I know many school's spring breaks are starting to pop up, and maybe you're one of the lucky ones who is planning to get away! My kids' spring break isn't until April...and...we're liking going to be spending it moving and/or unpacking in our new home! I wish I was heading somewhere warm, but a slow week might be just what we need to settle into our new home together.
Even if a getaway isn't in the cards for my family this year, we have experienced our fair share of travels together, and today i'm going to share my top 5 tips to make your Travel Day run smootly. Some of these need to be done in advance, so take note!
Tip #1: Get TSA Pre-Check
This fall my oldest daughter and I took a trip to New York City, just the two of us. I was a little nervous about traveling alone, let alone to a huge city I’d never been to before. Months in advance, I searched out getting TSA Pre-Check, to help make our travel day(s) go smoothly. I was nervous about NYC airports being extra busy and didn't want to get caught up in security.
The process of getting TSA Pre-Check was super easy! I basically signed up for a time to have an in-person interview, where I had to bring a few legal documents, get my fingerprints done and have my photo taken. The man who did my interview was super nice and even helped me renew my passport while I was there (I have no plans to travel outside the US, but I guess it's much easier to renew your passport within a year of it expiring than it is to let it lapse.) Within a few weeks you receive a document with a number assigned to you that you input when purchasing your flight tickets.
Having TSA Pre-Check allows you to go through a much shorter line at security, you don't need to remove anything from your bags, or even take off your shoes! The best part? It's good for 5 years, and your children under 16 are allowed to go through with you! Once they turn 16, they will need to go through the interview process and get their own personal ID number.
Tip #2: Do Some Light Housecleaning
A day or two before your trip, do some light housecleaning. I'm not talking a full out deep scrub, cause we all know no one has time for that while packing a family too, but it's so nice to come home to a semi-clean house instead of one that looks like it was robbed while you were gone. I also like to make sure we have a take-n-bake pizza or some other premade meal in the frezer, for the day we get home. I certainly don't want to have to run to the store after getting back from a trip! Knowing I have a meal in the freezer buys me some extra time to unpack and relax once we're back home.
Tip #3: Pack Snacks In Clear Bags
If you don't have TSA Pre-Check (see Tip #1 above), you will be asked to take out any liquids AND any SNACKS in your bags. What mom doesn't have snacks stashed in every bag and pocket possible?!? My goal at the airport is to get through security as easily as possible, because as a family of six it could easily turn into a circus!
So, I prepare ahead of time by packing each kid their own snacks in a clear plastic bag. Then I put ALL the bags in my carry on, with anything else that will need to be pulled out for security. That way, my bag is the only bag that needs to be fussed with and I know exactly where everything is. Once we're on the other side, then I can distribute snack bags to the kids' backpacks if I choose.
Tip #4: Have Kids Sleep In Their Travel Clothes
More often than not, we end up catching an early flight out in the morning. It can be a pain, but arriving at our destination with daylight hours to spare is worth it. We have our kids sleep in their travel clothes, so it's just one less thing to do in the morning. For my girls, this is usually leggings and a sweatshirt, or a comfy dress that they can toss a jean jacket over. For my boys, it's usually a pair of joggers and cozy tee. When they were babies, we just kept them in their jammies!
Tip #5: Wake The Kids Up Last!
My husband and I get up before the kids, and our routine looks like this:
Get ourselves ready, make breakfast (something we can eat in the car like egg bagel sandwiches), load all luggage in the car, secure the house, THEN wake the kids and head out. Not having the kids underfoot while we're scurrying about helps save our sanity, and the more sleep the kids get, the better!
How do you prepare for a smooth travel day? I always love to learn new tips and tricks!