Winter holidays are a time to be close to family and friends. So, winter travel is a crucial way to get together for the holiday seasons.
The first 6 tips will help with what to pack, how to plan winter holiday travels, and how to make the most of it by spending time with family. If you are not going to travel this year, the remaining 6 tips will still come in handy for you as well.
We'll cover how to make your house comfortable for guests, winter activities, and how to get into the spirit of the seasons in this guide.
1. Plan Trips in Advance | 2. Winter Packing | 3. Airlines & Security | 4. Traveling By Car | 5. Preparing Your Home for Travel | 6. Traveling with Gifts | 7. Preparing to Host Guests | 8. Decorate Your Home | 9. Designate the Main Entertaining Space | 10. Prepare Fun Activities | 11. Make Proper Sleeping Arrangements | 12. Give Back to Your Community
So, get ready to have the best winter holiday with these 12 winter tips.
Before packing or traveling anywhere, the first thing to consider is to plan out any trips you might go on during the winter season. Discuss with relatives if they can accommodate you, or if they know what the closest hotels to their house are.
The sooner you can book flights, hotel rooms, and reservations, the better the prices will be. You'll need to get well ahead on any deals before everything is booked.
It's best to start planning months in advance for your flight, or other travel. Plan in October for Thanksgiving and November for any other winter holiday you are celebrating.
Packing, in general, is challenging on its own, let alone packing for winter. Winter travel involves packing your suitcase with winter travel items, such as boots, jackets, coats, gloves, a hat, or any objects to keep you warm during the winter holiday season.
Winter clothing can take up a lot of space, so it's crucial to plan accordingly.
First, consider how long you're going to be gone on your trips. Trips that last a few days will not need as many items as trips that last two weeks or more. To pack for a short trip, consider packing warm clothes that will not take too much room in a suitcase. One jacket, hat, pair of gloves, and boots for each person, should be enough for up to a week.
You may also want to check the weather for your destinations a little more than a week before you leave. Thus ensuring you have packed the right items for your trip, and you'll have room to pack any little souvenirs you'll want to bring home.
If traveling on a flight, make sure to lightly fill your carry on by loading only the most essential items. Toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, hairbrush, extra set of clothes, and other self-care items are great to pack into a carry on bag. Wear your heaviest clothing on the plane, like gloves, a hat, or other related articles, and take them off when you board your flight.
For a two week trip or longer, you still don't need to bring a hefty amount of clothing to stay warm. Layer your clothing in different ways to avoid having to wear heavy, burdensome clothes; it saves not only your suitcase but your sanity as well.
Even in the snow, it's best to layer your clothes than to wear a bunch of heavy clothing, making you frustrated. Another way to save space in your suitcase is when you pack everything, be sure to roll socks, shirts, pants, and other clothes to make room for thicker items.
Children should have their own luggage or pack to put clothing and other belongings inside. Save yourself some space and time by allowing children to pack their own winter clothes and toys. They will feel like big kids, and it will let you finish packing for yourself.
Keep in mind not to overpack their luggage so they'll be able to carry it around. If possible, you may want to consider getting them to pick one or two of their favorite big toy or a few small toys to bring with them instead of their whole toy box.
Also, write their name on everything to ensure nothing gets mixed up with a cousin's clothes or toys. Labeling your items makes them easier to keep track of, especially if you accidentally leave something at a relative's house.
Searching for the airlines with the best deals is too time-consuming. Consider an airline you may already have a relationship and travel points with, and book through them. Airline travel points are a great way to save a ton of money if you travel by plane most of the time.
Airlines allow people who sign with them to build loyalty points by traveling through a particular airline numerous times. These points allow people to travel for free if they have built up enough points through the award system. Delta, American Airlines, and Southwest offer some kind of reward travel program, partnered with specific credit cards, to bring their customers good free flights.
Many of these airlines provide travel alerts available on an app, so be sure to sign up with your travel carrier not to miss your flight. Websites like Expedia, TripAdvisor, Kayak, Travelocity, or other related sites, compare flights from one another to get the perfect match for you.
Most of them also offer to compare hotel rates to select hotel rooms. If you plan to travel by plane, make sure to plan with your airline and book in advance because holiday season flights may book fast. The winter holiday months (November and December) through January are full of anxious travelers.
Don't forget to arrive at the airport early. Give yourself at least thirty minutes to an hour in advance, so you don't miss your flight. If it's possible, print your boarding pass at home and get your luggage screened ahead of time.
After arriving at the airport, make sure to follow any airport security measures and or rules. For instance, a common practice in airport security is to check any luggage or personal belongings to ensure other passengers' safety.
You may feel frustrated if you're carrying a lot of items on you, so leave loose items in a small bag or bag pocket to retrieve after you pass security checks. Most airlines also have a liquids rule, so you may need to check with the airline to see if you are abiding by their rule and regulations.
Since every airline is different, use the federal list of prohibited items from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website to avoid any potential flight security violations when you arrive at the airport.
If your winter travel plans don't include planes, then you can always travel by car. Traveling by car is time-consuming, but also rewarding in its own way. When you travel by car, you'll get to experience more scenic routes than airplane travel.
You can include a road trip to better connect with your immediate family. Plus, when you travel by car, you don't have the deal with the pesky luggage security checks and infuriating long lines like the airport. However, there are preparations you need to make before departing on your trip.
Map out the areas you need to go through, use Google Maps to safely and accurately find the best routes to take. Mapping your route will help you avoid making unnecessary stops along the way and arrive at your destination sooner.
- Filling the gas tank before leaving
- Wearing warm, comfortable clothing
- Checking the weather for snow or rain
- Being aware of any traffic delays as your trip progresses.
If you haven't already, sign up for roadside assistance to ensure any car problems are taken care of while you are on the road.
As you set off on a winter holiday adventure, be sure to arrange for your house to be taken care of while you are gone. Turn off the lights (except for one or two), unplug anything that can be a fire hazard (T.V., coffee pots, etc.), and if you are not bringing your pets, then arrange for them a caretaker.
Turning off the lights will save you money, but do be mindful to leave at least one light switched on. You want to give the illusion that you're there to prevent anyone from breaking in while you are away.
Fires are everywhere, and we can never really know when it can happen, but we can do our best to avoid them at all costs. So, unplugging everything that sparks or blazes up should help in that department. Have a responsible caregiver look after your pets, or schedule some time for your pet at a temporary shelter.
Otherwise, you can see if a trustworthy neighbor, or friend, can look after your pet and carry the mail and packages inside your house while you're away. This way, no one will take away any essential packages or mail, and everything will be ready for you when you return from your trip.
If you're exchanging gifts this year, then be sure of the proper regulations of wrapped presents. TSA might remove the wrapping paper from the item to save yourself the trouble, take gifts unwrapped, or have them shipped. The same will apply if you are taking back gifts from the trip.
So, it's better to pack every gift into a box and send it to your house, or if the gift is clothing, then load it into your luggage or carry on. Don't forget to sign everyone's name on their gift just in case there is a risk of a mix-up.
If you're the one entertaining everyone this year, you will need to prepare everything your guests will need. Pack away any clutter, clear out a closet for coats, and designate a spot for family to gather around. Clearing out a safe, warm room with clean linens is a start.
Supply the bathroom with extra toiletries like deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, extra toilet paper, etc. just in case they have forgotten something.
Distribute night lights around the hallway and bedrooms so they can see at night. Also, get a motion-activated light around the front and back of your house so guests will not trip.
Setting up decorations will get you more into the holiday spirit and impress guests when they arrive. The kids will love the extra fun decorations you've added to the house. This fun activity will keep the good mood alive for the rest of the visit and give you a chance to work on other last-minute things.
Give each child a decoration task to complete for a fun competition, and then take their decorations to use as centerpieces. Then when additional guests arrive, they will notice the personal touches their creations added to your winter holiday decor.
- For Christmas, allow them to help decorate the tree, mantle, or create their own ornaments.
- For Hanukkah, you can light the mantle with gorgeous blue lights, beautifully beaded dreidels, and the Star-of-David ornaments.
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The living room or any open area in your house will be an excellent spot to have a family gathering when guests arrive. Most families choose this room for most of the entertaining. Having a festive movie playing or soft music in the background can help relish in the holiday spirit.
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Taking a walk around the neighborhood to grab a hot chocolate is just one of the many activities you can do while on winter break. Hot chocolate is a staple beverage of the cold winter weather season and a crowd favorite that every person likes.
Bundle up in your favorite winter outfit, and play in the cold fresh snow! Build an adorable snowman, snow angel, or throw snow-balls. Layer the kids in warm shirts, snow boots, a hat, gloves, and a bulky jacket to keep them warm and toasty while they play in the cold weather.
If the weather is too cold, then you can at least spend your day cozied up playing games or watching your favorite movies. Play games like I Spy, Monopoly, Battleship, or any other games you like to play together. For movie ideas, Elf, Home Alone, or Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer are all great classic movies to select to get into the holiday spirit.
Pop some hot popcorn and get ready for some quality family time.
Another activity to do is to have a Gingerbread House building competition. Whoever finishes the best put together Gingerbread house first wins! Then afterward, you'll get to eat or display them your wonderful creation.
If you want to do more crafts, you can create a sign to go in front of your holiday greeting card. Paint it with fun snowmen, Santa Claus, or other holiday symbols to get the winter holiday feel.
First, before everyone arrives for the big day, have a list of everyone's name who plans to stay over so you can make the proper sleeping arrangements. You can readjust your living room quarters to suit everyone if you have relatives sleeping over.
If you don't have a pullout couch, then move all of the living room furniture out of the way and place a layer of sleeping mats down on the floor. Turn this into a setting where a large group can enjoy a holiday movie (like mentioned above) before getting settled in on a cold-weather night.
Then in the morning, carry all of the furniture back to its spot, and tada, your living room is back to normal! Also, keep your pantry stocked, and available, for any late-night snackers who need a quick bite to eat. Layout a pack of cookies or crackers, a pack of cold sodas or waters, and some paper plates or napkins just to be on the safe side.
Giving back to people in need is always a way to cherish the holiday seasons. This time of year is more than just presents and fancy dinners. It's about how we treat each other and see what we can do to help brighten someone's holiday.
Many charities start taking donations for food, toys, clothing, and anything else needed before the end of October. One of the most significant charity donations to give new toys to needy kids is Toys For Tots.
Toys For Tots is a nonprofit charity for kids in need who may not receive new toys for the holiday season. Room to Grow is a charity that donates clothes for infants to wear all year round. Also, check with the Salvation Army; they pick up any gently used clothing that people don't want to wear anymore.
That way, if you don't have the time to carry the items to them, they can pick it up instead. It's much appreciated for people who need coats for the upcoming cold weather. Feeding America is another year-round charity but only accepts bottled water and nonperishable food items. If you have any leftovers, you can do good things with your holiday meals, like carry them to your local food bank.
The cold weather brings the excitement of the upcoming winter festivities that bring families closer and connect more than any other time of the year. Sometimes to connect with the family, you'll have to travel to them.
Either by plane or by car, the travel tips above should help you get to your destination a lot easier. And if you don't have to travel, then the alternative tips above will help you prepare for entertaining your guests worry-free!
From everyone at Miraclesofa.com We hope you have a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year!