Hitting the road this Holiday season? You are not alone. Be prepared for the traffic and for the long trip. For staying sane and safe for all the way there with these tips we gathered together with Autotrader.
1. Make sure your car can make the ride!
Do a quick check on the essentials before your trip. Check the wear and pressure on your tires, and be sure your fluids (oil, coolant and wiper fluid) are topped off. If you are driving to colder climates, make sure you have good all weather tires.
2. Plan well!
Part of the road trip fun in the USA is just getting on the road and driving, and then stopping for overnight in a roadside hotel when you feel like it. On our recent two road trips we realized it is always not as easy – especially during the holidays, if you are traveling with a larger family (or dog!). Make hotel reservations ahead of the time, I highly recommend it.
3. Time it right.
You will not like this — but sometimes the best travel days are the Holidays itself. Typically the days right before the Holiday are the worst, for example December 23rd is usually the busiest in December, and December 30th is busy as well.
If you can, avoid the busiest travel days, December 21st to 23rd and get a kickstart already the weekend before — or wait until the 24th or even the 25th, when the roads are empty. We have traveled before on December 25th, and it has been one of the most pleasant travel experiences because there are less people traveling than in any normal day.
4. Make it an adventure.
Just because you have an ultimate destination doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy fun stuff in between. Check your route for family-friendly stops along the way such as a zoo, park or even toy store to give kids something to look forward to while breaking the trip into manageable pieces. Our favorites are parks, and unique rest stops and local restaurants.
I personally like having Sirius radio in the car, or Spotify to make it easy to have good music playing all the way. Another tip is download podcasts or books that everyone in the family will enjoy. We also like language lessons. I am not really abig fan of having kids watching movies or on their screens all road trip, but our children are already teenagers and they tend to be easier to entertain now than when they were younger. For the little ones I do recommend a DVD player or an iPad/tablet attached to the back of the seat. Magnetized board games, word games, coloring books and good old toys like the Rubix Cube can work just as well.
6. Bring snacks and take time for healthy dining stops.
Greasy food isn’t the best for staying alert — or feeling good — while road tripping. I highly recommend staying away from fast-food restaurants, and making the dining stops more meaningful in local restaurants, road side attractions or even with picnics with home made packed lunches.
Bring along lots of smaller, healthier snacks to keep kids (and adults) content. Fruits and vegetables that are easy to eat. For example like carrot sticks, bananas and apples, are great options. We also like Babybel mini cheeses, grapes and Finncrisp crackers. I like to buy fresh bread, cheese and ham and Dijon mustard for easy on-the-go sandwiches, or artisan bread with pear jam and Brie-cheese (you can steal some turkey leftovers for these sandwiches too). I also like the Stanley Brand thermoses and containers to bring along food and drinks that stay hot — perfect during the cold December time!
7. Have patience & try to keep positive attitude!
Remember that it is much more important to arrive safe and late, than not arrive at all. Between road congestion, frequent stops and the sometimes-bad weather that plagues many areas this time of year, holiday travel time can take longer than anticipated. Allow —and plan for— extra travel time, and you’ll have a better chance of arriving safely and stress-free. Make the trip fun by stopping in quirky roadside attractins like the South of the Border in South Carolina.
We like to diffuse energizing essential oils in the car to keep spirits up (and the car smelling good too). I use an USB diffuser and our favorite oils on road trips are Peppermint and Citrus Fresh. Remember to avoid essential oils that can make you too relaxed and sleepy, like Lavender and Lemongrass.
8. Bring your pet too!
Don’t leave your pet behind this Holiday season. If you are traveling with a dog – read this ultimate guide to traveling with a dog with 22 tips!
Tara Trompeter, managing editor at Autotrader, really sums up what I think of family road trips as well:
“Holiday travel doesn’t just have to be about getting to where you’re going. Family time in the car can be a great opportunity for making memories — or a recipe for grunts and grumbles. A little bit of planning ahead before you get on the road will go a long way toward filling the experience with more fun and laughter for everyone involved.”
For those families that venture out on road trips frequently throughout the year, the experts at Autotrader also rounded up a list of 10 Fuel-Efficient Family Cars for a Long Holiday Road Trip. The list includes family cars that boast affordable pricing, roomy interiors and a fuel-efficient 30 miles per gallon on the highway.
Post by Katja Presnal
“My mission is to inspire you to live life to the fullest and find your own “skimbaco,” how you enjoy life where ever you are in the moment. For ideas for travel, home, food and fashion, subscribe to weekly Skimbaco Lifestyle feed on Mondays and I hope you get my newsletter that I send out sometimes on Fridays.” Katja Presnal, editor-in-chief and the owner of Skimbaco Lifestyle.