Though Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel days of the year, many military families are getting geared up to make the trek home for the Christmas season. Typically, children get more days off from school around the Christmas holiday making travel back home ideal for military families. If you’re in that category or if you’re just planning to visit friends and family for Christmas, we have a few travel tips to share.
We hope these quick tips help make your holiday travel experience a lot less painful and a little more merry and joyous!
- Consider flying local! When you fly from a smaller, local airport, like the Waynesville-St. Robert Regional Airport, you’re able to avoid long security lines and overcrowded check in lines. At the WSRA, you can also check your bags (for almost any airline) through to your destination at no cost (up to 2 bags). Combine these perks with free parking and you’re already off to a great start.
- Be as flexible as possible with your travel or flight dates. This will allow you to shop around for the best rates and avoid peak days and times, resulting in less stress for your whole family. Also, remember to leave time to relax during your trip. For many military families, going back home can mean packed days and schedules, which adds stress. Try to stay in one place and have people come to you to visit. Consider scheduling one activity a day and leaving extra time to relax – play card games, read books, watch movies, etc. If your service member will be coming back to visit you for the holidays, remember that he or she will need some downtime, too, especially if they’re on R&R during a deployment. Keep large family gatherings to a minimum and allow your service member time to acclimate slowly.
- If you’re flying with babies or small children, take only what you’ll need for 2 or 3 days. Plan to buy diapers, food, etc. when you arrive at your destination so you don’t have to lug it with you on the plane and through airports. And don’t forget those handy sealable bags in lots of different sizes for any possible messes or accidents.
- If you’ll be packing gifts in your suitcases, leave them unwrapped to avoid any potential problems with TSA…or better yet, buy gifts online and have them shipped directly to your destination and plan a fun family wrapping party after you arrive.
- Remember to take your holiday spirit with you when you travel. Stress and anxiety can run high this time of year, but a smile and some holiday cheer go a long way. Also, if you start feeling overwhelmed, take some time to yourself. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Before you leave, download an app like ‘Calm’, find a place to sit, and do a short meditation.
Wherever you spend the holidays, we hope you're able to spend time with family and friends and enjoy this festive season! We wish you safe travels and hope to see you at the airport soon!