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Who doesn’t love to travel? Taking a break from your hectic life and heading to the airport or hitting the road is one of the great joys of life, but holiday travel? That’s an entirely different animal. Holiday travel can be stressful with a capital S – crowds of families, overbooked flights, mountains of luggage, and long lines at security check points mean you’ll have hours of being squeezed, jostled, and frustrated before you can relax and begin to enjoy your trip.

If you want to survive holiday travel with your sanity intact, especially if you’re traveling with kids, you’ll need to be prepared. That means prepping ahead of time and picking up these holiday essentials to help you sail through that airport and enjoy any mid-trip downtime.

So if you’re ready to skip the travel stress this year but not skip the trip, all you’ll need are these must-haves to survive holiday travel:

 

Pick the perfect luggage

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When you have to pack for holiday travel you need a little bit of everything, and that amounts to heavy bags. Even a bag under the weight restriction of 50 lb is heavy when you have to haul it through a crowded airport, and when you add packed bags and a few kids to the mix, it’s enough to make anyone want to turn back and go home.

That’s why good luggage is an absolute must-have when traveling this holiday season, and thankfully there are different types of luggage to suit every type of traveller. For the traveling family, there is 4-wheel spinner luggage sets that lets you zip through airports with ease. For the single traveler, an expandable carry on bag will fit the bill. And for kids, you can pick up themed kids luggage with their favourite characters like Minnie Mouse and Lightning McQueen.

10290794.jpgSet your kids up for comfort

There’s a lot of walking between the time you drop off your luggage to when you board an airplane, and there’s also a lot of downtime in between. I’ve spent hours in airports cradling a baby in my arms because I decided at the last minute to check my stroller, then I struggled to hold onto the baby and our carry on luggage before we could board.

After I had my second baby, I decided I’d never go through an airport without a stroller again. Strollers hold your baby comfortably, hold your bag when you need a place to put it, and fold up neatly at the gate before you board. If you have one baby, I’d recommend a standard stroller that’s lightweight and easy to turn like the Guzzie & Guss Connec+. For more than one child, you can’t go wrong with a Sit-n-Stand system like the Eddie Bauer Double-Up Stroller. I’ve had my baby in the front seat and my 5 year old on the back, and even though we’ve had to fold it up and put it through the scanner at the airport, it’s worth it’s weight in gold when you need to sprint through the airport to catch a connecting flight or get down to your baggage claim.

jujubediaperbag.jpgOne carry-on for everyone

When it comes to carry on luggage, I can’t recommend enough having a good diaper bag along for the ride. Diaper bags can double as carry-on for both you and your kids, so you’ll have less to haul around and more compartments to put away everything you need. For my last baby, I invested in a Ju-Ju-Be Be All Diaper bag, and it never was so handy as when we were in an airport. It has such a spacious interior that it fit my laptop, a tablet for my little guy, and all of the diapers and baby items I needed. I even kept using that bag for travel long after he was out of the diaper stage.

onearheadphones.jpgCancel out the noise

Travel isn’t just stressful, it can be loud too. Although the sound of a jet’s engines may be enough to lull some people to sleep, the noise from fellow passengers on board and in airports can be enough to make you want to search out a quiet corner and plug your ears. But you don’t have to look for quiet because a pair of noise-canceling headphones can bring the quiet to wherever you are. You can go for a pair of on-ear headphones if you don’t mind ambient sound when enjoying your own music or bring along a pair of noise-canceling headphones if you want to shut the world away no matter how chaotic the scene is around you. When traveling alone, you may also want to bring along a pair of ear buds for times when you only have carry on and not a lot of room.

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Capture the moment

Wherever you travel, you’ll want to have photos to look back on and remember your trip. If you’re an avid photographer, you may be ready, willing, and able to pack along a DSLR for those extra special shots, but if you are tight on space and want to pack only the essentials, you need a camera that will be holiday-proof.

That’s why wherever we travel, whether it’s Whistler for the weekend or Disneyland for a chaotic family vacation, we bring along two cameras. Camera one is the Go Pro Hero4, and it’s great for everything from screaming down the ski hill or for reactions on a water ride in the sunshine. Camera two is exclusively for photos, and that’s where our waterproof digital camera comes in. I chose one like the Olympus Tough TG-3 Waterproof/Shockproof 16MB Digital Camera because it takes photos under any conditions and it’s easy to pull in and out of a bag. Plus, if you accidentally drop it in the airport or while traveling, you can relax knowing it’s built to stand up anything you throw at it.

Holiday travel doesn’t have to mean holiday stress – just make a list and pick up these holiday essentials before you head out the door. Your next trip will be smooth sailing no matter where you go.