Oh, the holidays. You know you have to get the plane tickets or book the hotels for the car trip. You know you have to get your kids ready for the holiday program at school. You know you have to have food. You probably have to get some gifts. But if you're like me, you're so focused on the big stuff that you forget the details that will stress you out at the last second.
Last year we realized at the airport that we did not have our son's birth certificate. I couldn't find a pen in my messy purse to fill out the luggage label at the check in counter. We very quickly maxed out the photo storage on our phones. We returned home in January to a pile of boxes full of clothes to donate to charity. All little stresses that we could have easily avoided with a little forethought.
I'd like to make your end of year just a wee bit easier. So here's a list of 8 holiday travel tips that will make the holidays and the New Year a little smoother.
1. Document the baby. If your child is under two, take a picture of his/her passport and put it in a place on your phone that you won't erase it. Sometimes airlines will ask for proof of age if you have a lap child.
2. Beg, borrow and steal... or just borrow. If you are traveling far for the holidays, get on social media right now and ask to borrow items at your destination. Maybe your parent's neighbors have a pack and play, maybe an old classmate has a car seat, maybe your sister's co-worker's cousin has a high chair that you don't need but it was nice of her to offer it anyway. Anything you don't have to bring yourself, is literally a weight off your shoulders. Also ask to borrow winter clothes so that you don't have to take an extra suitcase just for three coats.
3. Invest in a big suitcase. If you don't already own a huge and sturdy roller suitcase and you can afford one, add it to your holiday wish list. If you are traveling with children and you can consolidate two bags into one, then you'll actually have an arm to hold your child.
4. Put your name on it. Figure out a durable way to label your luggage, stroller and car seat. Do it right right now and you'll never find yourself frantically filling in one of those flimsy paper labels at the airport again. Put a matching sticker or ribbon on all of your items for easy picking and not so easy someone else walking off with your stuff.
5. Offload your phone. Gotta make room for all the holiday photos. Start erasing all those text messages (which take up a surprising amount of storage) and moving your 1200 photos from your phone to your computer. (Here's some advice on how to back up your phone.)
6. Get loaded. Start loading your tablet or phone now with TV episodes, movies, and games to get your kids through long car and plane trips. It's not as fun as the other kind of getting loaded but it still offers an escape.
7. Clean out your wallet or purse. Rumor has it that the way you literally handle money is how you actually handle money. So get your money in order and save your shoulder from carrying five pounds of receipts, lots of pennies, and a couple old peanut butter sandwiches through the holidays. Plus, easily accessing your driver's license, cards and cash makes for less stress.
8. Boost your immune system. Get flu shots. Get vitamins. Get vegetables. Get in the habit of washing your hands a whole lot. Get yoga. Get healthy and try to stay that way through the holidays.
With a little forward thinking, we can prevent some last minute holiday panic and focus on what really matters – what we're going to eat (and family and friends and love and stuff of course).
Photo credit: Matthew