Parenting, Travel Tips & Tricks

10 tips for holiday travel with kids

The holiday season is coming up fast. Chances are that your family will be traveling to visit extended family sometime in November of December. Traveling with kids can be stressful, but planning can make all the difference. These 10 tips for holiday travel with kids are practical and simple.

10 tips for holiday travel with kids | One Mama's Daily Drama for Busy Mom's Helper

Hello Busy Mom’s Helper readers! It’s Keri from One Mama’s Daily Drama and today I want to share some really simple travel tips. My in-laws live about 300 miles from my home and it usually takes us about 5 or 6 hours along winding rural roads to get to their house.

Although we don’t travel as much now that my kids are older (ironically), when they were babies and toddlers, we made that drive almost every month. How did I keep from going crazy?

I made a few small plans that had a big effect. I want to share them with you so that when you are traveling with the kids for Thanksgiving or Christmas (or any time, really), it can be pleasant for everyone involved no matter how far you are going.

  1. Plan for stops on the road.

Kids have tiny bladders and the rocking of the car doesn’t help. Expect to stop every hour or two (depending on how old your kids are) for a bathroom break. If you check the route ahead of time, you can plan to stop at the cleanest rest stops instead of funky gas stations.

  1. Consider your child’s nap schedule.

The rocking of the vehicle can lull a cranky baby to sleep. If possible, plan to drive during nap time. This way, when you arrive at grandma’s house, baby will be ready to wake up and play and hopefully her sleep schedule won’t be off too much.

  1. Make lists and delegate responsibilities.

If you are not an uber-organized person, keeping track of everything you need for the trip can be a chore. Make a list for each person’s suitcase and let the kids pack themselves if they are old enough. You’ll also want a list of gifts, car essentials, and a few emergency items.

  1. Bring plenty of snacks.

When kids (and adults) get bored, they also get hungry. Pack easy travel friendly snacks that don’t need refrigeration, like granola bars, pretzels, and dried fruit.

10 tips for holiday travel with kids | One Mama's Daily Drama for Busy Mom's Helper

  1. Pack some new entertainment.

Fun car activities don’t have to be expensive – or even cost. Before each trip, I print off several free coloring pages and puzzles. What makes them interesting is that they are new.

  1. Borrow an audio book from the library.

Christmas carols on a CD will get old pretty quick. Instead, pick up an audio book from your local library for free. Find something that will be interesting to kids and adults. We like classics like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the Bunnicula series.

  1. Spread out the fun.

If you give the kids all of the snacks and entertainment at the beginning of the trip, they will be bored in 20 minutes. Instead, make sticky notes with times on them and stick them near the clock. When each special moment arrives, hand out a new coloring page or snack.

  1. Give your child a map.

In an age where technology is everything, the simplicity of a paper map is magical. Trace the route you will be following and highlight a few landmarks that your child can look for. It will help with the inevitable “are we there yet?”

10 tips for holiday travel with kids | One Mama's Daily Drama for Busy Mom's Helper

  1. Plan for emergencies.

Nobody wants to think about the dangers of traveling, but it’s important to be prepared. If it will be cold, make sure you have the essential emergency supplies. Check the air in the tires and pack a spare. Let others know when to expect you so that if you are very late, they can take appropriate action.

  1. Don’t stress too much.

Sometimes this is easier said than done. It’s important to remember the reason for your trip: to visit loved ones. The holidays are a joyful time when we get to visit the people we love and don’t see as often.  If you need to make a few extra stops, they will understand if you arrive a little late. If you forget to pack something, you can almost always find an alternative.

Which one of these tips for holiday travel with kids do you think would help your family?

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Keri is a freelance writer and blogger from Texas. She is a married mom of two and a big geek. On her blog, One Mama's Daily Drama, she shares crafts, recipes, printables, and ideas that help parents navigate the chaos of family life, one day at a time.

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