Holiday Health and Travel Tips for Families

Holiday Health and Travel Tips for Families


During the holidays, airports and roads are crowded with travelers hoping to spend time with loved ones and close friends. However, if you’re traveling with kids, you already know that this added stress can quickly multiply. The key to successful holiday travel is making sure you are prepared at all times. From packing your travel size toiletries to practicing mindful eating and getting in daily exercise, we've got all the holiday travel tips you need to stay healthy and happy. To help ease impending travel-related stress, continue reading for my family-friendly health and travel tips.

Stay-Healthy Tips

Pack the Essentials

Pack Medications. Prior to travel, make sure you refill and pack your child’s prescribed medications and any daily vitamins. If you run out, chances are it may be hard to find your medications somewhere else. Packing some over-the-counter pain medication, nausea medication, or medications for upset stomach and diarrhea is also a good idea.

Along with medications, make sure to pack all other essential items you’ll need while traveling. If you are doing a long road trip or plane ride, make sure to pack healthy snacks for the family. Remember, the holidays are infamous for lots of eating and a few extra calories on your plate. While you may not be able to control what they serve at a holiday party, you can still make smart choices by choosing a piece of fruit or another healthier option while snacking.

Lastly, if there are any personal care products that you use on a daily basis, bring them! If you’re traveling with little ones, we highly suggest packing alcohol wipes and hand sanitizer to keep germs at bay. Remember, the holiday season can do a number on your immune system, so practicing healthy eating and staying germ-free can really save you when spending time with friends and family. 

Get Your Steps In

Exercise is crucial to healthy holiday travel. Even just getting up and walking after a big holiday meal can be great for your body. One thing you shouldn’t forget whether you’re flying or driving is to stretch your legs. If you find yourself in a cramped area or sitting for a long time, you could develop a blood clot in your legs. Take some time to walk around and stretch your arms and legs, especially on an airplane, at least once every hour. Once you find some extra time, try to do more physical activity. If you have a busy schedule, bring the family with you! Whether its a bike ride, hike, or neighborhood walk, physical activity is a great healthy habit that can keep you feeling your best during the holiday season. Along with daily exercise, remember to also stay well hydrated!

Help Your Child Combat Ear Pain on Airplanes

Did you know kids experience ear pain on airplanes more than adults? This is because kids have more colds and upper respiratory infections than adults. Kids are also less able to swallow or yawn on demand, which can help relieve ear pain. I learned all this when I read my colleague Gloria’s RN Remedies blog post about managing ear pain on airplanes. Here are ways you can help your child the next time you travel by air:

  • When your child feels fullness in their ear during takeoff or landing, give the baby a bottle and the older child juice or water to drink.
  • If your child is older and can understand and cooperate, encourage them to chew on something, swallow, open the jaw or yawn at least four times during takeoff and landing.
  • Smaller children can also be offered a small straw to blow through or a colorful pinwheel to blow.
  • Wake up your sleeping child or baby during takeoff and landings as the pain can be worse if they are allowed to sleep.
  • Carry a bulb syringe to clear out the nose if the child gets congested.

To provide more helpful tips, Mary Virgallito, RN, clinical administrator, Infection Prevention and Control at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles recommends the following:

  • Pack important phone numbers and information, like your child’s doctor, copy of health insurance cards, and vaccination records.
  • Your child should ride in an age-appropriate car seat. Most rental car agencies have them available.

Make Healthy Choices

Like we said earlier, it can be difficult to make smart choices while traveling. While fast food and rest stops offer convenient and sugary snacks, these foods will only make you feel worse later on down the road (literally). Give your child a healthy snack or wholesome food when you stop for a meal. You're going to be doing plenty of holiday eating once you make it to your final destination, so choose travel food that is nutritious and offers fewer calories compared to traditional road trip munchies. When you are eating your holiday meal, try to make a healthy choice by filling up on a vegetable or salad before diving into the mashed potatoes or dessert table.


I hope this blog post was helpful in preparing you and your family for your holiday travels. For the rest of my family-friendly travel tips, visit

~ Megan Summers, BSN, RN II, CPN, CRRN, Float Nurse and RN Remedies Blogger at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.

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