How to Choose the Right Kind of Holiday Travel for Your Family

Determine How to Travel for the Holidays with Family

Thoughts on navigating tricky holiday travel.

When we think of holiday travel, many of us have visions, and even childhood memories, of traveling to grandma and grandpa’s house to celebrate Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays.

As we all know, the world is different now from the time of our childhood and that of our parents. Technology has changed the world around us and made it easier than ever to travel. We can book our airfare, rental cars and accommodations all without speaking a word.

Yet, families have also changed since those stereotypical “Better Homes and Gardens” families of days passed. We’re busier than ever. We’re more connected than ever. Or, are we just more connected to technology, neglecting the very world and people around?

Holidays are important times for memories, old and new. It’s a season of reflection and rejoicing. A time to count our blessings and give thanks, celebrating gratitude and teaching our children to do the same. Even a perfect time to “disconnect” for a bit, and spend time with family “in real life” instead of online.

For some, holidays are full of joy, exuberance and excitement. Others are celebrating without loved ones who’ve passed away or broken relationships and divorces, and somehow things don’t seem the same.

In today's culture, how do we navigate the “right” way to travel to visit family for the holidays? Or, perhaps, we choose to vacation with our spouse and children instead? It seems everyone involved will offer an opinion.

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Travel Questions to Think About

When we think about the word “style”, we may not associate it with travel. Yet, there are as many ways to travel with your family as there are types of shirts to wear. There are a few key factors at play when deciding what kind of travel to book with your family, especially if you’re traveling with baby:

  • Are you visiting family? 
  • Will you stay with them or will you book lodging nearby?
  • Will you fly or drive? And if you drive, your car or a rental? 
  • How will you get to your final destination and what will you do about a car seat if you fly? 
  • How will baby sleep when traveling?
  • Do you have older children, too? 
  • If you’re making the holidays into a vacation, is it just your immediate family or are you taking a multi-generational trip? 
  • If you’re not traveling with family, how will you explain to them the need to take a vacation for the holidays instead of coming to visit? 
  • How do you determine whose family of origin to visit if your family and your spouse’s live in different areas? 
  • Do you split the holidays, one for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas and then alternate? 
  • If you’re traveling with family, will you rent a vacation home to share or head to a resort? 

Putting some thought into the answers to the questions above before you begin making travel arrangements will help you have the best holiday travels possible. While I don’t have the answers for your family’s particular situation, I do know being loving and honest with each other will make for the best adventures.

Try talking with your family and coming up with compromises that work. Perhaps you can celebrate the week before or after? Ask for advice from trusted married friends in similar situations and see what’s worked for them.

We’ve personally combined our holiday style into a little travel away, just the four of us, and alternating holidays on other years. One year, we traveled with friends to Costa Rica for a lobster feast on Thanksgiving, and another year, rented a vacation home in Vail with just the four of us. We made a point to celebrate Christmas with our families on the years we were gone for Thanksgiving.

What is your Travel Style?

What kind of recreation or lack of are you looking for? Resorts and towns may have special holiday themed activities. Take these kind of activities into consideration when determining your travel style:

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  • Visiting family
  • Visiting family but staying at a hotel
  • Pampering spas 
  • Creating a “home away from home”
  • Budget vacation
  • Shopping
  • Holiday activities
  • Entertainment
  • Warm weather destinations
  • Cold weather and snow plans
  • Beach and/or baby-friendly pool access 
  • Getting away from it all
  • Golfing, skiing, or other recreational sports for mom, dad and kids
  • Child care, including babysitting, kids’ clubs, or nanny services

Whatever the style you determine is your family’s own, be confident in your decisions and make the best of the memories ahead, spreading a little bit of holiday joy wherever your adventures will lead.

Jen Reyneri

Jen Reyneri

Renaissance Woman Jen Reyneri and her husband Luis often live life on the road with their two home-schooled sons. Popular author and speaker, Jen is founder of Spirited and spirit filled, she savors life, poetic words, sabbaticals and strong coffee.

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