I write a lot about family travel (saving time, energy, sanity through hacks, tricks, tips…). Though, none if it comes in more useful than over the holidays!
Check out these posts you should look at before you go – before you start packing for that matter!
For the holidays in particular there are 5 main points to keep in mind as a family traveling:
1. Pack Light
Ha! Going somewhere cold? With kids? It’s like – no chance, right?
Do your best.
Is there anything you can send ahead of time to family or friends? Try ordering things like gifts or new bulky winter wear to be delivered to the address you are going instead of bringing it with you.
Even skip things like bringing a car seat on the plane (to free up your hands and mental drain!) by using a FAA approved 5-point airplane seatbelt harness for children instead (and send your carseat through at check-in for free in a protective bag).
Try coordinating your outfits well enough in color or style that you don’t have to bring too many pairs of shoes or various color jackets/belts/etc. I have a girlfriend who always says “black” is her “base line” color when she travels – black purse, black shoes, and everything else has to go with it.
2. Leave Things Behind and Rent
There are plenty of baby gear rental businesses (try BabyEquip or just google it for the city you are visiting). Baby gear rental companies have a lot to offer – from cribs, pack n’ plays, toys, strollers, highchairs to sheets and bouncers. Make your life as easy as possible! Traveling during the holidays is hard enough!
Even though rental car agencies and car services have car seats, I tend to bring my own. This is definitely one to decide for yourself.
3. Wear Your Bulkiest Stuff
Jackets and boots take up a lot of valuable space. If it is possible to wear these things during your travel, do it. You will free up a lot of space in your suitcase and carry on.
4. Expect Delays
Have enough diapers, snacks and entertainment that delays won’t kill you. Of course, snow delays and cancellations are zero fun (especially when you are dealing with young kids while on your journey) but planning ahead for the worst will lessen your anxiety about it.
5. Have a Back-up Plan
I never travel without a small foldable duffle bag – which has saved me a huge headache when traveling and the front desk agent insists my 2 lbs overweight is way too much (I mean, I get it, but…).
Now as a family – we are bound to go over weight on one leg or the other (specially when grandparents want to send us home with any gifts!). I always pack a small foldable duffle bag like this and can whip it out easily when in dire need. It is cheaper to check another bag normally than it is to go overweight!
Have a few back-up plans – like an extra pouch of formula, spare snacks, a portable electronics charger, a spare change of clothing for kids, etc. Being overly prepared is definitely better than not being prepared for a few speed bumps.
Don’t forget to visit these posts for all my tips, tricks and saves!