Travel during the holiday season does not have to be a stressful experience. Whether your family is traveling by air, car or train, early preparation can be the key to an enjoyable experience. The following travel tips may help reduce anxiety for both parents and children.
- Plan Ahead — Scheduling a flight in advance will not only ensure that you get the flight that is needed to accommodate your family, but may be more cost effective. If possible, address any concerns or questions regarding your ticket or flight plan with your travel agent or airline representative prior to arriving at the airport.
- Arrive Early — There will be more people in the airport than usual during the holiday season. Try to arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to your flight. This will give you ample time for long lines and flight delays.
- Pack Smart — When packing for your trip, be sure to consider the newest security restrictions for air travel. If you are not sure what these are, contact your local airport and request this information. By avoiding restricted items in your luggage, you can eliminate inconveniences. Consider purchasing your toiletries once you have reached your destination. Avoid packing too heavily. Be mindful that luggage can be damaged or lost during your travel. Pack valuable or fragile items in carry on bags to ensure they reach their destination safely. Review restrictions on traveling with medications prior to your trip.
- Dress Comfortably — Your clothes and shoes should be comfortable. Dressing in layers may help you feel more comfortable during your flight and upon arrival to your destination.
- Entertainment — Books, hand held games, paper, pencil and drawing pads are ideal for travel entertainment for children. Pack these things in a backpack or small carry bag, so they will be easily accessible. Any electronic items should be accompanied with earphones so they will not disturb others. Be sure to have an ample supply of batteries on hand. You may want to take this opportunity to engage the children in fun games such as “I Spy”; a game where one person picks out an item and the others must try to guess what it is. Play “Guess Who”; pick family member or friend and see if your child can figure out who it is by asking yes or no questions. For instance, “Is it a man?” “Is he tall?” etc.
- Safety — Talk with your children about the dangers of traveling. Make a safety plan in case you are separated. Point out the airline employees along the way to show your children who they can trust.
- Plan Ahead — Planning ahead is essential to the success of a road trip. Map out your travel route and allow enough time in your travel schedule for accidents and detours or restroom breaks.
- Pack Smart — When packing for a road trip, pack your luggage wisely to ensure your passengers ride safely and comfortably. If traveling with children, it is a good idea to let each child bring a small bag or shoebox size container with their favorite games or snacks. Your car should include items for quick clean ups, i.e. paper towels, facial tissues, wet wipes and a first aid kit.
- Dress Comfortably — Your clothes and shoes should be comfortable. Dressing in layers may help you feel more comfortable during your drive and upon arrival to your destination.
- Entertainment — Books, hand held games, paper, pencils and drawing pads are ideal for traveling with children. Any electronic items should be equipped with earphones so others will not be disturbed. And don’t forget the batteries. Use this opportunity to talk with your children about things that are going on in their lives. Singing songs, reciting rhymes, and making up stories are great ways to make the trip more entertaining. Observing and discussing different sceneries that you encounter can also provide hours of quality family time and pleasure.
- Safety — Have your vehicle serviced to ensure it is safe for travel. Keep an automobile emergency kit in the trunk along with warm blankets. Teach your children how to dial 911 in case of an emergency. Always utilize child safety seats with infants and small children and wear safety belts properly.