Vacation and holiday travel with the family can be a joyous time as well as a bit stressful. To make your holiday travel as smooth as possible plan ahead and then plan some more. Make a list of everything you think you’ll need while away and then check it twice. The more organized you are the more likely that you’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way.

Have your children join in on the planning. If your child is old enough, have he or she do a little investigative work on the location you’re going via the Internet. Kids can get a feel for the city or town they are visiting. If your child is a toddler – ask him what books he’d like to bring or stuffed animal.

Children can be frightened by security measures at the airport, so go over with them ahead of time what they can expect. Another idea is to check out some of the books written for small children about flying. A bedtime read before the flight, in child friendly language and pictures, can help ease their fears.  

Try to time your travel in off-peak hours. If driving avoid rush hour, if flying look for flights that might be a little later in the day. If you’re driving you can Google road maps and road conditions ahead of time.

A helpful tip for packing is to pack each child’s clothes in plastic bags with labels of what belongs to whom. These bags can keep dirty clothes in them on the return trip.

Bring plenty of snacks whether you’re driving or flying. If flying, check the airlines approved list of what can be carried on a flight first. If your child doesn’t like the airline food, you won’t have a hungry and upset child on your hands if you’ve got something for them to eat. If you’re traveling by car, having nutritious snacks can cut down on stopping along the way. If you’re in the car, water is better than juice. Kids will usually only drink the amount of water they need as opposed to drinking a lot of juice or soda. Again, cutting down on the amount of stops you will have to make.

If you’re driving, take your car in for an inspection before hitting the road. Have your tires, fluids, belts and hoses checked.

Also, make sure you have a roadside safety kit in the car – especially if you’re going to be driving in snow or in unfamiliar terrain. A flashlight, batteries, blankets, flares, a lighter or matches, and a snow shovel are all good items to have in the trunk, plus extra water and food. Make sure you have an auto cell-phone charger with you as well. 

If you’re taking an especially long trip, build in some leg-stretching breaks. Let your kids move about and burn off some energy and give yourself a chance to re-charge and clear your head from staring at white-lines and traffic.

Kids do better in confined spaces if they have something that keeps them entertained. Video games, DVD players, music, books, their favorite toys – anything that they can entertain themselves with so they are not asking “are we there yet?” every 15 minutes. This applies to airplanes or cars.

If you’re flying make sure to check online at to see what you’re allowed to carry on a flight – there are rules about things you might not expect such as baby food, bottled breast milk, formula and carry-on gels and liquids.

Pack as light as possible whether you’re driving or flying. Airlines charge hefty luggage fees for more than one bag per person, so the fewer bags you take- the less it will cost you. You want to have as much room in the car as possible as well as space for a safety kit.

And after all of that- remember to have fun and enjoy the time you get to spend with your family. It’s precious time indeed! Happy Holidays from The Kid’s Dr. family!