Tis the season for holiday family travel. Whether you are visiting grandma and grandpa for the holidays or heading to a tropical location for a warm up, it’s important to realize that just about everyone else in the world is traveling for the holidays, and to plan accordingly. For many years my son and I lived states away from family, so traveling for the holidays was an annual event. This year I am looking forward to staying home for the holidays and having everyone else come to me, although I am sure to get antsy and drag my son, nieces and nephew along for a mini adventure of some sort. Then there’s my mom’s trip to Las Vegas coming up in January. I’m really looking forward to that!
Going beyond ‘basic’ holiday travel requires a bit of strategy and planning. To do so, you must avoid and survive the many holiday travel pitfalls, and plan for something extra special.
Surviving holiday family travel requires a lot of research. Be sure to plan well. I have learned the hard way that if you think you have prepared enough, prepare some more. I always like to have a plan B and C lined up.
If possible, avoid traveling during peak times. Leaving early or late can save you a lot of headaches. Also, check-in early for your flights. Most airlines allow you to check in 24 hours before your departing flight, and I encourage you to take advantage of it. You will avoid long lines at the airport, can prevent you from having to gate check your carry-on bags, and can place you in a better boarding group.
Keep the kids happy, and watch time fly. There are sure to be delays at airports and traffic jams on the roads, so it’s important to have plenty of healthy snacks and lots of activities planned for the kids.
Load up on travel apps. Something I have started doing in more recent years is using a lot of travel apps. Some great ones are TSAwait, Gate Guru, Rest Area Finder, Sunday Drives, Uber, The Entertainer, and Packing Pro. They are all pretty self explanatory by their names.
Make your holiday family travels extra special!
While surviving holiday family travel is essential, don’t you want to go beyond survival and create some magical memories on your holiday vacation? Christmas break is a great time to go on a family vacation. Spending Christmas with Mickey is always fun, and so is a trip to the mountains or the beach. There are also many adventure trips available for families, but visiting a place for the first time can be an adventure in itself. A volunteer vacation is also a great way to have new experiences and give back as a family. Think outside the box when planning your holiday travel.
Visit someplace new. Do something new. Taste something new.
If a trip to grandma and grandpa’s house is on your holiday agenda, consider renting a car and taking a day trip to a nearby city. You could even leave two or three days early for a mini trip, before heading home. To keep things affordable, stay with family for a few days so you can splurge for a hotel on your mini trip or on the way home.
Tip: Wherever you end up going, be sure to capture the memories. Polaroid and digital cameras for the kids, and travel journals are perfect for capturing and preserving those special moments.
Join the #AlamoDriveHappy Twitter Chat
This Wednesday (12/3) at 8pm EST, please join myself, Alamo and some of my fellow Chief Travel Moms for the #AlamoDriveHappy Twitter Chat. We’ll be discussing all-things ‘basic holiday family travel’ – what it is, what to look out for, and how we can improve on it. There is no RSVP required. Just be sure to follow the #AlamoDriveHappy hashtag, along with @Alamo, @AboutAMom, @Crissy and @HOUSEofHARPER on Twitter.
Before you touchdown at the airport, be sure you have signed up to be an Alamo Insider for an additional 5% off of Alamo’s (already low) prices. Follow #AlamoDriveHappy and @Alamo on Twitter for travel tips and special announcements from myself and the other CTMs!
What You Can Win:
Alamo Family Travel Prize Pack ($400)
$250 AMEX Gift Card
Alamo Striped Tote Bag
Alamo Sunglasses (5pk)
Alamo Mini LED Key Light
Anker External Battery Charger
Joby Gorillatorch Flexible Tripod Flashlight
Wishing you happy and safe holiday travel! This post was created in collaboration with Alamo.