This blog post was created in partnership with WEYV. All opinions are my own.
I remember traveling without kids like a gauzy flashback in a movie. No one spilled anything, crying was not part of the equation, and all I needed to bring with me was a trashy novel and a pair of headphones. I would dress nicely, and step off the plane and be ready for dinner at my destination.
Ah, those days are over— holiday travel with kids feels more akin to going into battle. It’s for the simultaneously brave-hearted and naive, because you can’t really prepare yourself for what lies ahead: The frequent bathroom breaks, the seemingly lead-filled bags bursting with supplies, and I always always ended up with an apple juice in my lap. Actually, I’d be thrilled if there was no throw-up in my lap and apple juice was the worst of it.
Piling into the car, train or plane to get to Grandma’s house (or wherever else holiday travel takes you) isn’t easy, to say the least, and it’s tough to keep your holiday joy intact. To help take the pressure off, I rounded up a handful of sanity-saving tips to make the journey less painful.
Send Your Gifts Ahead
Stuffing your trunk full of gifts— or worse, your precious luggage space— is a rookie mistake. Not to mention all the glares you’ll get when you hog the overhead compartments with all your packages. Instead, ship your gifts ahead of time instead of carrying them with you. You could ship them already wrapped or you could take advantage of Amazon Lockers, located all over the country (add some wrapping paper and tape to your order while you’re at it). At checkout, you’ll be assigned a locker number and a code for pickup— safe, and convenient.
Wear Clothes That Are TSA-Friendly
It’s tempting to wear your winter layers, especially when your suitcase is already stuffed to the gills. But if you’re hopping on an airplane to get to your holiday destination, the TSA process will be a lot swifter if you dress in attire that gives you the green light past the body scanners extra-fast. Some options: Flats or booties that slip on and off— if you have to off your shoes, unlacing (then re-lacing) sneakers can be a time suck. Also, stick to leggings and simple tops— the fewer the pockets, the less likely you’re going to forget about keys or loose change and have to endure a trip-delaying pat-down. Finally, make sure your purse or bags zippers. Spilled items in the scanning machine get you lots of dirty looks— I speak from experience.
Oh, and stuffing a lightweight change of clothes in your carry-on comes in handy in the event that you are soaked by a beverage (or someone’s bodily fluids).
Stay Entertained With an App Like WEYV
Think of this genius streaming app as Spotify (music) meets Texture (magazines), designed to be all the digital entertainment you need on your trip from A to B. So you can skip the trip to the newsstand where I somehow manage to spend a ridiculous amount of money on magazines always. Now not only can I forgo lugging around a pile of paper, but everything is tucked away in my iOS or Android device, so my carry-on is light as a feather. WEYV allows you to build custom music playlists and stations (some holiday music to get in the spirit, perhaps?) and create a reading library within the app to include your favorite magazines. What’s better? You can read and stream music at the same time.
You can also share articles you like or music recommendations with WEYV Notes: I love sending my kids articles I think they might enjoy from TIME or Sports Illustrated for Kids, or playlists of old R&B songs (they MUST know the Motown catalog before they leave the nest!) so they can keep busy doing something positive during a flight or car ride. Here’s the great news: You can pre-download anything you want to read or listen to before your flight or car trip while you’re at home, then listen or read when you’re on the road without a Wifi connection. Data = saved.
WEYV offers a 14-day free trial, no strings attached. After that, prices start at just $15/month, which gives unlimited access to all music and magazines and allows one person to use the app at a time. A Family account is $39/month, which is definitely on the costly side, but when you consider that Spotify Family is $14.99/month and Texture is $10/month for a single account (2 readers can’t use it at the same time, let alone 3), it starts to make financial sense, especially if you do a lot of traveling. I also love that with WEYV, you can add up to 25 people on any subscription for no additional cost, and they don’t have to be family members. It’s also worth mentioning that WEYV donates a small portion of proceeds to charity: The more you listen to music in WEYV, the more is donated to the charity selected by or on behalf of that artist. So you can reduce stress, travel lightly, and listen to Mariah Carey’s Christmas album, all for a good cause.
Use the promo code CARLEYK to get 2 free months of the WEYV Family Plan (a $78 value!)
The bottom line: You only have two arms. Delegating who’s carrying what can quite literally lighten your load and also minimize passive aggressive feelings when you’re feeling overwhelmed and weighted down. Even a five-year-old can be responsible for a backpack and tiny kid-sized suitcase (Away makes adorable kid-sized ones, and I love these too!). Before you walk out the door, make a checklist of who’s carrying what.
Don’t Forget a Portable Charger
Your phone is your lifeline when it comes to holiday travel. If the battery dies, all chances of your trip going smoothly die with it. (Not just with WEYV, but directions, too.) A small battery charger is an invaluable purchase that will bring your phone back to life—especially if you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have access to a plug or a USB outlet.
Wishing you safe (and stress-free) travels!
This post was created in partnership with Weyv. All opinions are my own.