7 Stress-Busting Tips for Traveling With a Family of Any Size

posted: 12/11/15
by: Courtney Reimer
A happy mother with her three children outdoors in the fall

Tis the season for family, which, unless you happen to live under the same roof with all generations of your lineage, means you probably will have to do some kind of traveling. If even just the thought of piling the kids into a car, plane or train makes your blood pressure rise, take a deep breath, exhale and read on for relief.

1. Pack in advance. Even if you have your packing list together and are sure you'll have time on the day of departure, why not save yourself that one thing to buy time in case of tantrums, traffic or other time-sucking events.

2. Make sure everyone knows the plan. If you want an on-time departure, eliminate the potential for surprise. If your long-haired teen is hoping to do a drawn-out styling routine that morning, it's on them to wake up earlier.

3. Check in (and check traffic) early. If you're somehow magically able to avoid checking baggage, you can check in online in advance -- and many airlines allow digital boarding passes shown on a phone -- so you can sail past the check-in lines upon arrival. Also, if you're going by car, there are many ways to plan for traffic -- including the popular app Waze, which reroutes you in real time based on current traffic conditions.

4. Assign everyone a buddy. You're only one person, so if you have more than one kid, it's unlikely you'll be able to keep track of them all at once (especially while juggling itineraries and luggage). Make sure everyone knows their buddy and knows where you're all supposed to be at any given time.

5. Pack snacks. Nothing is more likely to lead to an epic meltdown than a hangry kid, spouse or mom. Keep things like almonds or string cheese within reach at all times.

6. Load up the apps. Playing "I Spy" and singing "Wheels On The Bus" only goes so far (and will likely get you angry stares if you're traveling on a plane or train). Make sure you have fresh apps on mobile devices to keep kids engaged in case of boredom and tantrum emergency.

7. Fall in love with zip-seal plastic bags. These handy baggies will keep you organized and have uses far beyond the kitchen. Taking an empty one for dirty clothes can make the re-entry to home a lot less stressful, trust us. The last thing you want to deal with when it's time to unpack is the "smell test" to determine what's been worn and what has not.