There’s no place like home for the holidays. With your kids dreaming big and chasing opportunities on opposite coasts, it’s getting more and more difficult to get the family together. Whether you’re worried about traveling with young kids for the first time or dealing with long legs and creaky knees on a lengthy flight, here are a few ways to make flying a little less stressful this holiday season.
Make a packing list (check it twice)
We’ve all forgotten warm socks, pajama pants, or a left glove at some point. Making a checklist before packing is an easy way to make sure you don’t leave anything behind. Consult with your family members to decide what to put on that list. If you have prescriptions or any type of medication make sure you have enough for the duration of your trip. It can also be useful to have a designated passport/boarding pass pocket in your carry on. That way you always know exactly where to find it and your heart never skips a beat when it’s not where you thought it was.
Select your seat strategically
Most airlines will let you select a seat ahead of time. If you know you’ll need a little extra leg room, secure a seat before you get stuck in the middle or pay a little extra for an exit row seat with more leg room. If you tend to get stiff when sitting for long periods of time, leverage your bathroom breaks. When the Fasten Seat Belt sign is off, take a little extra time to walk down the aisle, or opt for the bathroom with the longest line so you can stand a little longer.
Have digital copies of all of your travel documents on your phone or tablet
Boarding passes are easy to lose. Instead of worrying about misplacing itineraries, make sure you have copies of all confirmation numbers, flight times, and baggage tags on your digital device. That way, if you misplace your ticket you’ll still have a record the airline can look up.
Plan your route to and from the airport ahead of time
You don’t want to miss your flight because you’re stuck in traffic, so plan your travel route ahead of time. Consider taking trains to avoid traffic, or cabs and Ubers so you don’t have to leave your car at the airport. Your plan after landing is just as important: make sure you have the address and relevant phone numbers in case you get lost. Consider unfamiliar driving conditions if you’re renting a car including snow and ice, and make sure you know your stop if you’re arriving via public transportation. If you’re traveling internationally, make sure you have the proper currency to pay for transportation and some extra cash as not all services will take credit cards.
Consider only bringing a carry on or pre-checking your bags
Airport lines can be a nightmare around the holidays. Consider packing light and only bringing a carry on bag. If you have too much luggage to carry on, pre-checking your bags can also cut down on waiting time. Many airlines will let you pre-pay for bags online and print tags at kiosks instead of waiting in one giant line. Additionally, consider doing online Christmas shopping and shipping gifts to your destination rather than bringing packages with you. This will reduce the amount of bags you have to bring and hopefully cut down your airport time.
Schedule at least 1.5 hour layovers between flights
Snow storms, power outages, and a myriad of other things can cause flight delays this time of year. When you allocate a little extra time on your layovers, missing connecting flights becomes less likely. Instead of having to sprint to your next gate, give yourself more time between flights (and if your flight pattern runs smoothly you can always use that time to try some Texas BBQ, Seattle seafood or whatever the local food might be!).
Be ready with plans A-Z to entertain the kids
Keeping young kids occupied in a small space for eight hours is no small feat, so make sure you have a plan. Look for small, travel sized games to bring on the plane, bring a deck of cards, and a few books to read. Download a few TV episodes or a movie for them to watch on your cell phone or tablet. This will keep both your kids and neighboring passengers happy.
Air travel brings people together. Wherever you’re headed this holiday season we hope you have safe and stress-free travels. From our family at J+K to yours, happy holidays!
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com