Holiday Travel with Kids
Holidays are usually a time where families get together to bond over huge meals and Grandpa's repeat stories. Some families do the same thing each year over the Holidays. Others like to mix it up by taking turns going from Mom's Parent's House to Dad's Parent's House. And others take it a step further by traveling to a new place each year and completely forgoing the traditional Holiday travel. Personally, I like the third option most. But, alas, my husband's family is die-hard in their familiar traditions of same place, same holiday every single year. So, we mostly do what is on the schedule for big holidays and save our new travel for other times of the year.
No matter where you're going, we've put together some ideas to help get the most of your Holiday Travel
Get out of the house:
I am not one to sit still. Travel is travel and if I am going to be somewhere other than home, I want to get out there and really see it. I try to find a good local hiking trail, a family-friendly farm, a local sporting event, or something the area is known for. We've been able to see and do a lot by just seeking out local information. It's also a good way to integrate your kids with family you haven't see in a while....cause nothing screams "love me" like forcing your kids into a living room with 17 family members they don't remember ever meeting.
Repeat travel doesn't mean you can't see something new:
This year we have plans to road trip for our usual Thanksgiving Trek to Virginia. We are taking our time going up and plan to stop and hike in Asheville, NC and are planning a different route home, so we can see a new place and break up the drive. We're doing the same on our Roadtrip at Christmas; stopping in Nashville & Chicago. We're taking it slow for our sanity and our kids. There are several apps and websites you can visit to get the most of your Roadtrip!
I visited Winchester, Virginia over Christmas last year. I had a 19 month old and a 4 week old when the trip started. They were in two completely different stages of play. Sitting in the house wasn't an option because my toddler and I would go stir crazy. I hit the interwebs and came across a local Children's museum. We went so often over that trip that I bought an annual pass. It was a fantastic way to let the big kid burn energy while learning and gave me a chance to sit and hold the new baby!
Set up an Adult-Only Night:
It's OK to leave the kids and have a night out. Plus, there is no better time than when your reunited with close friends and family over the Holidays. We typically ask the grandparents (FREE) to take the kids for the evening while we get dinner or see a movie. We can connect with each other and refresh mentally. We have used resort Babysitters to go to a Rehearsal Dinner and then the next night to a reception. They came to our condo to watch the babies -- it was a really awesome service! If you are traveling with out other family, look into it. **Obviously only do what your comfortable with. We do not take responsibility if you choose to use one of these services.
Keep the Routine (most of the time):
We like routine and our kids like routine. Thus, we like to keep our general routines when we travel; especially the evening routine. We usually have dinner, then do baths, then bedtime for the kids. It keeps our kids doing the same thing and there is no crazy adjustment when we get home. We are flexible for special events and long travel days, but it isn't the norm. ****We get asked A LOT about nap schedules when we travel. Both of our kids DO NAP on the road. It depends on what we're doing that day, but both sleep in baby carriers (Ergo or Toddler Tula) or they sleep in the stroller. If it works out that we are at our home-base or at a friends, they take a normal nap with their DockATots. If they resist their nap, so be it. We don't typically force it while traveling. Our goal is to have an enjoyable time, so we let the naps work around what we are already doing, not vice versus.****
Nail the Travel Days:
The travel days start and end your trip. You owe it to yourself to plan these days. You know your kids better than anyone. Pick reasonable travel times, bring lots of snacks, take lots of breaks (road tripping), avoid traveling on peak days if possible, etc. I find it's best to know the route we want to travel, pre-pack food, use apps to check airline info, and expect the unexpected to happen. (blow-out diapers, food/drink spills, random tantrums) Being prepared is the best way to prevent a mishap from derailing your trip.
Holiday Travel can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be be miserable. Make the most out of your time away from home and don't forget to take care of yourself too!
Let us know how you make the most of Holiday Travel!
Fly Brave, Travel Always, See Everything,
*****Don't forget to check out our post on Preparing for Holiday Travel with kids over at Fifty-Two Thursdays!