That doesn't make it the worst time though. Sure there are plenty of stressed out, leave everything to the last minute, mad at the world, kind of people out there, but it doesn't take a whole lot of preparation to not be one of them. Mostly it just takes a little planning and a positive attitude. That's not a lot to ask, but for the 50% of you who just went "How am I supposed to have a positive attitude? The kids aren't allowed in the airport bar!", here's a few of the other ways that we cope with traveling at Christmas:
Leave lots of time
Feed the kids
I hate airport food prices as much as you do, but it's just an expense I've decided to live with as my kids are immensely better travelers when they're not hungry. This doesn't mean they get carte blanche at the food court. My daughters passion for Cinnabon could easily double the cost of whatever discount airfare we're flying on that day. I am willing to pop for hotcakes and sausage at McDonalds however, mainly because there's usually a little bit that finds it's way into the Daddy line.
Don't sit right at the gate
Don't bring overhead carry-on items
Easier said than done I know, but it's possibly the biggest stress reliever I can think of. If you don't need bin space (and you're not flying Southwest) then there's no need to be at the front of the line to board. You don't need to be at the gate quite as early, and you don't have to search the entire plane if the spots near your seat are gone already. Besides, you only have to store your bags under your seat for takeoff and landing. Outside of that, you can dump them all under your kids feet while reminding them of the days when you were young and used to travel with nothing more than a small backpack and a bag lunch (which inevitably will lead to questions about just how old you really are).
Try and remember what it was like
|Try explaining that at security|
I may not have to deal with these things anymore, but you can bet somebody on the plane will be. Try and have some sympathy for the families in the beginning stages of their traveling adventures. It will help them, and it'll help make your trip more enjoyable as well. Most of all, remember the fun and excitement that waits for you on the other end of your trip. Unless it's your year to visit the in-laws. Those kind of stress levels, I can't help you with.