Have fun getting to your holiday destination
It shouldn't matter if you're traveling by plane, train or automobile this holiday season, turn the travel itself into a fun holiday adventure. Pick up holiday movies for your kids to watch on the trip and grab fresh holiday-themed coloring and craft books to keep them busy and distracted. Pull that old camera out of the bottom of your desk drawer and charge it up for older kids to take pictures along the way.
If you're traveling by car and have time to make stops, research holiday activities happening in the towns you'll be passing through on the way to your final holiday destination.
Bring special and familiar holiday items with you
We realized that luggage space is always tight when traveling with kids and especially with airlines charging an arm and a leg for every single bag you check. However, if you can manage it this year, pack a bag full of your own favorite holiday decorations from home -- bring stockings and let each child choose one special ornament or small decoration to set up at your holiday destination. It will make them feel like there's a little piece of home with you!
Create your own holiday space when staying with family
Just because you're traveling to visit family doesn't mean you can't preserve some of your own holiday traditions from home. If possible, set up your own little Christmas tree or space to wake to up on Christmas morning together as a family. Having a few minutes together first thing in the morning can be particularly nice if you are celebrating with a huge group of family members.
For families who travel away from home on a regular basis at the holidays, make new traditions wherever you are traveling. Hunt down local holiday traditions and participate with the locals, just as if you were at home!
Explain to little ones that Santa will still arrive
Sometimes, for young children especially, the biggest concern about being away from home for the holidays is wondering how Santa Claus will find you at grandma and grandpa's or in that condo in Hawaii. Ease their mind by telling them that you've already let Santa know where you'll be and that you received an email confirmation from his elves that your location this year has been registered. (Wink, wink!)
Plan for your return home as well
Planning ahead will save you and your children stress for your return trip and arrival home. Leave your house clean and picked up before you depart for your holiday travel -- especially considering you'll be coming home with all your new holiday loot!
If you have grocery delivery service in your city, schedule a delivery for the day you arrive home to make sure your fridge is full. This is important if you get home from your trip and have to head back to work and school the following day. Lastly, remember that stash of special entertainment items that you stocked for the trip to your holiday destination? Don't forget to also pack some goods for the trip home as well!
More on holiday travel
How to survive air travel with the kids in tow this holiday
Holiday travel tips for moms
Holiday travel: Avoid these top five airport security mistakes