Tips and advice

Tips for Traveling with Family

As the holiday season is drawing closer, there are quite a few perks to look forward to: homemade treats, seeing old friends, and possibly best of all, presents. But of course, there's always one aspect of holiday celebrations which tends to get more "ughs" than "ahs". Traveling with family can be a nightmare for some - whether it's packing into a small car, sitting next to your snoring Dad on a 6 hour flight, or arguing over who'll watch the bags on a bathroom break, family doesn't always make for the best travel companions. Here are some quick tips to get by during those long hours on the road or in the sky:

Know Where You're Going

Research is key before planning any trip. Make sure you know all there is to know about your destination - WikiTravel is a great resource for general information about those places you've never been to before. Doing some research will help you figure out what clothes to pack, what restaurants to visit, and what public transportation you can take to get around once you're there. If it's a place you've visited before - say, somewhere family lives - research can help you find some new things to see and do in that familiar place. Do a quick search for a new music venue or perhaps a museum you've never seen. There's always something new to discover. Keep in mind, most major cities plan free holiday events for their residents from now through February, so visit your destination's .gov website and see what you can find.

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Triple Check Your Suitcase Few anxieties can match the fear of forgetting something on a long trip. When you're packing for a group, it's even more important to know exactly what you're packing. A list never hurts; but don't forget some other essentials. Snacks are always key whether you're flying or driving. So are drugs like aspirin, allergy medication, or any prescription drugs for you or your family. Some other essentials: water for a long drive, travel games like Boggle, and a comfy pillow so you can sleep (or pretend to sleep to get out of awkward conversation on a plane).

Take Advantage of the Time Away

Anyone can appreciate a little time away from the office or out of school - why not make the most of it on your holiday trip? Plan to do something new with your family. There are plenty of discount attractions you and your family can take advantage of for a new experience. For instance, purchasing a discount pass to New York City gets you reduced admission to the Top of the Rock, the Empire State Building, and over ten city museums. Check out holiday hours and see if you can snag any specials while you're there.

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And Most of All, Be Flexible A lot can go wrong on a trip, especially when you're traveling with a group. Remember that attitude is everything, so if your trip goes off course, know that you can still make the most of it. And while you can't plan for everything, you can always make a backup plan - pick a few attractions to visit instead of setting your heart on one, and leave a little early so that you don't get derailed by traffic. Part of the fun can be coming up with a plan on the fly - and if it's not, make sure you have a good playlist to drown out the family noise.

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