Winter travel often includes crowded airports, busy roads and unpredictable weather. Here are five tips for handling the unexpected:
1 Road-trip ready: Make sure the checklist includes getting your wheels ready for the road. Replace wiper blades and check the oil and other fluids. Are your tires in proper condition and suitable for your destination? Is your spare in good shape and accessible? Carry an emergency kit in your car that includes a flashlight, flares, matches, first-aid items and blankets. Map your route in advance, and be sure to have a fully charged cellphone and charging cable for use should trouble arise.
2 Comfort trumps style: Whether your family travel plans include air, car or train travel, delayed departures, traffic jams and changing climates can make outfitting the clan a challenge. Soft sweatshirts double as pillows. Pashminas can serve as lightweight blankets. Keep extra clothes on hand to ensure warmth and comfort should spills, sickness or delays render original outfits unsuitable. Suggest comfortable slip-on shoes to ease the stress of moving through security lines. Layers are always a smart strategy.
3 Add entertainment: When things get hectic, familiar toys, stuffed animals and games can help ease the stress for the youngest travelers. Download new puzzles, songs and books before leaving home and remind the older kids to tuck in their favorite cards, games and tech toys.
4 Eat, drink and be merry: Forgo long lines and pricey options in the airport and on the road. Pack healthy sandwiches, crackers, fruit, nuts, cheese and other family favorites to enjoy along the way. Include a small surprise folded into each child’s napkin to add to the fun. When traveling by air, consider bringing empty water bottles through security and filling them near your gate.
5 Healthy and happy: Pack all medications in your carry-on and keep items you’ll require on board or for your roadside stops at the ready. Ask your doctor for suggestions on keeping childhood motion sickness at bay and for tips on maintaining clear ears in flight and at altitude. Share your strategies with the kids before departure so they won’t be alarmed along the way. Pack antibacterial wipes and use them often to clean hands as well as seat handles, doorknobs and tray tables.