There's no place like home for the holidays! But when home is far away and you have a new baby, you might be more inclined to stay put. We asked family travel expert Corinne McDermott for strategies for traveling with kids during the holidays. Buckle up; there's a lot to learn.
Pick Your Travel Time Wisely
Chaos is inevitable around the holidays, but you can avoid some of it by traveling at off peak hours. If you're flying, McDermott recommends flying earlier in the day. “Given the choice between an early flight or mid-afternoon, I’ll take early every time,” says McDermott. According to Forbes, 86.2 percent of November and December flights that were scheduled to arrive between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. arrived on time, compared to 67.5 percent of those scheduled to land between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.
If you're driving, drive at night or on the holiday itself. Babies also tend to spend car rides asleep in their car seats, so driving later in the evening or even through the night can help baby maintain a normal sleep schedule. Also, a recent Google Maps report points out that driving on the holiday itself is one of the best ways to avoid sitting in extra hours of traffic.
Don't Be Afraid to Overpack
McDermott recommends bringing extra diapers, wipes and clothing in case of a messy emergency. “Accidents happen. Stash plastic bags to hold trash until you have the opportunity to dispose of it properly. Bring a change of clothes for baby and for you, because if he makes a mess, it’s probably while you’re holding him,” she says. Extra food and snacks are also essential, especially since holiday travel can mean big delays. And make sure that you have everything you and your kids will need — including wipes and hand sanitizer — within arm’s reach.
“Regardless of the age of your child, you must stock your bag with enough distractions to keep them busy for the duration of your journey,” McDermott says. “For babies, this could mean little board books or soft toys with lots of ‘bits’ attached. For older kids, this could mean a portable game device or DVD player." And don't feel bad about entertaining your kids with movies, video games, and other pieces of technology. “This is not about good parenting, it’s about surviving your trip,” adds McDermott.
For more expert travel advice, check out the in-depth article here!