By Christina VanGinkel
I have amassed some tips to make traveling with family members this holiday season, or any season for that matter, more enjoyable, or at least more bearable; Pick those that apply to your family, and tuck away the others just in case they might someday apply:
Make detailed plans for any trip that is going to take you further than two hours away from your home. Book hotel rooms, research restaurants, and attractions. Purchase tickets to shows or attractions ahead of time that may be sold out.
Always take an emergency credit card with you, as there are places that cash, or traveler’s checks, just will not work namely hotels and car rental agencies.
Make sure everyone has at least one form of identification on them at all times, no matter their age. If you have a young child that does not yet know their name, address, and phone number, now is a good time to start working with them, but do not depend on anyone’s knowledge to identify themselves. Accidents can and do happen, so all family members, young and old, need some form of personal identification on their body at all times.
If you will be traveling out of the country, make copies of everything pertinent, such as birth certificates and travel visas, in case of loss or theft.
Assign everyone a travel buddy, and always take your travel buddy with to places such as gas station bathrooms.
Make sure everyone brings with one thing that can occupy his or her time. A book, video game, headphones, whatever they want. Once they have something picked out, tell them to pick one more thing, especially for long trips. Boredom is the fastest way to ruin a trip, yet you cannot always be occupied doing travel related things. You need backups.
In the same element of the tip before this one, ‘They’re looking at me’, or touching me, or staring at me, or they stuck their tongues out, they are drooling, should all be dealt with immediately, or before you even leave to begin the trip. Tell your children, preschooler through teens, what you expect from them including respect for each other, common decency, etc. If they listen or not will depend a lot on how they act normally, but a friendly reminder is not going to hurt. Bribery with items such as small toys, treats, etc, will often work no matter the child’s age, and even if you normally forgo things like this, I honestly believe that extended travel is the perfect time to introduce your kids to them.
If you are going to a destination that someone you know has been too, and you value their honesty, ask them if they have any tips to share with you. Maybe they know a restaurant there that serves a great menu at reasonable prices, or a hotel to avoid from their own personal experience.
If you are staying with friends or relatives, ask hem specifically what you can contribute, any rules they may have, etc., and then respect these rules. For example, if they do not want you bringing a pet along, do not ask why not just do not bring them. Arrange to board them. Be safe, and have fun.