Schools have closed for kids. Folks are off-duty for at least a month. It’s holiday time and Santa is ringing jingle bells at a distance.
What a perfect time to go on a road trip with the entire family! Well, not so fast. Some preparation must go into the entire thing to avoid disappointments and lurking dangers associated with holiday driving.
In this post, we’ll show you 10 smart tips to help you prepare well for a successful road trip for any holiday season.
Ready? Let’s get this show to the road.
1. Get the Vehicle Serviced
Before taking any trips during the holidays, make sure all vehicles are well-serviced and ready to go. If you take a trip in a non-serviced vehicle, the holiday season will become very unpleasant for you. You don’t want to be on the road with a vehicle that could have problems at any moment.
When preparing your family vehicle, make sure it has enough gas to last through your trip without any stops. Stops can eat up valuable time on the road, which will cut into the amount of time you spend with your family.
Also, make sure all of your lights are working correctly.
If you’re planning to take long overnight trips during the holidays, be sure to have adequate blankets in the vehicle. That way, if any passengers are too tired to continue driving, they can sleep on the road until they are ready again.
2. Factor In Road Entertainment
If you’re traveling with children, be sure to take entertainment along as well. Kids can get bored quickly in a moving vehicle if they don’t have anything to do. This boredom leads to crying and whining, which will ruin the holiday mood for everyone else in the car.
Depending on your kids’ age, you can find several activities to keep them entertained. Generally, you can make a playlist that is made up of songs everyone in the car likes. If you have a mixed SD card of favorite family songs, you can play them in the car. Be sure to have the best car speakers for amazing entertainment.
3. Let the Kids Snack or, Well, Argue
You should also carry some snacks with you, especially if traveling with young children. No matter how well you plan out the trip ahead of time, arguments between kids can happen at any moment.
If there is no food around for these children to eat to make them happy again, the mood will be ruined for everyone. It’s essential to make sure all of your food is sealed correctly. Otherwise, the holiday stench will stay in your vehicle for days after you return home.
4. Prepare a List of the Places to Go and Activities to Do
Holidays are the perfect time to break away from the normal routine. Kids want to relax their minds from the busy school routine and you probably want to take a break from the regular work schedule.
To make the holiday travel meaningful, create a list of destinations you would like to visit along with the activities there. A day per location would be a great idea.
Here are some examples to get you started:
- Soothe everyone’s mind as you watch over 3100 tonnes of water flow per second at Niagara Falls.
- Go to the Adirondacks for kayaking, canoeing, hiking, and sampling regional wine.
- Enjoy wine tasting, boating, and hiking at the Finger Lakes.
- Spend your vacation bird-watching, swimming, camping, surfing, and sunbathing at Fire Island.
- Escape the busy New York City and go to Long Island to relax on white sand beaches with a glass of wine
- Bask in the natural beauty while hiking and biking at Ithaca.
5. Prepare for Unforeseen Occurrences
If you’re planning to stay overnight at your destination, make sure you know how to get there and back safely.
There might be unforeseen circumstances that prevent you from getting home on time, such as a significant holiday traffic jam or an overwhelming number of people traveling at the same time.
If you’re planning to take a car, make sure it has ample seating and trunk space so all your passengers can sit comfortably and safely during their journey. You don’t want anyone to get carsick or fall asleep on the road because they did not have enough room in the vehicle’s interior for them to rest.
6. Make Prior Arrangements In Case the Car Malfunctions
Make sure you have a contingency plan in case your vehicle breaks down or gets snowed in. You can make prior arrangements to have someone come by and tow the car to a mechanic or rent another vehicle from a local agency so you won’t be stranded without transportation.
7. Get Everyone Buckled Up
If you’re traveling with children, it’s imperative for them to buckle up whenever they’re in the car. Make this a habit before leaving your house, so everyone learns how to buckle up properly, and you won’t have to worry about getting pulled over by a police officer because one of your passengers isn’t buckled up correctly.
8. Stay Focused When Behind the Wheel
The most important thing to do while driving is to focus on your family rather than other vehicles on the road. Once you’re off the road, the holidays can begin.
Many people are stricken with bad cases of road rage every holiday season because they get frustrated by other drivers speeding along in front of them or not letting them merge properly.
With people decking out their vehicles in festive colors and lights for Christmas, it’s important that you maintain your focus behind the wheel. This lack of focus leads to bad accidents, especially dangerous during the holiday season.
By doing so, both you and your family can arrive at your destination ready for another family outing in the New Year!
9. Carry a Car Emergency Kit
Anything can happen when on a holiday road trip. That’s why we recommend, you have the following:
- Spare tire
- Engine oil
- Food and water
- Owner manual
- Jump cables
- First Aid Kit
- Foldable emergency safety triangle
- Universal lug wrench
- Notepad and pen
- Tire pressure gauge
- High visibility safety vest
- Tire jack
Carrying an emergency kit is only half the battle. You also need to:
10. Know How to Handle Common Roadside Emergencies
Even if you make careful preparations for your trip, there’s always a chance that you may encounter some type of emergency with your car.
If they occur, know the recommended procedures for what to do before calling for help or changing any part of your vehicle.
That said, be sure you know how to go about the following:
- Changing a flat tire
- Moving a stuck vehicle using the rocking method
- Handling an overheated engine
- Jumpstarting a car with a dead battery
- Taking action in case of an accident
A holiday road trip may be all you need to reset your mind and be happy. Be sure to prepare well before traveling by following the above tips.
More importantly, consider taking driving lessons to improve your driving skills so you can drive skillfully and keep everyone safe during holidays.