More than 40% of Americans will travel during the holiday season. A lot of international travelers will also come to the US to visit family and friends during this busy season. Traveling alone can be challenging enough, especially when you have to worry about flight delays and rental cars.
Add an entire family into the mix, and a happy, chaos-free holiday seems like an unattainable dream.
If you don’t want to pull your hair out this holiday season, you can make life a little easier with these travel tips.
1. Don’t Overbook Your Day
Traveling is exciting, but it should also be a time to relax. Trying to squeeze every activity on your bucket list into a single day is unrealistic. When you have a large family, someone will always have an additional activity planned that will stall your own plans.
A general rule of thumb is to plan no more than one big activity into a single day.
When you keep the number of daily activities to a minimum, you’ll rush less and enjoy your time more.
2. Snacks – Lots of Snacks
If you have kids, they will want to stop to eat every hundred miles. I have heard of horror stories where kids will want to stop to eat, but one child has a tummy ache so they don’t eat. All of a sudden an hour later, the tummy ache is gone and the child is cranky and begging you to stop for food.
Snacks can help curb those unwanted stops and will also help keep you awake if you’re driving.
Even if you’re planning to stay at a family member’s home or a hotel, stop by a local grocery store and pick up snacks. If you’re traveling overseas, you may be able to find a few goodies that you have not tried before.
3. Speaking of Driving
Whether you plan to travel to Texas or Rome, driving can impact your vacation. Car accidents in Texas alone lead to over 17,500 serious injuries in a single year. An accident is a nightmare for a large family vacation.
If you plan on driving, make sure you have insurance.
Traveling abroad? Purchase traveler’s insurance. When you have traveler’s insurance, you’ll be monetarily compensated for unexpected travel interruptions, such as flight delays, lost luggage or injuries related to a car accident.
Book your vehicle online.
Before traveling to your destination, also research mass transit in the area, which may be easier to take. If you have more than five people in your group, mass transit can keep everyone together rather than driving in separate vehicles.
4. Point Out Restrooms Every Time You See One
If you have multiple children or teens that are on the trip with you, make sure to point out the restrooms you see along the way. It’s surprising how much time is spent running to restrooms on large family vacations.
Pointing out the restroom ensures that you keep stops to a minimum so that you can enjoy more of your vacation. If you happen to stop at a tourist center, you’ll also be able to pick up brochures of local attractions and hotspots that you may have glanced over when researching the destination.
5. Form a Buddy System
When you’re dealing with 7+ people, it can be hard to walk down the street and not have one person be way behind and another practically running ahead. You’ll want to figure out who the fast walker is and who the slow walkers are that tend to look in store windows and pop in and out of stores.
Pair adults with the same tendencies to watch over different people in the group.
For example, uncle Bob may be a fast walker who is always ahead of the group, so he will be part of the buddy system for John and Billy. If any of the three decide to go into a store, they will all stick together.
When you have a buddy system in place, it makes the entire trip safer.
Family traveling is fun and exciting, and a little planning ahead can take a lot of pressure off of the trip. The tips above can help, but also remember to meal plan, book flights and hotel rooms well in advance, and try to go with the flow.