Over the river and through the woods, to grandmothers house we go…
How many readers are doing a lot of traveling this holiday season? Are you going on vacation for the holiday? Are you visiting friends or family far away?
We’re fortunate that we’ll only be visiting my father and step-mother this holiday season and they only live 50 minutes away (each way).
In years past we did A LOT of travelling during the holiday season – most especially on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
The last thing you want to have happen is something to go wrong with your car while you are far from home. You also don’t want to find out half way into your trip that you forgot something at home (I’ve done that before – I left a gift at home!).
Autotrader has some great tips for consumers when it comes to travelling this holiday season (or any time of the year).
If you are not familiar with Autotrader, here is a little bit of information about the company.
Autotrader is the most visited third-party car shopping site, with the most engaged audience of in-market shoppers. As the foremost authority on automotive consumer insights, Autotrader makes the car shopping experience easy and fun for today’s empowered consumer looking to find or sell the perfect new, used or Certified Pre-Owned car.
Here are some of their great tips for travelling by car.
Prepare your vehicle. Do a quick check on the essentials before you head out. Check the wear and pressure on your tires, and be sure your fluids (oil, coolant and wiper fluid) are topped off.
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.
Keep the little ones engaged. Technology features like built-in screens and DVD players can be saviors on the road, but if your car doesn’t come equipped with these, consider bringing along a handheld device on which little ones can play games or watch videos. And if technology isn’t your thing, remember that magnetized board games and word games can work just as well.
Bring snacks. Greasy food isn’t the best for staying alert — or feeling good — while road tripping. Instead of relying on fast-food, bring along lots of smaller, healthier snacks to keep kids (and adults) content. Fruits and vegetables that are easy to eat and easy on the mess, like carrot sticks, bananas and apples, are great options.
Have patience! 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.
These are excellent tips. I would also like to add a few of my own.
Map out alternate routes. Just in case you come across road work or a car accident that might cause you to sit in traffic for long periods of time – most especially if you need to be some place by a specific time. Back in 2002 my family and I were going to Florida and needed to get to the airport. Thankfully we took a car service because we encountered a massive traffic pile up on the way which would have caused us to miss our flight. Our driver knew an alternate route and was able to get out of the traffic and get us to the airport in time. If we had drove down we wouldn’t have known about the alternate route and we would have missed out flight.
Know rest stops along the way. Trust me… when you have children you need to have a general idea where rest areas are in case “nature calls.” I remember once coming back fro the Jersey Shore when our daughter had to go to the bathroom really bad. It was bumper-to-bumper traffic and we just made it to the rest stop on the highway, narrowly avoiding an “accident.” Had we planned better we would have known what exits to get off at in case somone needed the facilities.
These days when we are travelling long distances and see a rest area we stop even if no one needs to go. It’s always a good idea to at least try and “go,” plus it gives you a chance to stretch your legs and get some fresh air.
Don’t forget water. You should keep yourself hydrated when travelling.
Make sure you have emergency equipment. Make sure you have a first aid kit, extra blankets, non-perishable food, water and other essentials in the event you find yourself stranded. With crazy winter weather you just never know when you might get stuck somewhere. Also, make sure you have a back up charger for your phone in case your car doesn’t have a live battery you can draw from.
Travelling with children is not always easy. My husband and I talk about it all the time how when we traveled as children it seemed to take forever to get to our destination. As an adult it doesn’t seem that way. Even an hour long trip can be boring for a child. That is why it’s important to not only keep them entertained, but also to help keep your sanity.
Check out these great Clever Mom Hacks for Driving with Kids. I like the tip about re-purposing DVD cases for art supplies. I was thinking this could work well with a VHS tape case too. I’m sure we have a few of those lying around.
I also LOVE the tip about using a plastic cereal container as a garbage can. I love having a clean car – both inside and out. I need to make one of these for my car.
Using small muffin cups for change and other small items is a great idea as well. I think it’s also a great way to keep dust, dirt and debris from collecting in the cup holders too. I wonder if they will keep the cup holders clean from coffee cup drips too?
When it comes to travelling with kids I have some other tips to share.
Books on tape. Purchase books on tape to let your kids (and family) listen to on long trips. You can even records yourself reading your child’s favorite books to listen to. Adults can enjoy books on tape too.
Keep snacks with reach of your children. That way you don’t have to pull over to hand it to them or try and pass it back to them while driving (which is a safety hazard). Use lunchboxes to store snacks and drinks that way everything is together and the kids known which belongs to them.
Take driving breaks. Stop every so often so that everyone can stretch their legs and get some fresh air. I think it helps make everyone less grumpy and it gives the driver a break for a few minutes.
Go “old school.” There is nothing wrong with doing the things we did as kids with our families such as singing songs together (100 Bottles…) and playing classic games like “I Spy” and the License Plate Game.
I hope you found these tips from me and Autotrader helpful.
Check out the hashtag #MomHacks for more great ideas.
Autotrader would love to give a lucky reader a fun travel “kit.” The kit contains the following;
- $25 Visa gift card
- Seat Back Organizer
- Selfie Stick
- First Aid Kit
- Single-use Wet Wipes
The retail value is $75.00. Thank you Autotrader!
This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on December 12, 2015. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via email and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.
To enter please comment on this post and tell me what was your favorite tip – OR – share a travelling tip of your own.
For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
*I have partnered with Autotrader to bring you this information. I will be receiving a similar prize package in exchange for my participation. The opinions expressed are my own unless otherwise noted.