The holidays are a wondrous time of giving and good cheer, but for many of us this season brings along a load of stress at the same time. If you’re planning on traveling with your family over the holidays, you’re going to need to do some serious preparation work to make sure everything goes smoothly. It’s always difficult to coordinate trips like this, and getting everyone on the same page can be even more difficult during these hectic holiday times. Getting your family prepared is going to require a bit of work, but the payoff will make it all worthwhile.

Start by mentally packing in advance. When the time comes, you want everyone to be fully packed and ready to go the day before departure to ensure that there’s no hectic running around on the big day. Print out check lists of the various necessities that everyone should pack and distribute them to the family. Nothing is more frustrating than getting on the plane or arriving at your destination only to find out that someone’s left some important item back at home. Getting ready with check lists helps make sure that everyone has everything they need.

While you want to make sure that everyone has everything they need for the trip, you also want to make sure that nobody is bringing along superfluous items that they won’t need. Excess baggage is a tremendous hassle to carry around throughout your travels, and the possibility of luggage being lost only has the potential to add more unneeded stress to your holidays. What’s more, airlines are raising their baggage check fees all the time, so all those suitcases are going to add up to a significant extra expense. Try to keep luggage limited to carry-on bags whenever possible to make things infinitely easier and cheaper.

Be sure to double check all of your reservations and bookings for everything from air fare to hotel accommodations. We’ve all heard the stories about folks who show up for their flight at the wrong time, or make the absurd mistake of going to the wrong airport–it sounds crazy, but it happens more often than you’d imagine. In the days leading up to your family’s trip, be sure to go over all reservations and make sure everything is in order. Careful planning is the most important factor in deciding whether your trip will be fun or frustrating.

Finally, make sure that everyone is on the same page with regards to itinerary. Whether you’re staying local or going on exotic India tours, the possibility of someone getting lost or missing a meetup has the potential to ruin an entire day, or even an entire trip. Have a definite plan for each day, make sure that everyone knows to stay in touch, and decide in advance on designated regrouping areas in the event of any problem. If you follow these guidelines for getting prepared, your family is sure to have a great time traveling this holiday season.

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