Are you packing up the family and heading to Grandma’s for the holidays? You’re in good company! According to Orbitz.com, 66% of Americans plan to travel by airplane during the winter holidays this year. And with gas prices at record lows, travel experts forecast that many Americans will be traveling by car too.
Tips For Keeping Your Family Safe and Sane During Your Travels
- Consider planning your departures according to your baby’s sleep patterns. The less disruption to her schedule, the less stressful your trip will be. For flying, this might mean booking a flight in early afternoon or early evening. Car trips can begin at dusk, just after rush hour traffic, making it a win-win for baby and driver! It’s also helpful to plan an active day before departure, so baby will be tired and more likely to stick to her schedule.
- Keep essentials within reach, which might mean packing duplicates. By putting a small container of hand sanitizer, wipes and a change of clothes in every bag you’re keeping with you, you’re assured to have what you need at all times. This may seem counter-intuitive, especially for air travel, but being able to find a diaper when you REALLY need one can reduce everyone’s stress and allows you to tend to messy problems quickly.
- Choose toys that can be easily secured or clipped onto the car seat or seat belt to keep them off the floor and within reach. Consider making a small hole in a travel blanket so that it too can be clipped to the car seat.
- Do some pre-trip research. More and more airports are making efforts to accommodate traveling families. Did you know that at least eight major U.S. airports now have nursing stations? Our friends at momaboard.com have a complete list of airports with accompanying maps to identify their exact locations. In addition, many of the major U.S. airports (like Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Dallas, for example) now have playgrounds for young travelers. So if your travels include a layover, check the airport’s website for more information. As for car travel, look no further than your trusty smart phone. Upload a free rest area finder app (such as USA Rest Stops or Rest Area Finder); both are free downloads and are available for both iPhones and Androids.
- Set up a quick changing station in the back of the minivan. The Colgate EcoPad 2-Sided Contour Changing Pad is a lightweight, safe and supporting changing pad for your infant. The cover also has a waterproof backing for any mishaps.
- And one last reminder: staying hydrated will help prevent fatigue. Make sure both baby and parents have drinks available to them during the trip (especially while driving).