Whether you approach family gatherings during the holidays with rose-colored visions of tradition and togetherness or with teeth-gritting forbearance, we all share one wish: to not lose a fortune and our sanity just getting there. For the most part, we’re pretty savvy consumers. We know the high-volume travel days, we know to book early, and we’ve got packing distractions for the kids on our to-do lists. When it comes to handling holiday travel, we don’t need general advice like “avoid busy travel days,” we need specific recommendations and resources.

Go2s was founded to be the kind of social network that fosters those useful connections and shares the most helpful information. With that in mind, we’ve been scouring the web for the best advice and gear for holiday travel.

  • Book your Thanksgiving and Christmas travel the first week of October. According to Patrick Surry, data scientist for Hopper, for Thanksgiving travel, “Prices will really begin spiking by $10 per day during the final two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.” For Christmas travel, “prices being rising by about $4 per day around Thanksgiving and then by about $7 per day in the final two weeks.”
  • Use price comparison software and book directly with the airlines. Apps and sites like Hopper, Skyscanner, and Google Flights let you find multiple flights from multiple airlines all at once.
  • Dedicate a travel bag for each kid. Buy an inexpensive backpack (like these) and only use it when taking trips. Not using it day-to-day gets the kids excited to see what’s inside when it’s time to hit the road.
  • Pack cheap fun. Load each bag with a juice or water bottle, a few snacks (maybe a special treat), crayons and/or pencils and the greatest travel tool ever invented: a plastic clipboard from the dollar or general store. Attach a few sheets of drawing paper, some coloring or puzzle pages (print them out free online or tear them out from activity books), a couple sheets of stickers and you have an instant lap desk for a few dollars. Throw in a few inexpensive surprises like a small toy or a travel game (like this awesome, easy-to-understand—even for non-readers—bingo game from Dollar Tree).
  • Entertain everyone for free. At your public library you can check out DVDs, audiobooks, Playaways pre-loaded media (no need for Wi-Fi!), and access books, music, and movies on services like Hoopla or Over Drive.

With Go2s you can get posts from friends who are doing the same juggling act and have great tips to offer. You can use the secure Discussion feature to hash out holiday planning privately with key family members all at once. When the craziness of the holiday season is upon you, Go2s is there to make life a little easier.