Home for the Holidays: A Road Trip Survival Guide

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I cannot believe the holidays are already here!

Let the chaos begin. Not only does this mean shopping for gifts in crowded stores and getting stuck in traffic, but also long-distance traveling and family time. Can you survive all of that? Sure you can because I’m going to give you all of the tips and tricks- and a road trip survival guide. Road trips, in general, can be very stressful and exciting, but added stress comes with the holidays.

Related: Driving etiquette 101

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But First, a Good Itinerary!

For anyone who likes to plan ahead, this is probably the most important step in the process. You have to map out where you’re going, how many miles it is, and where you are going to stop along the way. Most importantly, what time are you going to leave?  t’s always easier to drive during the day, rather than at night, but you also have to be alert during rush hour traffic.

If we want to get really technical about the safest time to drive, let’s take a look at this article. In 2017, the average of fatal car crashes were more frequent on weekends, mostly on Saturdays. During the spring and summer months, fatal accidents were on average between 8 pm-11:59 pm. Nonfatal accidents on average in the summer were from noon to 3:59 pm.  On the flip side, October through March, the average fatal crashes were from 4 pm-7:59 pm. Which, basically means, that if you’re driving this holiday season, make sure to drive earlier in the day, and get as many hours out before the rush hour. Plus, no one wants to sit in rush hour traffic, mixed with holiday traffic.

Related: How to Pack your Car Like a Pro!

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Make sure to map out your trip, and pay attention to the weather PC: Lillie Morales

Don’t Forget to Print Directions… Just in Case.

Technology is great, however, it can still fail us at times. You may be old enough to remember mapquest, you may not.  However, that was our GPS back in the day. Even before that were just maps of highways. I remember as a child, having tons of maps in the back seat because we used to road trip a lot.  I would highly recommend printing out directions as a just in case. Being lost and not having service is one of the many things that can go wrong on a road trip.  One must be careful when getting lost.

When I was younger, my friend and I printed out mapquest directions after going to a concert in upstate NY. On our way back we took a wrong turn and we stopped at a local gas station to ask for directions. Let’s just put it this way, it looked like one of those scary films- ‘The Hills have Eyes’ met ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’! We got out of there real fast and found a more lit up area, which was Walmart.  Just remember, mile markers can save the day.

Related: Let Your Kids Dictate the Road Trip with Waze

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Snacks are ALWAYS important! PC: April Ockerman

Bring Snacks and Water

Whether you’re a mom or just someone who loves to snack, always make sure to have something in the car.  Of course, stopping to fill up your tank, or to use the bathroom is expected.  However, one can avoid unnecessary pitstops by having snacks and drinks in the car.  Make sure to have all parties chip in for snacks and water, along with gas, because that can get expensive.

Related: If You Have Kids, this is the Perfect Road Trip Snack Guide for Kids

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Make sure to pack yourself the day before to make sure that all of your bags fit perfectly! PC: Monica Siembieda

Pack Up the Extra Juice

And not the drinking kind. Battery packs, chargers, regular batteries. Everything. You’re most likely reading this article on your phone, laptop, or tablet. All of those devices require to be charged at some point. When going on a road trip, no one wants their phone to die, especially if they are using it for GPS.  Most people that I drive with usually use their phone’s GPS rather than the car’s GPS. It’s always great to have backup batteries as well, just in case.

Related: Check to See if Your Car is Equipped with Apple CarPlay

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Road Tripping with our 4 legged friends can be fun but stressful PC: Monica Siembieda

Prepare the Car for Children and Pets

If you’re traveling with children or pets, make sure the car is equipped with all the things that are needed for kids and pets. That’s when having extra backup batteries, or extra charging cords can come in handy for those little ones in the back seat watching their favorite shows on your tablet. When it comes to traveling with pets, it can be just as stressful as traveling with children, depending on your pet.

Related: A complete guide to traveling with pets.

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Natalie of Ginger Me Glam and Monica of Jersey Girl Texan Heart road-tripping together

Have a Co-pilot

Many people have done a road trip solo (myself included) and while it’s fun to be able to adventure on your own, during the holidays, it’s best to have a co-pilot. They can help alleviate some of the driving, or they can just be good company. Driving by yourself can be a great way to have some “me” time, but personally, I would rather drive with someone during Phe holidays. It helps with directions and helps avoid any unfortunate events such as an accident.  With a co-pilot in the car, there is another set of eyes.

Related: A great midsize SUV for an adventure!

Create a Good Playlist

Remember back in the days, where you would have VHS tapes or CDs with something like Bestie Mix 2002? Well, since technology has evolved greatly, now we can make playlists on our phones. Not only can we make playlists, but we can have a ton of music in the palm of our hands, instead of having multiple CD’s.

Related: The Ultimate Road Trip Playlist

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Yes, you’re super excited, but make sure you’re paying attention!

Pay Attention

Everyone knows that while driving, you always have to pay attention. However, during the holidays you have to be extra cautious.  Other drivers aren’t thinking straight because everyone is trying to make it home for the holidays.  They might even be doing last-minute present shopping, and last-minute food shopping. Usually, these people may seem to be a little stressed, and may not be as attentive to their surroundings. Just make sure to pay extra attention to the road, and those around you. People also like to drink around the holidays, so watch out for drunk drivers.

Related: Make sure to practice car safety.

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Always make sure to make memories with your friends! Lillie of Jersey Fashionista, Dawn of Simply Sassy Style, Jana of Whisky n Sunshine, Natalie of Ginger Me Glam, Monica of Jersey Girl Texan Heart, and Mary Moore of Raising Dick and Jane

Have Fun!

And last, but definitely not least, have fun. A road trip can be stressful, but with the proper tools and planning, it can be one of the greatest experiences. Some of my fondest memories are from my childhood when my parents and I used to road trip all over the country.

Safe and happy travels! And Happy Holidays!

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Monica is a Centenary University grad with her MBA. She was always a creative person, and found that creating... More about Monica Siembieda