Each year nearly 50 million people take to the road over the Thanksgiving holiday. That can mean crowded roads, frayed nerves, and travelers that are a bit crankier than usual. There are ways that you can avoid the stress, and we’ve got the tips to help you.
- Give yourself time to plan: When you wait until the last minute to begin your preparations you increase the likelihood that you’ll overlook an important detail or forget something that will make the trip easier. As you map your route, allow plenty of travel time. You may run into unanticipated delays along the road. If your schedule is flexible, avoid the heaviest travel days. Traveling on off days may save time in the long run.
- Give your car a little love: Before you pack up the family truckster, have your mechanic give it a good look. Small maintenance tasks like checking tire pressure, having the oil changed, and looking for frayed belts can help you avoid getting stranded on the road. Remember that you’ll be spending a lot of time in your car so starting out with a squeaky clean cabin will get the trip off to a good start.
- Prepare for the unexpected: It’s unlikely you’ll find yourself in an emergency situation, but if the unexpected does occur, having the right supplies can be a lifesaver. Be sure to include a fully stocked first-aid kit, blankets (if you are traveling in cold weather), working flashlights, a charged cell phone, and other standard automobile emergency supplies. As you prepare for the trip, create a checklist to avoid leaving out important items.
- Get fully charged: Phones, tablets, e-books, and video games should all be gassed up and ready to go. When you have multiple passengers competing for the charging ports, developing a plan to allocate charging time can avoid arguments. Investing in a converter that allows multiple people to charge simultaneously may be worthwhile
- Stock up on snacks and entertainment: To avoid a car full of hungry travelers, have plenty of healthy drinks and snacks on board. Be sure to pack plenty of entertainment options. Create a special playlist or choose an audiobook that the whole family will enjoy. Take advantage of phone apps that provide information on radio stations that are available on your route, rest stop locations, and special points of interest.
Preplanning your trip is the best way to ensure that it is fun for the whole family. Once you are on the road, remember that safety comes first. Drive defensively and take breaks when you need to. Enjoy the ride and happy holidays!