The PreparaMom Guide to Family Hikes

The PreparaMom Guide to Family Hikes

As a former scout and medic and a current fire captain, I love getting outdoors and hiking. I’ve had so many personal backpacking and camping adventures. Now, I’m happy to share my passion with my family. We try to get out at least once a week for family hikes. Lately, we’ve noticed an increase in those we see hiking, both on the trails alongside us and sharing their pics on social media. 

If you’re new to hiking or just looking for some reassurance that you are prepared for anything on the trail, we’re here for you! We’re sharing tips for planning and packing for family hikes and what to do if something goes wrong. We hope you learn something new here. Remember, everyone has to start somewhere! 

5 Things to Consider When Planning Family Hikes

a group enjoys family hikes

Pick a trail that is age appropriate for your kids. 

Younger kids may like trails that are more scenic and flat. If your kids are older, they may be up for the challenge of going on more adventurous family hikes. If you have young children and older ones, you can use a backpack style kid carrier for your younger kiddos and still hit those more challenging trails. 

But where do I find these trails? Fear not! 

There are countless resources on the internet if you just search “best hiking trails for kids (insert location here).” I use an app called AllTrails. It gives ratings provided by other users based on difficulty level, scenery, and any other notable particulars.

Pack a first aid kit. 

Your first aid kit for the average family hikes doesn’t have to be an all out apocalyptic survival bag. It just needs the basics, like bandages of different sizes, antiseptic wipes, anti-itch cream, and antibiotic wipes. 

If you’re going on longer hikes,  consider adding a whistle and signaling mirror to call for help if needed, iodine tablets for water, and moleskin for blisters. You can shop our take-along first aid kits right here

Bring plenty of water and snacks. 

This one is really important. There are different varieties of water carrying options. You can use a water bottle, water bladder, or even a water backpack. The key is to continually hydrate throughout your hike rather than chugging it when you take a rest or make it to the summit. 

Ideally, you should be drinking small sips every 15-20 minutes. You may want to drink more often in higher elevations and when the weather is colder. It’s a good idea to bring some electrolyte packets or sports drinks, too, but be mindful of the sugar content of some of those sports drinks.

taking a water break during family hikes

Don’t forget your maps and/or GPS. 

Most mobile phones have GPS and mapping apps that will keep track of your location while you’re out and about. Like I mentioned above, we prefer to use an app called AllTrails, but there are some other great ones, too. If you’re in a remote area with no cell service, you can still use GPS or a good ‘ole-fashion paper map and compass. Knowing your exact location will help you summon emergency services if needed.

You’ll need sunscreen and bug protection. 

Sunscreen is important even if you feel like you’re being shaded. It’s especially important on open trails with no natural sun protection. Make sure you’re using the appropriate sunscreen for your skin type.

When it comes to bug protection, we prefer to use products with a picaridin or DEET. Those products seem to be more effective. There are even some outdoor clothing manufactures who impregnate the fabric with picaridin!

Dress appropriately and be prepared for any changes in weather. 

Before you head out, make sure you take a look at the weather forecast. There are many times you may start out on a hot sunny day and then it starts raining on you. This occurs quite frequently in higher elevations. 

Good sturdy shoes are a must. If you’re just heading out for an easy day hike on a flat trail any closed toe shoe will do (this goes for the kiddos too if they’re walking). Who knows when you or your kids will unintentionally kick a rock…OUCH! 

If you’re going for a longer or more challenging hike, good shoes are a must. Speaking of musts, good socks prevent blisters. I use wool socks or a synthetic derivative such as Smartwool.

4 Things to Have on Hand. pin image for the preparamom guide to family hikes

  1. Snacks for the kids. Make sure it’s something they really like!
  2. Binoculars to look at nature without getting too close.
  3. A notebook with crayons or colored pencils. This is a great activity for kids who like to draw and journal their findings on their hiking adventure. Many state and national parks have junior ranger programs. They have activity books and scavenger hunts so that your kids can earn their junior ranger badge.
  4. A good size, comfortable backpack. For me, I do not skimp on the backpack. Since I’m usually the one carrying everything, I want to be comfortable. There are also hydration backpacks and options to add a water bladder to your existing pack.

3 Common Hiking Injuries and How to Treat Them. 

Scrapes or abrasions: 

The most common are scraped knees and elbows when you or your child trip on the trail. The best thing to do is use water to rinse out any dirt or debris in the wound, place an antibacterial ointment on, and an appropriately sized bandage. The key is to thoroughly clean and scrub out the wound with soap and water when you get back home.

Deeper cuts: 

You certainly can receive deeper cuts when on family hikes. It can be from a fall or from scraping a sharp rock or a branch. The best thing is to keep them clean until you can get more advanced care. 

If you receive a deeper cut that requires stitches, first rinse it out with clean water and remove any larger debris. Apply antibiotic ointments to the area and cover it with clean bandages or dressing. You can use skin glue with a combination of steri-strips (wound closure strips) to seal up the wound if you’re not close and able to quickly receive advanced medical help.

bandaging and injury sustained during family hikes

Bug and animal bites: 

Generally most small bug bites are not serious unless you have an allergy to them. For most, it’ll just be redness to the area, minor swelling, and itchiness. Those can be treated with some ice packs and anti-itch cream to the area. You can consider some antihistamines as well. 

If the person that you’re treating starts developing more serious signs and symptoms of an allergy like decreased or altered mental status, difficulty breathing, tongue swelling, or hives all over the body, they need immediate medical assistance. Call 911 or find a way to get help immediately. 

There are animals and bugs that are dangerous to humans and they vary from region-to-region. You need to be aware and research what they look like before heading out. That way you can avoid them or know what to do if you get bit by one.

Hopefully you’ve found this guide to family hikes easy to use and super informative! If you’re looking for more info on common kid emergencies, check out our FREE handbook for moms! And don’t forget to grab a PreparaKit if you don’t already have one. 

Happy Hiking!

Ask the Fire Captain Series: Real Life Scenarios and What to do if a Fire does Break Out!

Ask the Fire Captain Series: Real Life Scenarios and What to do if a Fire does Break Out!

pin image for Ask the Fire Captain Series: Real Life Scenarios and What to do if a Fire does Break OutRecently, I interviewed a real life Fire Captain about all things fire prevention and what to do if a fire does break out. We broke the interview down into a few blog posts so that you can easily find the information you are looking for. In the first blog post, we covered preventative items to have in your home. This time, we’re talking about real life fire scenarios he’s seen and what you and your family can do if you find yourselves in one of these situations. 

For families, knowing what to do in the instance of an emergency is extremely important. In our house, my Fire Captain husband is often away overnight and for long shifts. That makes it even more important that my kids and I are prepared for anything that comes our way.

Here are 6 real life fire scenarios and what you can do if you find yourself in these situations:

Not knowing how to shut off utilities.

This would be water, electricity, and gas. Recently, a dad was replacing a water faucet at his house and he hadn’t shut off his water. He ended up flooding his entire second floor and the fire department had to respond to help him shut it off. 

It’s good to know how to shut off your gas, especially on the west coast, incase of an earthquake You also want to know how to shut off your electricity at the breaker panels in case of an emergency.

You can find resources online with your utility providers to help you in locating the shut offs for each utility. 

Starting an oven fire.

Oven fires can happen when you leave something in the oven for too long or when grease makes its way down to the heating element. I did this once when I was making tacos!

If you have an oven fire, you can close the oven door, which will cut off the oxygen supply to the fire or sprinkle some water into the oven. The water will expand into steam and steam will put out the fire. 

If it is beyond that, just close the oven door and call 911.

Putting Metal in the Microwave.

Some people might think this is common knowledge, but based on the number of calls my husband has been on for this, I now know it’s not! This means don’t put utensils, tin foil, or any metal containers in the microwave. It’s also important to make sure your kids and teenagers know this one, too! 

Your microwave manual should say not to microwave anything that could be magnetic. The microwave will react with the metal and cause it to overheat and possibly blow out your microwave. 

Overloading your power outlets.

This is a big one! Many people use power strips and extension cords with multiple outlets to plug in things like heaters. They will even plug a power strip into another power strip, and then into another like a daisy chain. Sometimes, 6 cords running off of each other. This can cause a huge fire in the wall because it overloaded the circuit and melted the cords. 

Things like electrical heaters use a lot of power and create a lot of heat. The cords get hot and can melt. If they are touching any furniture or cloth, this can cause a fire. 

Don’t daisy chain or overload power strips or outlets. Plug directly into the wall or get an extension cord that is the proper length. 

Leaving a bathroom fan on all day.

a house fire

Bathrooms fans are not designed to run more than a few hours at a time. When you run a bathroom fan for more than a few hours, it can cause the motor to overheat and start a fire. Oftentimes, based on the placement of the bathroom fan, this will lead to a dangerous attic fire. 

You can install a timer on your bathroom fan so that it will turn off after a set amount of time, preventing the motor from overheating and causing a fire. 

Dropping a turkey into a deep fryer.

Lots of people love to deep fry their turkeys around the holidays but it might be more dangerous than you think! If you drop a turkey into a deep fryer too quickly it will cause a huge raging inferno ball that can harm those nearby and spread to other areas. The inferno ball can spread to an awning, fabric umbrella, or even the house. 

But what do you do if you find yourself in one of these situations?

You can always be prepared ahead of time by having a plan! Practice your exit plan at home with fire drills. Hey, why not, the kids do them at school, do them at home, too. This will help to eliminate panic. 

You don’t want your child to be scared and hide. You can go to your local fire station and introduce your child to fire fighters. Ask them to put on all of their gear so your child will know what they look like and sound like in full gear so they will feel comfortable and less anxious if they do see a firefighter in a dangerous situation. 

If there is a fire in the home, get out as quickly as possible and call 911. If you are trapped, put towels under the doors to keep the smoke out and stay low. 

Bonus Tip: Sleep with your bedroom door closed!

This might not seem like a big deal, but we’ve seen situations where an entire apartment was destroyed with the exception of the bedroom that had the door shut. If you don’t believe me, go check out my Instagram post about it, right here

 

You can never prepare for an emergency enough. The thing about an emergency is you’ll never know when it is going to happen. When it does happen you’ll wish you had prepared more but it’s also the worst time to think about should have or would haves. Take some time to collect and check on the items mentioned here to remain as prepared as possible for a home fire emergency!

The 3 A’s of Self Defense for Moms and Kids

The 3 A’s of Self Defense for Moms and Kids

Pinterest image - 3 self defense tips for moms and kidsThis world can be a scary place. The news is full of stories that tell us all of the awful things that can happen in the blink of an eye. I try not to live in fear but, at the same time, I don’t want to be naïve, either. It’s always best to be as prepared as we can possibly be for any situation. That’s why, a while back, I took a street tactical self defense class with an instructor who is ex-law enforcement and military.

The lessons I learned from my instructor were invaluable. So today, I’m sharing with you self defense tips and tricks for moms and kids right from my Self Defense Instructor. These are practical steps you can follow to keep yourself and your children safe. He and I brainstormed these ideas together with moms just like you in mind. Because I know how important it is to keep myself and my kids safe and I know you do, too. 

These are the Three A’s of Self Defense: Awareness, Assessment, and Action. 

Awareness 

Our first A is for AWARENESS. This is the phase where prevention is still possible. You want to make sure that you and your children are not easy targets. The best way to do that is to remain aware of your surroundings. Being aware of your surroundings is not limited to simply your location. You also want to be aware of the people who are near you.  

One of the simplest ways to stay aware is to limit distraction, especially from devices. Keep your eyes up and scan your surroundings instead of looking down at your device. Remove your earbuds or airpods and stay alert. 

If you are inside, take note of all entrances and exits. If you are outside, scan for any places that are not well lit or are concealed. 

A dark parkinglot

Take note of anything that seems unusual, suspicious, or out of place. Some things worth paying extra attention to are people sitting inside of a car parked next to yours or a van with dark tinted windows parked close to your vehicle. 

Remember to be intentional about choosing parking spaces. Choose spaces that are close to the building and in well lit parts of the lot or parking garage. Always trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. 

Assessment

At a certain  point in a potentially dangerous situation, you’ll reach the phase where you need to evaluate and assess your risk and decide on your next moves. 

When you hit the assessment stage, you are in a much better position if you followed the tips in the section above and you are aware of your surroundings. You never want to be caught off guard. 

Take time in the moment to evaluate each of your options. You’ll need to fight the fear and stay calm so that you can do this with a level head. Then, pick your battles but do whatever is in your power not to go anywhere with your attacker. 

Action 

If you found yourself in a situation where it is necessary to take action, you’ve reached the fight or flight phase. I hope for you and myself that we never have to use these tips but we need to know them, to give ourselves the best chance of survival. 

A woman practices self defense

You may become involved in a situation where it is necessary to fight for your life and the lives of your children. In this case, use whatever you have available to you. This might be a metal water bottle, your keys, or a pen. If you are super well prepared, you may even have pepper spray or a whistle on you. Use these items. 

Use them in a strategic manner to strike in the areas where your attacker is the most vulnerable. Capitalize on any hesitation as an opportunity to escape. If you’ve surveyed your surroundings well, use an escape route that would be least convenient for your attacker to follow or catch up to you. 

If you found this information helpful, please share it with other moms like you and share it with your children who are old enough to be on their own. The more we can help to spread this message, the more empowered us moms can be to keep ourselves and our kids safe.

And remember, a child can go missing in the blink of an eye. If that happens, I know you want to be as calm and as prepared as possible to locate and reunite with your missing child. Let us help you do that with our Child Safety Identification Kit. You can get your FREE kit by clicking here.  

Ask the Fire Captain Series: 5 Preventative Items to Have in Your Home

Ask the Fire Captain Series: 5 Preventative Items to Have in Your Home

Pin image for 5 Preventative Items to Have in Your HomeRecently, I was honored to interview a Paramedic Fire Captain Live on my Facebook page. BTW, this fire captain is pretty special to me. He’s my hubby, Dave Nguyen! He became a paramedic in 1998 and he joined the department as a firefighter in 2002. He’s worked in busy areas, has seen many different types of calls and he has loads of experience to bring all of us. 

We covered a lot of great info on preparing your home and your family for a potential fire. You can catch the entire 36 minute video right here. I definitely suggest taking the time to watch the entire video. There are so many great preparedness tips shared throughout. 

Additionally, I thought it would be helpful to organize the preparedness tips and suggestions by topic and get them up here on the blog so you can more easily search and find the info you’re looking for at quick glance. 

In this post, we’ll be covering the top preventative items you should have in your home. These are things that you can have in your home to help prevent a fire related emergency. Some of these might seem obvious to you but there are others that you may or may not have ever even thought about before. 

Here are the top 5 preventative items you should have in your home in case of a fire emergency:

Fire extinguishers. 

One of the most important preventative items you want to make sure you have in your home are fire extinguishers. If you have a multi-level house, you’ll want a fire extinguisher on each level. Definitely have one in your kitchen and then another on each other level of your home. 

There are even fire extinguishers made specifically for kitchens. They are usually white and you can find those at any hardware store. The red extinguishers are general purpose and can also be purchased at a hardware store. 

Make sure that your fire extinguishers are up to date by checking the little window is green.

You can also keep a fire blanket handy in your kitchen for small fires. We just bought a bunch from Prepared Hero, but any wool blanket will do! These are something that even kids can easily use to put out small fires like stove top fires. All they need to do is throw it over the flames. Plus, they’re very easy and convenient to store.

Smoke Detectors

A woman tests a preventative item - smoke detector

Smoke detectors are a very important preventative item to have in your home. You’ll need one smoke detector for each level of your home as well as one for each bedroom. Here in California, it is law that new builds have a smoke detector in every room of the house.

Be sure to check the batteries every six months and check the device’s expiration date which will likely be about 5-7 years.

Carbon-Monoxide Detectors

You also want carbon-monoxide detectors on each level of the house. Carbon-monoxide is a byproduct of combustion. It is a colorless and odorless gas. Since it is colorless and odorless, this gas is especially dangerous. It is more common than you might think for a family to go to bed and not wake up due to carbon-monoxide poisoning. 

As with smoke detectors, be sure to check the batteries every six months and check the device’s expiration date which will likely be about 5-7 years

Exit Plan 

a man draws an exit plan, a preventative item 

Your family should have a clear plan for how you will get out of the house in case of an emergency. You don’t just want to have a plan in place, but you also want to practice that plan with your family. 

How do you develop an exit plan? Well, you go into every room of the house and think, “If I am trapped in this room, how do I get out?” You can then draw a map and review it with your child so they are sure of how they can get out of their room. 

You can even make it fun by blindfolding your kids to simulate not being able to see in a room full of smoke, and have them practice escaping the house. See who can get out of the house fastest. Just make sure each child has a guide to prevent any accidents while competing. 

Escape Ladder

If you have a multi-level home, you may want to purchase escape ladders, especially for the bedrooms. These are easy to store in a closet and can be thrown out of a window in case of a fire for easy escape from a second floor room.

Additional tip: 

You can now get smoke detector/carbon-monoxide detector combos and some will even integrate with a company that will monitor both and notify you if there is an issue. We use SimpliSafe, but most of the major security system suppliers, like ADT and Frontpoint, will provide this service.

 

You can never prepare for an emergency enough. The thing about an emergency is you’ll never know when it is going to happen. When it does happen you’ll wish you had prepared more but it’s also the worst time to think about should have or would haves. Take some time to collect and check on the preventative items mentioned here to remain as prepared as possible for a home fire emergency!

Be On Santa’s Good List

Be On Santa’s Good List

The Holiday season encourages us to ‘Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly,’ go ‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland,’ and ‘Have a Cup of Cheer,’ and trust me all of that sounds wonderful but I can’t help but also add that we should be smart about it. Who says you can’t have it all right? You can enjoy yourself during the holidays, relax a little, and be on Santa’s good list by being safe, too.

Here are some helpful tips to make ‘Christmas brownie points’ with Santa and keep you and your family safe and on his good list.

Cooking:

When preparing that wonderful, delicious holiday meal there are a few things to keep in mind. Never leave a stove unattended, because unattended cooking equipment is the leading cause of home cooking fires.  You should also make sure you wash your hands, utensils, sink and anything else that touches raw meat. Food-borne illnesses are especially prevalent around the holiday season. Use separate cutting boards, plate and utensils for uncooked and cooked meats to avoid cross-contamination.  Use a food thermometer to make sure meat is cooked to a safe temperature. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration website provides some valuable holiday food safety tips to follow.

Space Heaters:

Do not leave a space heater unattended and make sure you turn it off when you’re leaving a room or going to sleep. Do not let pets or children play too close to a space heater, because they will get hurt.

Poisonous Holiday Plants:

Some popular and beautiful holiday plants can also be poisonous or toxic, especially to children and pets.  Holly berries can be poisonous. A child can eat 1-2 holly berries without harm, but 20 holly berries is a serious concern.  You don’t want to eat a beautiful, decorative poinsettia that is on your holiday dinner plate or placed by your fireplace. Worst case scenario, if you eat a few leaves of a poinsettia you will feel ill or vomit, but they’re not the absolute worst holiday plant to have around.  On the other hand, mistletoe contains phoradendron which can cause blurred vision, nausea, and even death. All parts of the mistletoe are poisonous, but the berries are most attractive to kids. If your child eats 1-2 berries of mistletoe, it probably won’t cause a problem, but if your pet eats a few leaves or berries it could be endangered.

Christmas Trees:

Make sure you are watering your Christmas tree daily, because dry trees can cause a very serious fire hazard. You should also make sure that they are on a stable platform at all times.

To remainInspect Electrical Decorations for Damage Before Use: 

Check holiday lights for fraying, bare spots, gaps in the insulation or excessive kinking in the wire. Cracked or damaged sockets can also cause a serious shock or start a fire. You don’t want to overload electrical outlets, and you should only plug one high-wattage appliance into each outlet at a time. Connecting more than three strands of lights may not only blow a fuse, but it can also cause a serious fire.

Automated Teller Machine (ATM):

If you absolutely have to stop at the ATM before a night out, try to choose one that is located inside a mall, police station or well-lighted location.  You should only withdraw the amount of cash that you will need. You can protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keyboard from anyone who is standing near you. Whatever you do, do not throw your ATM receipt away at the ATM location.

Attending a Party:

If you’re invited to that special holiday party your friends or family have every year, make sure you have something to eat before consuming any alcoholic beverages. Eat things like high protein foods, which will stay in your stomach longer and slow the absorption of alcohol into your system. Only time will truly eliminate alcohol from your body, so know your safe limit and don’t drink and drive. To remain on the good list, be sure you designate a sober driver to give you a ride home, even if it’s on a sleigh.

Stay Warm:

‘Oh the weather outside is frightening… and those cold temperatures can cause serious health problems, especially in infants and older adults. To remain on the good list, be sure to dress warmly and wear lots of layers of loose-fitting, tightly woven clothing. Make sure you are checking on the kiddos, your elders and don’t forget about your furry friends as well.  Our pets sometimes seem to be the last thing we think about at this time of year, so be sure to make sure they are cozy and warm as well.

Manage Stress:

The holidays don’t need to take a toll on your health.  Be sure not to over-commit to too many parties and activities, and do your best not to over-spend.  Balancing your work, home and play is a tough task, but with the support of family and friends it is possible to have a relaxed attitude about the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ and possibly catch some zzzz’s at night as well.

‘Tis the season of ‘love’ and ‘craziness!’ Try to take lots of deep breaths and remember that none of us are perfect, but we can do our best to enjoy this holiday season as safely as possible. 

I know I definitely want to be on ‘Santa’s Good List,’ so I will be taking my own advice and using these tips as well.

Here are some additional links to help you do some more research on how to keep your family on Santa’s good list this year:

Help Your Kids Be Prepared for Accidents!

At the park or playing ball – your kids can be prepared for the sun AND accidents with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  

Check out our kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

Holiday Travel on a Budget

Holiday Travel on a Budget

online safety for kids

‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,’ (as the song goes) and that means we have holiday decorating, lots of shopping, to-do’s that go on for miles, holiday menus to plan, parties, and some will be planning their holiday travel on a budget to visit their friends and loved ones. If you are one of the lucky ones who will be singing that tune called ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’ this holiday season, you might also be wondering how you can afford it.

Traveling during the holidays to visit friends, relatives and loved ones can be super expensive, and sometimes just that extra dose of stress that we don’t need during this time of year. Don’t get me wrong, I look forward to this magical season, but I also think it’s important to be prepared and plan accordingly to stick to our family budget while we have fun at the same time.

If your family will be traveling for the holidays, here are some helpful tips to make it an unforgettable holiday that you will want to ‘remember’ instead of ‘forget.’

online safety for kids
online safety for kids

1. Book Last Minute

This might sound strange, but it’s already December and a little too late to be thinking about booking your last-minute travel plans in advance. The good news is that it might be better for your wallet.  A local hotel owner or Bed & Breakfast, will be much more likely to agree to a discount if they are unlikely to sell the last bed to someone else. Or, while they may not drop the price, perhaps you can persuade them to upgrade your room or throw in a free spa experience that every mom can use this time of year. 

The same goes for booking flights, rental cars, and tickets for special attractions at your destination of choice. I know friends who have found last-minute $300 flights from NYC to Paris for the holidays, while others have been upgraded to a Mercedes convertible rental car for the same price as a minivan. Winning! So it can be done!

2. Take Advantage of Apps

Gone are the days of sorting through individual hotel or airport websites. Now, aggregator apps can do most of the work for you. Find your lodging through Hipmunk https://www.hipmunk.com/, which searches hundreds of major travel sites. Figure out your fuel coast with Gasbuddy’s trip calculator  https://www.gasbuddy.com/. And find the best airline deals and the best times to fly and buy with Hopper https://www.hopper.com/.

3. Think of Your Trip as a Gift in Itself

If you have older kids and teens, they should be able to appreciate that a family trip during the holidays costs money and can really be considered a gift in its own right. Help your kids understand the gift of travel, and allow them to plan a portion of your vacation and pick one special activity each. If possible, try to spend a day doing each child’s special outing of their choice. Another option is to gift kids souvenir money instead, (in the currency of your destination if traveling abroad) and don’t put any restrictions on how they spend it.

4. Consider Gift-Giving in a New Way:

Let’s be real.  Chances are you won’t have a lot of room in your carry-on luggage to bring gifts if you will be opting for air travel, or you may not even have enough room if traveling by car. You can always try gift-giving on the go! Simply draw a family member’s name and shop for them while you’re traveling. 

Try to focus on smaller, stocking-stuffer type gifts and gift your kids with one smaller gift each day during your trip, instead of giving all gifts on Christmas morning. Small toys, crafts, goodies, and games they’ll use during your travels, are excellent ideas.  For those celebrating Hanukkah, this ‘new’ system will feel even easier to implement. 

5. Ship Your Presents

If you can’t get around buying everyone on your list a smaller gift, then thank goodness for‘Santa’s Magic Sleigh.’ Instead of paying annoying baggage fees or renting a semi-truck to hold all of your stuff, take advantage of free shipping deals as soon as possible to send the presents to your destination. Your suitcases will be smiling, and your kids won’t be sitting on the floor of your car trying to find a place to sit for the road trip.

6. Use Gift Cards and Points

Cardpool https://www.cardpool.com/ and Raise https://www.raise.com/ are great sites for finding discounted gift cards with leftover cash on them. Buy several and use them to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car or a few restaurant meals while you’re on the road. 

7. Let Santa Know

A recent study by HomeAway has shown that 84% of families will spend the holidays together. But traveling to be with family can have its difficulties. Kids worry that Santa won’t find them, which causes unnecessary stress during a festive vacation. Check out: Message from Santa!https://apps.apple.com/us/app/a-call-from-santa/id933921849! They have solved this problem for parents. Just download the app with your iPhone and let your child leave Santa a voicemail telling him where you’ll be for the holidays and Santa will find you!. This app also comes with a lot of different cool features such as personal video messages from Santa, a phone call from Santa, and even send a text message and he’ll reply instantly! Even Santa needs to take a break once in a while from the elves.

8. Pack Snacks

We all know the minute you get everyone in the car for a road trip, someone is going to get the munchies. If you start filling up on snacks at every gas station or pit-stop, you’re going to run low on travel funds quickly.  Instead of buying those unhealthy snacks like chips, candy, and soda at convenience store prices, make sure to pack your snacks before you hit the road. Bring popcorn, pretzels, juice packs, bottled water etc., so everyone can snack healthy and be less cranky at a fraction of the price.

9. Be Flexible

The secret is out! We all know that flying or driving on Christmas Day, can be a great budget-saver. Not only does it reduce stress, but it means cheaper flights and fewer gas-depleting traffic jams! Entertain the idea of traveling on this day if possible, and give your loved ones a ‘Christmas Miracle’ when you ring their doorbell on Christmas Day!

10. Buy Less Stuff

Even though we may not want to hear it, in order to save money…you have to buy less stuff. Always remember, the most important thing about the holidays is spending quality time with our friends, family and loved ones. No amount of gifts, decorations, or fancy hotels will ever replace that. Your presence alone will be the most memorable gift you could ever give.

Enjoy the holidays this year, while implementing these ten budget-friendly holiday travel tips. When you do, you’ll enjoy the holidays and your much-needed family vacation!

Safe Travels.

Help Your Kids Be Prepared for Accidents!

At the park or playing ball – your kids can be prepared for the sun AND accidents with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.   Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.