6 Tips for Planning a Wondrous Family Christmas Vacation

The holidays are all about spending special quality time with family and friends. Thoughtfully planning a great Christmas holiday allows you to create magical memories that will last a lifetime. Choosing a wondrous destination will provide your family with spectacular holiday moments that are sure to be talked about for years to come.

Make this Christmas amazing for you and your family by planning for the best, the worst, and everything in between. Keep the following in mind and make this season blissfully stress free.
1. What is Your Ultimate Destination? If you’re from the northern climates, perhaps this year you’d like to spend Christmas with palm trees and sun. It’s sure to be a Christmas that is well-remembered! Popular destinations for Christmas southern-style include Branson, MO., Grapevine, TX., Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Seaside, FL. On the other hand, southerners may be longing to see a bit of snow and pine. Ultimate northern Christmas destinations include charming Stockbridge, MA., Essex, CT., Darby, MT., and North Pole, AK.

2. Is Your Car Ready to Go? If you are like the millions of other Americans who plan to drive to their ultimate destination this Christmas, you’ll want to be sure your car is ready for action! Take it to your mechanic for a tune-up, and then monitor levels and pressures along the way.

• Test your battery.
• Obtain affordable car insurance. Supplementing your current insurance with cheaper coverage will help alleviate holiday stress.
• Be sure the windshield wipers are damage-free.
• Anti-freeze should be filled and have a -30 degree F rating.
• Tires should have proper tread. All-season tires shouldn’t have less than 2/32” of tread
• Brakes should be working well – if there’s a question, get the rotors and/or pads changed.
• Get an oil change.
• Pack a winter kit that includes things like extra blankets, flashlight, flares, jumper cables, gloves, hats, first aid kit, snacks, and water bottles.
• You may rely on GPS but traveling with paper maps is always a good back up. Also, make sure to let family or friends know your route and when you plan to arrive at your destination, and make sure to check in with them along the way.

1. Start Your Packing List Early. It’s easy to forget things, that’s why you’ll want to start your packing list as soon as you make plans to head out for Christmas. Keep in mind you’ll need to bring all of your family’s presents, food, stockings, clothing, decorations for your temporary homestead, and if you haven’t already wrapped gifts, you’ll need scissors, tape, wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, and tags.

2. Rent a House. Hotel rooms might serve well for every day/any day travel, but at Christmas, you’ll want your time away from home to at least feel like home. That’s why, these days, it’s a good idea to rent a house – or someone else’s home – to give you that charming home-away-from-home feeling. With many rental apps available, you’re sure to find something that is affordable, convenient, and spacious enough to house you, your family, and all of Santa’s nifty-gifties.

3. Bring Entertainment for the Family. While you might want to spend endless hours outside in the snow, chances are good not everyone will. It’s a good idea to bring along entertainment items that are familiar, and a couple that are not. A family vacation away together is the perfect opportunity to play some board games, watch movies or even make cookies by the dozen. Say yes to your son or daughter’s X-Box so they can feel a bit of comfort in the unfamiliar location. Why not play a game with them! Just make sure that everyone knows that the time away does not mean time apart.

4. Enjoy & Document Family Time. Because of the chaos of Christmas with get-togethers, choosing, making, or buying presents, decorating, baking, and the dozens of other holiday activities, it can be downright stressful. Diving into an entirely new location should help you breathe a sigh of relief and appreciation for the change. Now is the time to truly enjoy quality family time but stick to wake up and bedtime routines (for you and the children). Sleep is critically important to a good mood, so don’t run everyone’s tank on empty. Take pictures, planned and spontaneous, to capture the dazzling memories you’re all making together. Try and stay off of social media, and choose instead a quiet walk in the falling snow, a fireside story or wrapping a string of lights around the trunk of a palm tree.
A wondrous Christmas family vacation is well within reach when you prepare for it! Everything from getting your car ready to remembering to bring just the right things, to living mindfully to enjoying your time with one another, will all come together to make beautiful, lifelong memories.

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