Posted by: Discover Directory on 10/17/2018

Top 7 Road Trip Tips for a Jolly Holiday

Top 7 Road Trip Tips for a Jolly Holiday

The holiday season is the prime time to hit the road with the family. Avoid the clogged airports and enjoy the open road instead.

Whether you have a multi-day drive or you can make it there in one shot, take these holiday road trip tips into consideration before your trip so you can make it as smooth as possible.

Holidays are stressful enough, so we’re here to help make it a little easier, and maybe a little more fun. 

Before you head out on the open road, make sure you take your car into a trusted mechanic to for routine car maintenance. You don’t want to be caught off guard on the side of the road with a problem that could have been avoided. Some planning ahead will take a load off your mind.

1. Plan your route in advance.

This might sound odd, especially in a world where your car’s navigation system usually controls your route, but if you take a look at the options available, you might have a little more fun along the way.

Research to see if there’s construction on your route and see if you can avoid it. Maybe taking a back road makes your trip a little longer, but at least you’ll be moving and not sitting in traffic. 

Plan fun stops along the way. Too often road trips are about just making it to the destination and now about enjoying the ride. You can use a site like Roadtrippers to make the drive fun. Just put in your starting and stopping points and it’ll suggest good places to stop on your holiday road trip.

2. Pack snacks (of all kinds)

Whether you’re driving an hour away from home or you’re spending multiple days on the road, you’re going to hear some complaints from the back seat that they’re hungry. Pack a few snacks to keep everyone happy.

If you pack all of your favorite snacks, you won’t have to stop as often, and the car won’t be full of hangry (so hungry you’re angry) people. 

You can go a step further and pack sandwich fixings. If you need to drive as far as possible without stopping, having lunch materials already in the car will make your drive smoother.

Pro tip: make sure to have a place for garbage - whether it’s a bag or something more sturdy like a plastic cereal container with a plastic shopping bag inside.

3. Keep the must-have essentials within reach

What’s the point of having the essentials in your car if they’re in the trunk when you need them? Pack a bag of the must-have essentials and store it in the front seat. 

Some suggestions for this bag of essentials includes:

  • Baby wipes

  • A change of clothing for younger children

  • Coins for tolls

  • Sunglasses

  • Over-the-counter pain relief like ibuprofen

  • Extra water bottles

  • Inhalers or any other medication you or your family might need at a moment’s notice

4. Don’t forget to leave room for presents

When you’re packing up your car, don’t forget about all the room you’ll need for presents. We always think about if the luggage will fit and then forget the presents - and it’s not like you’re only bringing gift cards for the family!

Not only will you need to accommodate for the presents you take with you but also for the presents you’ll be bringing back with you. You’ll probably be bringing a lot more home with your than you took - especially if you have children. Unless you’re hooking up a trailer to your car, you are going to need some trunk space.

Try to leave some space in your trunk to give yourself some wiggle room for the trip back. If that’s impossible, you might have to ship them home.

5. Take frequent breaks

Yes, it’ll take longer for you to arrive at your destination. You just want to be there already. But for your sake and your family’s, take frequent breaks so you all can stretch your legs, get some fresh air, and of course, use the bathroom.

Getting out of the car frequently will break up those long stretches of open road that make you feel cooped up for hours on end. Reduce the cabin fever feeling by stopping and getting out frequently.

6. Plan your road trip playlist ahead of time

Get into the holiday spirit with some good old-fashioned family sing-a-longs in the car. It’ll keep your kids entertained and make the trip go by faster.

Once your kids get tired of caroling, switch to a book on tape or soothing music. They just might fall asleep for a few hours, giving you the peace of a quiet car and the open road.

7. Bend technology rules for the ride

You try to limit their screen time on regular days, but if there was ever a day to bend those rules, it’d be a long travel day. There isn’t a lot for them to do and they’re as trapped in the car as you are. 

Download some holiday movies like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Elf and let the ride pass by more quickly with easy entertainment.

Remember to have fun

The holidays are a stressful time for everyone, and traveling makes it even more so. If you can let go of the “gotta get there gotta get there” feeling that comes with holiday travel, and just enjoy the moment of having your family all together, then it’ll make the trip go by faster and be ultimately more enjoyable.

Essentially, don’t wait to get in the holiday spirit until after your travel is done. Make the car ride the beginning part of your holiday celebrations as much as you can. Everyone will have a better time and you’ll feel less harried on your trip.


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