6 Of The Best

Holiday Travel Tips

To Keep You Moving – And Sane – This Holiday Season

by Bill Flitter

What’s the old adage? It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.

While I’m sure you’re feeling anything but that way about any upcoming holiday travel you have planned between this week and next, like anything else, the more prepared you are, the more successful you are apt to be. Use our holiday travel tips to stay a bit more safe on the roads and sane in the car.

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6 Holiday Travel Tips That Will Keep You Sane And Safe While Driving

Our holiday travel tips included from what to pack to keep your kids from driving you crazy, to how to make sure they don’t see the gifts in the third row, we’ve compiled a tried and true list of the best holiday travel tips to keep you moving – and sane – this season.

Holiday Travel Fact #1

Nearly 107.3 million Americans will travel this year for the holidays.

Make a holiday travel kit

This should include the staples you already have in your car all year round – like a blanket, spare phone chargers, jumper cables, standard tools, warm clothes and shoes – but also a small shovel, snow scraper and sand, kitty litter or traction mats. Remember, even if it’s not bad weather where you are, it’s important to consider where you’re going and what you might encounter along the way, which leads me to my next tip.

Map out your trip

It may go without saying, but with a lot of people completely relying on their GPS or their phone, it’s a good idea to actually map out your route – that’s right, with a real map. What if where you’re going has bad service? Or your GPS starts acting up (again)? On long holiday road trips especially, it’s always best to know the general roads and highways you will be taking. With any luck, you won’t need to use the map and it will have just been good practice.

As part of your mapping, it’s also a good idea to check the forecast. We hope you don’t have to use the kitty litter and/or traction maps, but they’re good to have around in a slippery spot.

Pack smart

Perhaps one of the trickiest parts of your holiday travel will be hiding presents from your passengers. If you have a trunk this might be less of an issue, but for everyone else we encourage you to gift wrap or bag everything and then place a blanket over the whole heap. And if you haven’t bought them already, avoid giving items with predictable shapes, like wine or large toys the kids will easily be able to identify.

For the presents that will fit, a suitcase is a great hideaway spot – and it’ll be easy to pick up and grab once you get to where you’re going.

Holiday Travel Fact #2

The national average price per gallon for gas is $2.47 in December, which is 28 cents more than a year earlier and the most expensive since 2014, according to AAA.

Take Breaks

A good general rule of thumb to follow is to stop every couple of hours or 100 miles. The best rest stops are the ones right off the highway. I don’t know about you, but I lose my mind every time I fall for a sign for a gas station or a restaurant on a particular exit only to take the exit and have to drive an additional five miles to get there. This is the stuff of holiday travel nightmares! Plan ahead, and stop for the stations you can see from the road.

Bring Snacks

In addition to packing all of your holiday presents, don’t forget the practical stuff, too – like snacks for the road. A couple of staples on my holiday road trip snack list are: trail mix, granola bars, dried fruit and plenty of bottles of water. This will also prevent, or at least limit, the frequent fast food stops along the way.

Keep the kids busy

I remember road trips with my siblings when I was a kid, and all I have to say is that my parents are saints.

Now we have tablets, phones and other gaming devices that kids can either stream videos from or play on during long trips in the car. My biggest tip here would be to make sure you download your games and videos ahead of time – and to make sure there’s enough for however long you’re planning on being on the road for.

If you’re trying to limit screen time and don’t want your kids solely playing from your phone or tablet the entire time, you can’t go wrong with a good classic game of ‘I spy’ or license plate – which has you track the license plates from all the different states you see.

Holiday Travel Fact #3

The busiest traveling season will be Dec. 23- Jan. 1. Dec. 20 – 22 are expected to create a huge spike in travel times, with Dec. 22 from 3 – 5 p.m. being the worst according AAA.

Gas up

In the spirit of making pit stops, there are a few gas apps that have been around for a while that can not only help you locate where the closest gas stations are, but can also point you in the direction of where to find the cheapest gas, too.

Here are a couple of my favorites: Gas Buddy, Gas Guru and Waze.

A lot of the newer model vehicles also have a gas locator function built into their dashboard. If you haven’t already, now is a good time to check it out!

Over To You

Undoubtedly, you will hit traffic or have a kid in the car who needs to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes – and these are the things you can’t always plan for or completely avoid. For everything else, we hope these holiday travel tips keep you safe, happy and moving during your travel this season.

Happy driving, and happy holidays!