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Traveling With Your Family During the Holidays

Posted Dec 21 2011 11:17pm

The holiday season is almost upon us, meaning that the days are getting shorter, winter is well underway, and Christmas shopping is reaching its peak. While gifts and snow may be foremost on our minds at the moment, the holiday season also, for many of us, means something else that is fast approaching on the horizon: travel.

Whether you’re traveling to visit family members across the country or get away and go someplace warm, you’re not alone if you find yourself in an airport terminal this winter. Luggage checks and gate changes have become just as much a part of the holiday season as tinsel and eggnog, after all, and those of us with travel plans can expect long lines, beefed-up security measures, and a generally hectic airport scene.

This probably won’t come as much of a surprise. Traveling – especially airplane travel – can be an incredibly stressful experience these days. But the stress of navigating a terminal and catching a flight on your own is nothing compared to the challenges of doing this with your kids in tow. Certainly, we love our families and wouldn’t want to travel during the holidays without our children with us. Even so, dealing with a crowded airport and a delayed flight can be a lot for a parent to handle.

On that note, here are a few suggestions for being at the airport with your kids this holiday season:

Bring Food

If you have kids, you probably are aware that children often get hungry at the most inconvenient of times. While an airport terminal is usually brimming with food options, these choices are routinely overpriced, unhealthy , and require considerable walking, luggage maneuvering, and overall hassle. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with getting airport food – but it’s probably best to be prepared and pack a few sandwiches.

Take Turns

For those of you traveling with children and with your spouse, it’s a good idea to take turns watching the kids when faced with a lengthy airport delay. Have one spouse sit with the kids at the gate while the other can go to the bathroom, get food, and browse the terminal. Then switch off and repeat as necessary.

Have Distractions Ready

Most people come to airports equipped with books, movies, and other products designed to pass the time. Make sure that your kids (and you) come equally prepared. Your children should have books and games sufficient not just for killing time during the flight, but also to act as a good distraction in the case of an airport delay.

Be Flexible

There are plenty of variables that sit outside of your control when you travel by air. This is only augmented when children are involved; not only do you need to get your luggage through security, into the terminal, and onto the flight, but now you have to do the same for your family members. Ultimately, then, it’s always best to budget a lot of time , be patient when things get stressful, and adapt and react to circumstances as necessary.

Going on a vacation can be a great way to bond with your family during the holiday season. It can be a relaxing, enjoyable, and refreshing opportunity to spend valuable time with your spouse and your kids. But before you get to your destination, make sure that you are adequately planned for the airport and for everything it may throw at you.

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