{travel} Holiday Travel Tips for Families by Contributor, Christine Potthoff

No cooking.  No cleaning.  No ‘who’s hosting?’ debates.

Is it any wonder that holiday vacations have become so popular?

More and more families are choosing to spend their holidays on vacation for the holidays rather than ‘home for the holidays’.  Popular family destinations are responding to that demand with amazing holiday decorations and exclusive holiday events!

For instance, the Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida offers Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, with live entertainment, fireworks, Cinderella’s castle covered in lights, and holiday parades.  Royal Caribbean International® shows classic holiday movies onboard, hosts holiday ice-skating parties on select ships, and offers cookie decorating classes for the kids!

However,  planning a memorable family vacation during the holiday season can be overwhelming and potentially expensive!  Here are a few hints and tips to keep that holiday magic alive and your vacation focused on your family:

  • Book as far in advance as possible:  Don’t wait for a promotion that may likely never come during such a high-volume travel period OR that will have the all-important blackout dates, which frequently include December 24th-January 1st!  Airfare prices and availability during this time can be brutal–visit Bing Travel to know when to buy with their helpful Price Predictor!  Want connecting rooms?  These are often the first to go at family-friendly resort and on ships, so book ahead!
  • Pack lightly and carefully:  Be aware of checked or overweight baggage fees and  keep gift-giving simple when traveling over the holidays!  Also, wrapped gifts in carry-ons ARE allowed by the TSA, but they may require you to unwrap them to take a closer look.  Lastly, check for the TSA’s latest changes to what you can and can’t bring onboard before you head out.
  • Be prepared for heavier-than-normal holiday crowds:  Did you know that the week between Christmas and New Year’s is one of THE busiest times of the year to visit the Walt Disney World® Resort?  Come armed with your smartphone and some helpful wait time and dining apps!
  • Purchase vacation protection (insurance):  Unpredictable winter weather, illness, and more can wreak havoc on your family’s holiday away from home!  Protect your holiday experience and financial investment with with the right vacation protection–look out for important clauses such as ‘Cancel for Any Reason’.  Before you buy, check with your credit card to see what travel protection they may ALREADY include FOR FREE on any vacation you charge to that card!
  • Keep the kids entertained:  In the car, in restaurants, in line, on the plane, in the hotel room–there are plenty of places to keep the kids busy!  Supplement their high-tech favorites with some small bags of lightweight, no-batteries-needed finds, so that there is always something new and exciting for those ‘I’m bored!’ moments!  Bananagrams, Wikki Stix, story cubes (also available in an app!), Mad Libs, and card games are all hits in our family.

Happy holidays and safe travels! 

Follow Christine on Twitter @TravelbeCause1 and on Facebook at for more travel tips.