By Emily Kaufman - The Travel Mom
The Holiday Season is upon us and that means folks will be hitting the road to head over the river and through the woods to celebrate. Traditionally, the holidays is the busiest travel time of the year. The Travel Mom has some suggestions for making your travels less stressful and more enjoyable for everyone.
Long car rides with kids cause many people tremendous anxiety. With a little planning and preparation some of that stress can be relieved. Do everything you need to do before you get the kids into the car; load your luggage, fill the gas tank, check the tire pressure and make a boredom bag. A boredom bag is a hanging travel cosmetic case that is hung from the seat back in front of where your child is sitting. Each pocket is filled with age appropriate activities, snacks and drinks. Toss a cookie sheet in the car to use as a table top for eating or desk for coloring. Be realistic and plan to stop along the way for bathroom breaks and the opportunity for kids ( and their parents) to stretch their legs. Often times I hear stories about parents waking their kids at the crack of dawn to hit the road and I am not a big fan of that. Once the kids are up, their routine is disrupted, leading to cranky travel companions. Mom and Dad bicker when they are tired and accidents happen when people are fatigued. A better approach is to incorporate the road trip into your vacation experience by making it part of the getaway instead of simply the transportation to your destination.
Airports are super busy around the holidays and there are a few things you can do to simply your air travel. Check in on line ahead of time. Print your boarding passes at home or have them sent to your mobile device. Program that airline telephone number into your cell phone; that way if there is a problem you can call the airline directly vs standing in line behind 100 other people from your same flight trying to resolve their travel issues too. Use the family check in lanes for security and prepare your kids ahead of time by explaining to them what is going to happen so there are no surprises. Take advantage of perks you may not even realize you are entitled to such as free access to airport lounges when you have an American Express Platinum Credit Card. It is very important that you leave yourself plenty of time at the airports because it will be crowded and take longer than you anticipate.
Look for added value offers. Things like complimentary breakfast, free wi-fi, no charge to park and afternoon snacks. Many resorts have opportunities for guests to use credits on property for things like dining, spa or golf. During peak travel times, a lot of hotels provide special family activities with crafts, snacks and other family friendly events so look for places that have something for every member of the family. Loyalty programs and credit cards team up to give their members perks like early check in, late check our and complimentary upgrades when available. Make sure you take advantage of the separate check in desks for members.