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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tip List - Holiday Travel Edition

With the holidays coming up, I thought a holiday travel edition of Tip List might be in order. Hopefully if you're going somewhere during the holidays this year you've already started thinking about it. I don't travel much anymore, but before Sweetpea came along I was a platinum elite business traveler...being away from home got old pretty quickly, but I got to see a lot of really interesting places. I will admit, I miss the perks of elite travel status!

1. Try to schedule your actual travel on non-peak days. Whether going by car, plane, bus or train, you will be much happier not fighting the crowds. Travel delays are less frequent on non-peak days, and you're more likely to have some open seats around you to spread out. A little extra space is particularly exciting when you're traveling with children.
2. When flying, try and book direct flights. Regardless of where you're flying, winter weather can play havoc with schedules, and the less legs in your trip, the less likely you are to end up missing a connection or rescheduling the remainder of your flight due to delays. Returning from Florida this summer I payed $20 extra for a direct return flight. Turns out the alternate (cheaper) flight was canceled, and a coworker of mine who happened to be vacationing in the same area ended up renting a car to drive home!
3. Bring plenty of activities to keep you and your crew entertained during your travels. This goes for adults, but especially for the younger set. The more entertainment, the quicker and easier the trip. This is also critical in case you do get stuck, you're not stuck with nothing to do but kill time. For kids, a new toy or coloring book can be especially entertaining. I'm always putting away kids meal toys for trips - they are small and I'm not paying extra for them. When I'm traveling without Sweetpea, I hit the library for some free entertainment. Otherwise, I seem to have plenty of entertaining to keep me busy at this stage in our family's life.
4. Pack plenty of travel friendly snacks. We are fully into the stage where there is very little you can find for free anymore. Airport food is overpriced and selection can be limited. With a little preplanning you can put together some yummy, nutritious snacks that don't require refrigeration.
5. Pack effectively for your trip - often less is more. Think about what you pack that always seems to come back clean and unworn, and what items you can purchase upon arrival (or rent or borrow!) that won't cost much if any more than buying at home. If you're flying to your destination, try to see if you can travel with just carry on luggage. This will free up your options in case of delay and eliminate the possibility of your carrier losing your luggage. (unless they curb check, but at least then your chances are still significantly diminished) EmDee and I managed to pack for a week in NYC during November using only carry on luggage, by layering and choosing mix and match wardrobe options.

Most of all, try and stay calm and leave in plenty of time to arrive safely at your destination.

What tips do you have for streamlining holiday travel? I'd love to hear them!

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Living Balanced said...

Luckily I won't be travelling this year. My parents are coming to our house for the holidays. This is great!

Nice scrapblog touches!

Adventures In Babywearing said...

You have great tips. I WISH we could be traveling to see family but I think we'll be staying home this year. I do love to pack surprise packages for the kids to open while we're on our trip so that they have something to keep occupied and look forward to, as well as keep them for asking for a souvenir at every Cracker Barrel we stop at LOL!


mommy2twinkies-Deb said...

Great post, Steph! I will say though that I travel by air about 6 times a year with the twins and my hubby travels about once a week, and it's been a LONG time since we've seen ANY empty seats. So... people should buy an extra seat for their child over two (or younger if they can afford it) and be prepared to deal with the flight without the extra space. It's just not something you can count on anymore. :-(

ROXY said...

I love this post!! I wish I would of read this before we went to Hawaii on honeymoon! The fights were brutal and we didn't being enough to keep us busy! Thanks for sharing;)

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