Frequent Flyer Tips: How to Travel with Family During the Holidays

Do you struggle to shut off frequent flyer mode when you are traveling with your family?

Holiday travel can be stressful enough with weather, crying babies, extra pre-boards and waiting behind people who somehow were not informed of TSA regulations. The biggest challenge for me is turning off frequent flyer mode and slowing down when I am traveling with my husband.

Don’t get me wrong, it is lovely to have the companionship. It is nice to enjoy a cup of coffee or mimosa before we board and even better, I don’t have to sit next to a stranger on the plane. But for me, the struggle is real. I walk too fast, he does not scout the security lane for children or inexperienced travelers and he actually enjoys sitting in the gate area before we take off (foregoing the Sky Club unless we have a long layover).

For frequent flyers, pulling into the airport feels like pulling into the parking lot at work. For the occasional traveler, the airport is an exciting place that signals the beginning of vacation.”

This year I have decided to consciously turn off business traveler mode and try to experience travel through the same perspective as my husband.

8 ways to shut off business traveler mode to enjoy family travel:

    1. Arrive Early– Most business travelers have airport arrival timing down to an exact science. An unexpected delay will have you running to catch your flight. When traveling with family, arrive at least two hours before your flight departs. Security may take longer than usual during the holidays. Plus, with your entire family in tow you may not all be able to use the priority lane (and do not use the priority lane without your family). If you have children this timing is especially important.
    2. Take a Deep Breath– When you are going through security remember to take a deep breath. Your significant other and/or kids may need to be reminded about what to take out of their bags. It will probably take longer than usual, but hey- you arrived earlier- so it is okay!
    3. Slow down– Once you get through security, let your significant other or children set the pace. If they want to pop into a few stores, just follow along. If your kids want to ride on the moving sidewalk, ride it with them. If you have an airline club membership, offer to take them in, but don’t be upset if they prefer to walk around the airport.
    4. Put your phone on vibrate– Unless you are obligated to continue working, put your phone down. The emails will still be there after vacation. To your family, the airport is part of the vacation. Be present and connect.
    5. Pack snacks– If you are traveling with children or have a long haul flight, pack some snacks or pick some up at the airport. You know what your preferred airline offers, and it may or may not suit your family.
    6. Board strategically– Frequent flyers are usually granted the honor of boarding the plane first. If you are flying with your children, you may want to board last. Splitting up may be a good strategy as well if you are concerned about overhead bin space.
    7. Catch up on movies– Download a few new releases or use a streaming service, buy a Headphone Splitter and watch a movie with your significant other on your tablet or laptop.
    8. Play games– Maybe it’s my competitive nature, but something I love to do when I fly with my husband is to play games on our tablet. Playing a game together will pass the time and provide an opportunity for pre-arrival bonding. If you have kids, download their favorite games or bring a deck of cards.

The key to transitioning from business to family traveler is to be open minded and flexible. If you are a creature of habit (like me) this will be a challenge, but you must be ready to go with the flow.

How do you transition from business travel to family holiday travel? Share your ideas by commenting below.




Business Travel Life

Business Travel Life is an online resource supporting the road warrior lifestyle. We give business travelers the tools they need to maintain their wellness and productivity when traveling. The topics we cover include business travel tips, travel workouts, healthy travel hacks, travel products, general travel tips, and industry trends. Our goal is to make business travel a healthier experience – and to make healthy travel practices more accessible to all road warriors.

frequent flyer, Business Travel Life

Kristina Portillo, CPT, MS

Kristina is the founder of Business Travel Life. Her love of fitness and travel unified to create a resource for business travelers and road warriors who want to take a healthier approach to business travel. She has traveled for business on and off for the past eight years. Kristina received a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Colorado State University and received her Bachelors of Arts in Business Marketing from Chaminade University of Honolulu.

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