Entry #1714, October 11, 2012
These days family travel is more of a trial than a treat, what with long lines polluting the airports and skyrocketing gas prices impacting the savings you’d normally get from driving to your destination. And when you travel with a large group it only adds to the inherent hassle and ratchets up your stress level. So if you’re looking for a way to dial down the pressure of planning a large family trip, here are just a few tips and tricks to help you cover the bases and ensure your vacation goes off without a hitch.
As if it’s not hard enough to keep track of people when you’re traveling with a large group, you’ll also have to make sure that everyone has their luggage coming and going. However, this hassle can be made easier by limiting each person to one piece of checked luggage and one carry-on item (or one suitcase and one small backpack that can go on the floor for car travel). This will also cut down on associated costs for additional checked bags, potentially saving you a ton of money.
Make a checklist.
Santa couldn’t get by without making his list and checking it twice, and you could learn from his example (however fictional). In truth, you’ll likely need multiple checklists that include itinerary items, important to-dos before you hit the bricks, and packing lists for everyone you’re responsible for (mainly yourself and any kids under your care). Check them off as you go, and when it comes to packing bags, check them again before you head to the airport or load the car.
It’s a good idea to call in refills of medications well ahead of time to ensure that you don’t run out during your trip. And you should also check the weather at your destination to make sure that you have the clothing items everyone needs. If not, you want to have enough time to go shopping before you embark on your trip.
If you’re not the type to put kids on leashes, at least mark them with identification so that they can be easily found. The best thing you can probably do is supply each child with an ID bracelet that has their name, your contact information, and potentially any allergies or medical conditions, in case they end up in a hospital. But you might also print this information and put it in their pocket, for example, if you don’t have time for the whole bracelet thing. This way, if they are separated from you in the airport or at your travel destination, they can seek out an authority figure to quickly get in touch with you. As an added precaution you should carry recent photos with you to aid authorities in finding a lost child.
Nearly everyone in your party can shoulder some of the responsibility during your trip, so if you’re handling airline arrangements, assign another adult to tackle the hotel reservations and set someone else to arranging for transportation (like a shuttle or car service to Bradley airport, for example). Even kids can be asked to complete simple activities like packing bags, planning their outfits for the day of travel, and making sure they have their own forms of entertainment (MP3 players, handheld gaming devices, books, games, and so on). Everyone is capable of shouldering some of the burden so that you can relax and enjoy yourself.
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