Tips for Holiday Travel

Over 35 million Americans will be heading over the river and through the woods to visit friends, family and to go on vacation between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

If you’re thinking of hitting the road, one thing is certain: you won’t be alone! So before you find yourself stuck in traffic or delayed at the airport, take a few moments and consider these tips as you plan your travel for the upcoming holiday season.

Alicia on ‘The Early Bird Gets the Worm’

‘A little planning can help you work around the typical constraints of holiday travel. For starters, buy your tickets now — don’t wait for prices (and people) to get in the way. Fares start going up three weeks in advance of the trip date, so don’t delay. The earlier you book your tickets, the more likely your family will be seated together on the flight or train car of your choice. If you’re planning on hitting the road, try to pick a route that is less well-traveled. It’s less torturous for everybody if the car is at least moving!’

Sarah on ‘It’s in the Mail’

‘The best way to avoid having your gifts arrive in less than perfect shape is to ship them ahead of time. Send them separately and they can arrive wrapped and unharmed, rather than ‘ruffed up’ by airport security. Most shipping companies, even the USPS these days, allow you to choose a particular arrival date and track your precious package’s every move online. The shipping companies also offer the option to go online and schedule a pickup from your home, so you can wrap, pack, and ship without the hubbub of Holiday traffic.’

Get organized for Holiday Travel with the tips below.

#1: Fun and Games
Make the journey fun for kids by brining entertainment to the travel! If you’re flying consider a travel DVD player or iPod, you can also bring dry erase markers and window stickers to decorate the plane window. For car travel, make the trip fun and educational! The drive can be a chance to use maps and play games like eye-spy or the license plate search (how many different state license plates will you pass?). If the trip is enjoyable for your kids, it is guaranteed to be more enjoyable for you!

#2: Delegate
Packing up a whole family is a stressful, and time consuming task! Tackle the packing problem by making each member of the family responsible for packing themselves. Make lists for your kids of what MUST be in the suitcase and tell them that the extra space can hold any toys or fun clothes they choose! This cuts your job from several packing suitcases to just a few inspections, and gives your kids independence and responsibility!

#3: Strategize
The roads and airports are guaranteed to be a zoo this holiday season. Stay ahead of the pack by being prepared and travel savvy. Be sure to collect information about other flights leaving the same date incase yours in cancelled or missed due to a delayed connection. If you’re traveling by land, check your route for construction for foul weather; having this information ahead of time allows you to draw up a new path. Having a plan and being prepared for the unexpected will prevent Grinch behavior from popping up in your holiday season.

#4: Sit back and relax
Vacation is not the time to worry about being everywhere and doing everything. Ditch your perfect traveler mentality and accept that your itinerary may not be met minute to minute. If you’re ten minutes late to brunch at Aunt Milli’s, or snow never falls for the annual snow angel contest, your holiday is still a success! What matters is that you enjoy yourself and fulfill your goal of family fun and togetherness.