Friday, September 6, 2013

Travel Tips for Families During the Holidays

Airports are packed during the holidays with once a year travelers and you decide it's the perfect time to buy that discount ticket and take your little one across the country to sample grandma's cooking. It's not too late to change your plans but if you choose to travel during the peak times, you may want to follow these 6 tips.

1. Pack food. Pack food that your entire family can enjoy. Food that travels well like meal replacement bars, fruit, beef jerky, or almonds will stay fresh when you are delayed. Airport food is crazy expensive and often offers poor nutritional value.  You cannot go through the security checkpoint with liquids over 3.4 oz. But, you can bring empty water bottles and fill them when you are in the gate area. Many airport restaurants will allow you to fill your water for free. This liquid restriction does not apply to infant formula or baby food when you are accompanied by an infant. #PackFood

2. Print Your Boarding Pass at Home. Even the kiosks will have lines. If the system goes down from being over taxed, you will have your boarding pass and can go to the shorter line if you need to check a bag. Bring tip money to use the skycaps. Checking any baggage curbside will save you time in the long lines in the airport.

3. Leave your house extra early. The airport will be packed. Even if your plane is delayed, a plane swap can occur and your flight can be back on schedule in a snap. Getting through security can take an hour during peak times. If you are not in the gate area, you will miss your flight and during the holidays there are very few empty seats.

4. Pack Light and Pack Right. Remember, your kids will have a very short attention span so pack them things to do while you wait, puzzle books, coloring books, and reading books are a great start. If you are going to be gone for more than a couple of days, do laundry in your destination. Bring clothes that can be layered and interchanged. Ideally, each ticketed passenger will board with one carryon item and one personal item. Rick Steves gives you great tips at

5. Ship your gifts days before you leave. Travelling with kids will already have your hands full! There's no need to check wrapped gifts when you can order gifts online and have them delivered directly to grandma's house. Extra baggage can cost you a lot of money. Before you start home, pack up your gifts and ship them home.

6. Be Kind. Airport employees respond well to your great attitude. In fact, you can move mountains with a smile and kind words. What a breath of fresh air you can be after the last retched person! There is a lot of leeway in how fees are applied for people that know how to act. #BeKind

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