Holiday travel with your family can be a rewarding but hectic experience. Living less than 10 minutes away from Bush Intercontinental Airport like Balmoral residents do can help. Don’t live near an airport? Here are some tips for a successful and stress-free holiday travel with your family.
Try to Plan Ahead
Impulse travel during the holidays isn’t a good idea. Plan your trip well in advance, including booking a hotel if you need one, flight arrangements and a list of things you want to do when you get to your destination.
Create a Packing List
Make a packing list for each family member and check it off as you go. Most airlines enforce weight or suitcase limits. Be sure you know what the limits are so you can plan accordingly. Don’t forget essential items like medications, diapers and favorite comfort items for children. If it’s a gift-giving holiday, consider mailing them ahead of time so there is more room in your luggage.
Choose Family-Friendly Accommodations
If you won’t be stating with relatives, book a hotel that caters to families. Vacation rentals and suites are excellent options. Hotels should feature amenities such as pools, cafes and play areas. If you will be staying longer than a few days, consider renting accommodations with a kitchen or kitchenette, which can be a lifesaver for preparing meals and snacks.
Build in Extra Time
If you are flying, plan to arrive at the airport well in advance of your flight. During the holidays, security lines and check-in counters can be crowded, so arriving at least 2 to 3 hours before your domestic flight and 3 to 4 hours before an international flight is a good idea. You can also check the security wait times at your airport. For Bush IAH, see wait times on the airport’s website. This can help you plan your arrival time.
Choose Alternative Transportation
Construction on Terminal E at Bush Intercontinental may cause additional delays. That means jam-packed parking. Consider calling a shuttle or ride sharing service instead. If you must drive, consider reserving a space. Follow Bush IAH traffic updates here. Also check construction updates, and allow for extra time, if needed.
Plan for Inclement Weather
Search the weather forecast for both your departure and arrival destinations. Winter weather can affect travel plans, so be prepared for potential delays and cancellations.
Have a backup plan for activities or dining options in case things don’t go as expected.
Use Mobile Check and TSA PreCheck
Many airlines offer mobile check-in services, which allow you to check in and get your boarding pass on your smartphone. If you frequently travel, consider enrolling in TSA PreCheck to expedite security screening. It can help you bypass long lines and keep your shoes and jackets on during the screening process — which can be a big help of you are traveling with toddlers.
Keep Kids EntertainedBring a variety of entertainment options for your children,such as books, coloring books, tablets and their favorite toys. Headphones can be handy to keep noise levels down. Download movies, apps and games to keep kids engaged during travel. Allow for downtime in your schedule to rest and relax, especially for younger children who may need naps.
Don’t Forget Snacks
Pack a selection of snacks. Carry an empty reusable water bottle to fill up after passing through security. Having familiar and healthy snacks on hand can help avoid hunger-related meltdowns. Be mindful of any dietary restrictions or allergies within your family.
Ensure car seats and booster seats are properly installed and secured for young children. Follow all safety regulations. Teach your children basic travel safety rules and establish a meeting point in case anyone gets separated. Prioritize your family’s health by packing any necessary medications and first-aid supplies.
Capture the Memories
Encourage your family to document the trip through photos, journaling or a travel blog. It’s a great way to reminisce and share the experiences later. Consider letting your children keep a travel journal to record their thoughts and impressions.