Holiday Travel- Avoiding Headaches and Enjoying your Family!

Before Jordan and I had kids, traveling was a whole different ball game. 
We could skip from one family function to the next without hesitation. 
We could drive as long and as far as we wanted at whatever hour of the day. 
Well here we are 3 kids later and I think we might have this holiday headache travel down to an art.
Here are my personal tips for keeping the holidays, HAPPY! 

Make a list and check it twice! (This goes for bags too)
If you are just going for one night this is a little easier. But if you are flying or traveling for a few days, make a list of EVERYTHING you might need. Clothing is obvious, but think about the unforeseen circumstances like the kids getting sick (medicine, thermometer), your camera running out of batteries (chargers, extras) and just things to keep you and the kids sane along the way (food, drinks, toys). If you are flying make sure you have ID's and passports (have your husband carry them, make it easier) I also cannot tell you how many times I have forgot the pack n play for the baby! Before you leave the driveway make sure all the bags are in the car, once I left my suitcase with all of mine and the kids stuff. It made for an unhappy husband when I had to go buy all new clothing for the 3 day trip! (it was a bonus for me, but I think this is only a once every few years mistake!!) 

Be Realistic.
If you have divorced families like us and 4 events in one day it may not be possible to make them all. This is where you need to be up front and honest. After our second child it was way too much to fit all of our families in on each holiday. Our plan of route was to do my husband's family every Christmas and mine on Thanksgiving, then we host Easter. If I could host every holiday I truly would! We try our best to stick to this schedule but we give wiggle room to it. It is not possible for us to make it to every house on every holiday so we chose the easiest, most fair plan that worked for us. If our families lived in the same town it might be a different story but just be honest if it is too tough for you to make the function happen. You want your kids to be happy and comfortable because let's face it, if they aren't you will not be able to enjoy the holidays and relax. 

Leave EXTRA time for travel.
Whether you are driving or flying leave EXTRA time. I am a huge procrastinator when it comes to getting everything and everyone out the door. My husband has started putting a buffer time on our schedule to allow for my lateness. Also with the traffic and madness of the holidays you do not want to be stuck in traffic and be late. So just leave earlier so you are not rushing around and mostly so you are not stressed.

Choose a different day to celebrate.
Sure, I know everyone wants to celebrate on the actual day of the holiday, but sometimes that just cannot happen and that is okay! As long as you are together for the holiday as a family it should not matter what date the calendar is showing. For instance, since we do not celebrate Christmas day with my family we will do it the following weekend. It is just as special as Christmas day because we are together as a family and spending quality time with one another. Also choosing a different day to celebrate might be easier for travel! Less traffic, cheaper flights, you get my point!:) 

Keep Calm & Drink a glass of wine!
Nothing ruins the holidays quite like a bad attitude. I understand we all have the picture perfect idea of what the holiday should be like but sometimes that does not happen. Just roll with the punches, don't be upset if your sister is late or the rolls burn in the oven. What matters is that you are with your loved ones. Share stories, laugh about life and create new memories. Give hugs and let your family know how much they mean to you! Tomorrow you will not remember the burnt rolls, you will remember the time you shared.

I hope you guys enjoy your holiday and even if the travel does not go as expected keep in mind that the holidays are not about togetherness! Leave the small stuff behind and enjoy each moment you get with your family! 

Do you have any tips or tricks for making the holiday's easier??? I am sure I missed some!

PS. I cannot wait to eat all the goodies this holiday!! 
The best part besides seeing our family, is the FOOD!:) 
I can already taste my mother in law's cheesy potatoes! (yum yum) 


  1. Thank you for the post, it was perfectly timed. We leave for Florida tomorrow morning for Christmas at Thanksgiving with my hubby's family (and I'm flying with all three kids alone! ahhhh!) But anyway, I would have totally forgot my camera battery charger had I not read this. It's now in my bag and ready. THANK YOU and HAPPY HOLIDAYS! :)

  2. You are SO right! Currently holidays are crazy! We have to go to SO many places. But we do it because we know that once we have kids we won't be able to. I'm going to make everyone come to us! Haha. And thankfully, Hubby's extended family is out of state and they switched Christmas to the weekend after! Thank goodness!

  3. Haha I just posted something about keeping calm and cool during the holidays. I skipped a step it seems... forgot about drinking a glass of wine! Thankfully, you remembered!! Hahaha =)


  4. This was such a great list Allie!! We have a 7-hour drive to Nashville ahead of us this Thanksgiving...and like you said, with both sets of parents divorced we'll attempt to split november and december between each of them as best as possible!! With lots of food to spare :)

  5. I loved this post so much that I included it my biweekly series, Lots of Link Love! I hope you'll come take a look, find some other fabulous posts from fabulous bloggers, and share with your readers!