Samantha Brown's Top Tips For Traveling During The Winter Holidays

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Traveling during the winter holidays is not for the faint of heart. While it's a great way to create cherished family memories, there's a whole lot to think about. From lining up all the travel details to keeping children happy in an unfamiliar place, a smooth trip takes careful planning. Fortunately, travel expert and Travel Channel host Samantha Brown shared a few tips in a recent interview with Budget Travel.

It all starts with some research before you leave home, according to Brown via Budget Travel, beyond the festivities you're planning with relatives. When venturing to a new locale, look up the holiday attractions that are unique to that area, especially those that are family-friendly. This could take many forms, like Christmas light displays, tree lighting ceremonies, outdoor markets with hot chocolate and souvenirs, seasonal ice-skating rinks, a lake cruise to see Santa, a Polar Express-inspired train ride, gingerbread house decorating parties, carol singing, and other festivities of that nature.

Optimize the accommodation plans

While it's tempting to accept a loved one's invitation to stay with them during the holidays, take a moment to think about your usual routine and your family's needs. In some cases, it may make more sense to stay elsewhere, being careful not to offend any family members in the process. This could not only help preserve your sanity, but it will ensure that everyone has enough space to be themselves. Brown recommends Embassy Suites Hotels, as they have two-room suites where guests can spread out.

If you decide to opt for a hotel or Airbnb, save some room in your luggage for portable holiday adornments, says Brown in Budget Travel. For example, you can put up some garland, a tabletop Christmas tree, or a mini menorah — provided that you don't light the candles inside the hotel room without permission, of course. These little details are a great way to bring a piece of home with you and keep children in the holiday spirit, especially after long travel days and lots of socializing with people outside their usual circle. However, be sure to leave the most treasured items at home, like special ornaments or family heirlooms, Brown told the publication.

Be a gracious house guest

Holidays with family and loved ones can be stressful, to say the least. But with that said, it's always a good idea to remember how hard the host worked to make your winter getaway as special as possible, says Brown via Budget Travel. Behind the scenes, they have spent an extended period of time planning, organizing, cleaning, shopping, wrapping presents, putting up decorations, cooking, and making sure everyone feels right at home. It's easy to forget all the details when you're soaking up the holiday magic, but it sure didn't get that way by accident!

Remember to be a good house guest by bringing your host a gift, like a bottle of wine, gourmet olive oil, candles, chocolates, flowers, or a specialty item from your hometown. Let them know how much you enjoy the food and offer to hop in the kitchen and do some dishes when the feast is over. Encourage your children to show their appreciation as well and follow the house rules. Once you leave, be sure to follow up with a message letting them know how much you enjoyed the visit and can't wait to do it again soon.