The Do’s and Don’ts of Traveling During Christmas

When traveling during Christmas with the kids, the most wonderful time of the year can also turn into one of the most stressful. Although it may be a breeze for older children, when traveling with the younger ones, it may become a bit more difficult. You should tell everyone the plans beforehand, so there are no “disappointing” surprises. It is wise to ensure the children comprehend Santa knows where to find them on Christmas Eve.

Depending on where you are going and your mode of transportation, you may be able to gather some of the gifts ahead of time to bring along to your in-law’s house, especially some of the smaller ones. If you are traveling by air, it might be worth it to pack some gifts in an additional suitcase. If you decide that is your best bet, keep in mind the bag may have to be searched so don’t pre-wrap your gifts.

If you can’t bring along any gifts, don’t fret! Follow these simple tips to keep your traveling Christmas adventure merry and bright.


  • Bring a piece of home with you. Roll up your stockings and hang them in the hotel room, or bring a special ornament you use every year.
  • Be sure to bring a sentimental piece of your holiday tradition with you. If your family reads ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas every year, it is worth bringing it along. If you always eat a special cookie, pack it in your carry-on to enjoy.
  • Research to see if there are holiday attractions at your final destination. Check to see if your hotel does anything special for children, and if they do, be sure to sign up ahead of time.
  • Take a picture of your Christmas tree before you leave if you can’t bring any gifts along. If at all possible, ask a neighbor or friend to place the gifts around the tree and snap a picture to show the kids Santa Claus didn’t miss them!
  • Search the web to see if there are any websites that might interest the children. Try out Santa Tracker, Portable North Pole, Reindeercam, ElfYourself or JibJab Holidays to customize or track Santa’s journey from the North Pole.
Boy on ferry during Christmas

© Tatyana Tomsickova | Dreamstime


  • Although it seems like a good idea, don’t ship gifts directly to the hotel or final destination unless they are family or a trusted and reliable hotel you have had a previous relationship with. You do not want to deal with lost or stolen presents on Christmas Day.
  • Try not to burn the kids out. The holiday season is hectic and so is traveling. Combining the two may create tired, little Grinches.
  • Do not put your guard down. Although you and your family might be in a giving, trustworthy and easy-going holiday mood, some people are not and may try to take advantage. Keep your eye on the kids at all times and do not leave your bags. Crime rate is unfortunately high during the holidays and criminals may be on the prowl.
  • There is no need to bring everything. Leave some gifts at home so you don’t have to transport a million suitcases. This will also leave an element of surprise for the kids.
  • Whatever you do, don’t lose your cool. Everyone is on the same boat while traveling with young kids during the holiday season, and panicking will only make things worse. Expect minor hiccups and things not going perfectly.