can do.  What is the weather going to be like? Will my flight be delayed?  Did I pack my toothbrush? Did I pack my underwear?

Questions that will only be answered once you realize that you have no underwear at all to wear.  Hopefully, this won’t happen to me as I will be traveling to family who live on a farm and I will not have the luxury of having a Wal-Mart within 60 miles of their house.

This a very stressful time for parents, many of which will be traveling with little ones.  Screaming in the back seat, changing dirty diapers on the side of the road, stopping every hour or two just to let the little ones go the bathroom do not make for easy travel.

To make for easier traveling here five tips one should follow.

1.  Plan your stops accordingly

Pre-planning your stops can help all of your fellow travelers understand how long to “hold it” or until they can get a chance to stretch their legs.  Make them apart of the planning of the stops so that they can see just how long they will be in the car.  Also you would be able to tell them “Well you picked that stop so we have to wait until then”

 2. Pack a Bag of Toys

Some may consider this a no brainer.   But when you are traveling with a toddler who won’t want to stay in his car seat for very long this is something that will help.  Pack the back with his favorite toys or stuffed animals.  Our carseat has a cup holder and make sure that you have it attached so that he can have a drink whenever he wants and you are not reaching around to give him some water.  Just make sure it has a no-spill lid or you might have to make an unexpected stop that you didn’t plan on.  (See Tip #1)

3.  Try to hit Naptimes

This is ever more so crucial when traveling with toddlers and infants.  They do not like to be strapped into their carseats for very long so if you can get most of the trip out of the way during a 2 hour nap time it will help tremendously.  Plus this way atleast you get some sort of peace and quiet.  That maybe reason enough to start your trip off at a naptime.

4.Find Rest Area’s or fast food joints with play areas

This goes along with tip #1.  But this is one way for the children to get out, stretch their legs, and let out some of the energy they have had from Naptime, or from reading books that they have been pulling out of their backpack that you gave them.   The only downside to this is that many other traveler’s with children have either read this tip or already knew this and will probably be there at the same time as you will.  Screaming kids alert!

5. Ear Plugs

Do I really need to elaborate?

I hope that these tips will help you in your holiday travels.  Traveling with children is one of the worst parts of parenting but the great thing is that it usually happens only three times a year vacations, Thanksgiving, and Christmas!  Good luck!

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  1. As a veteran of the 4hr +/- road trip with 2 kids and a dog, I give this post my seal of approval. Some great tips in here, especially about planning your stops. We used to try ye old “wait until someone sounds the alarm” theory, but have since moved on from such foolishness. Also a great tip about planning around nap time. We now either leave right before the 2yo’s afternoon nap or just before their bedtimes.

    One thing I would add, and it’s not for everyone as I used to be a hater when I had one kid but now am a believer with two, is the portable DVD player. I don’t care if it’s cheating or this isn’t how it was done in the past with laments for “punch buggy” and “I spy” and all that, if it buys you an hour + of peace, it’s worth it!!!

    Oh, and you say plenty of toys, I say plenty of snacks. Long live cereal bars and squeeze packs!!

  2. Terez says:

    These are fantastic tips, but please allow me to add one warning about tip #4 – finding public play areas. Parent should make sure to ask restaurant management when was the last time the play area was CLEANED. If they can’t show you a log proving the play area has regular, frequent cleanings, avoid using it! This is so important for hygienic reasons!

  3. Left Coast Dad says:

    Learn to love the Wiggles. The opportunities to listen to Motorhead are few and far between with small children. Bringing a couple of CDs of the kids music also helps.

  4. James Hudyma says:

    Great tips. I find it so fascinating that our countries can be connected, for the most part speak the language, and share most holidays, and yet we both have elements of our culture that are completely unique. While we do celebrate Thanksgiving (for a different reason) in Canada it just isn’t as big a deal as it seems to be in the US. I don’t ever remember traveling home for Thanksgiving. However, we do home for Christmas and Summer Holidays. Anyway, great tips and a very Happy Thanksgiving to you and all my American friends.

  5. Jack Johnson can be your kids’ gateway drug into tolerable music! Life after Curious George did get better on the ears. 😉

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