Anyone who has spent part of their holiday travels with cranky children in tow knows how important patience and preparation can be. So what can frazzled parents do before hitting the road or taking to the skies to make sure their little ones are happy?
Check out helpful travel advice and contact a local travel agent.
Traveling with cranky kids over the holidays can make even the merriest parent feel like saying 'Bah, Humbug.' Working with a professional travel agent to plan your holiday get-away means parents will have one less thing to worry about when packing up to hit the slopes or visit grandma.
Among the tips are:
*Keep planning simple: Traveling with kids in tow involves many details. To make the process easier, consider using a travel agent who can recommend vacation destinations tailor-made for your family's interests and budget, find great deals on airfare and hotels, and fill you in on the latest airport security news.
*Make getting to your destination fun: Use time traveling together for zany sing-alongs, family storytelling sessions and scavenger hunts. Parents can draw up a list of things you might expect to see from a car or plane, such as two-toned cows, a car toting a Christmas tree, or a man wearing a red hat, then have the kids vie to see who spots the items first. For the ultimate treat, splurge on a portable DVD player, and watch a new holiday movie in transit
*Pack a fun bag: Assemble a bag for each child containing stickers, paper and washable markers, poseable figurines (that don't have a lot of pieces), magnetic games and puzzles and a pillow. Or, for a special treat or when chaos reigns, consider a portable DVD player just for long trips. If you use these particular bags for trips only, they'll remain novel, and kids will look forward to the journey.
*Break up the trip with frequent stops: Playgrounds, indoor fun centers, and family restaurants are good bets.
*Make a memory box: Bring an empty shoebox along to store items you'll collect along the way, such as seashells, rocks, funny postcards, and marked-up road maps. When you get home, label the box with the trip destination and date, and you'll have a great souvenir of your time together.