12 Real-Life Mom Tricks to Survive Holiday Travel With Kids

You've made your list and checked it twice. Now, comes the hardest part: crossing the state or country with kids during the busiest time of the year. Set yourself up for success with these travel-smart buys.

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November 19, 2019

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but traffic jams and delayed planes can put a hamper on anyone's holiday cheer.

Our yearly jaunt is an eight-hour drive to Georgia, and our first task is usually figuring out the best time to drive through Atlanta. Equally as important is stocking our car with everything we need for happy kids. Having tablets or movies to watch is a must but even that loses its luster after little ones have been sitting still for three or four hours. My survival formula is a mix of games, activities and food — and, then, for my own sanity, a way to keep it all organized.

This season, I'm not letting the hustle and bustle take over our travel days and neither should you. With these smart buys, we can all head out on the road or to the airport with less stress and hopefully, even make a few lovely memories.


Whether climbing into the car or hopping on a plane, this handy and oh-so-adorable rolling luggage gives each child a chance to take responsibility for her own suitcase. There's a variety of animals to choose from, including a butterfly, giraffe, ladybug, monkey and puppy dog. Kids will be excited about the fun design and you'll be glad to let them learn ownership and independence.


Keeping kiddos entertained on long travel days can be a challenge. SmartGames has a collection of clever and fun travel games, all which come with a carrying case to keep all the pieces together. We love this 3-D ice puzzle that has 60 challenges for getting penguins to a pool party. A little strategy will keep them focused...for a little while.


No-mess travel solutions are always a win. Fill the pen with water so kids can color the book over and over again as the pages dry. You don't have to worry about crushed crayons in car seats or markers on the airplane tray.


Gee, the traffic is terrific! If you're heading out for an interstate-packed road trip, you'll want every tool at your disposal. These organizers hang on the back of the seat to keep everything your kids need within reach — a tablet for watching movies, art supplies, drinks and a collection of toys.


Be prepared for little accidents to keep tears to a minimum. This compact first aid kit is easy to stow in your bag while traveling and has 30 colored bandages, antibiotic ointment, anti-inch ointment and hand sanitizer. All must-haves if you ask us.


Having an activity the whole family can enjoy together is a wonderful way to pass the long hours on the road. Grab an audiobook on disc or download one on Audible to listen to on your way to visit family. Fun fact: You can loan digital downloads or CDs from your local library for free! A few of our favorite family-friendly options are Mr. Popper's Penguins, How to Train Your Dragon, Matlida and The House on Pooh Corner.

$19.99 for five

Food is essential to any travel survival. Grab these reusable bags to take along packed snacks for the road or plane. They're leakproof, BPA-free and a more sustainable choice to disposable plastic bags. When kids finish eating, simply rinse them out and reuse to store stray items like hairbands or small toys.


Inexpensive and a big hit with younger kids, gel clings are fun to add to car windows or play with on plane trays. Trust us, sometimes the cheapest entertainment is the most-loved.


Another no-mess travel idea is the Boogie Board. Write and draw with the included stylus (no need for pens, crayons or markers) and erase clean with the touch of a button. The vivid colors create a playful background kids will love. Encourage them to practice writing letters, words and numbers or use it to play games like Hangman and Pictionary.


Have a no-leak water bottle ready for travel days. The Yeti rambler keeps drinks cold or hot with its double-wall vacuum insulation. You'll cut down on waste and cost by filling this puppy up again and again.


One of the more annoying parts of plane travel is having to keep up with or check booster seats to have once you land. This clever design folds up 10 times smaller than a traditional booster seat and is easily stowed in one of your bags. It's designed for children between 40-57 inches in height and weighing between 40-100 pounds.

CraftandBoogie at Etsy

With the busyness of the holidays, save yourself the hassle of grabbing little trinkets to entertain your kids and opt for this already prepped busy box for airplanes. Full of fun games, crafts, color pages and trivia, the box full of brand-new items is sure to entertain your kids while flying above the clouds.

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