Now that Halloween is over… we can officially start thinking about the holidays, right? Well, let’s just plan for Thanksgiving right now. As much as I love the holidays, Christmas music can be a little much for two months straight. But! It’s never too early to start planning for your travels to see your family. Our families live within driving distance, so we don’t have to plan as much as you might if you were flying, but I still have some great advice on how to prepare your car for upcoming road trips. I honestly think even if my parents lived 10 hours away, I’d still want to road trip home. Road trips are so much fun, and they give you a little peace and quiet before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season!
1. Make sure your car is up to date on it’s maintenance schedule.
The last thing you want to worry about as you’re packing up your car full of suitcases, gifts, and holiday treats is getting a last minute oil change, tire rotation, or battery check. Especially if you have a long drive home… risking the chance of your car not starting, or your tires being dull and slippery on wet pavement could add unnecessary stress. Be sure your service is up to date, or schedule at least two weeks before your trip so you don’t have to worry about it last minute! I also love having my car serviced right before any trips, because it typically comes with a wash and a vacuum! Who doesn’t love riding in a clean car?
2. Pack an emergency kit.
Just in case something goes wrong on your car, and you break down on the side of the road, it’s so helpful to have an emergency kit. Ours includes jumper cables, glass treatment wipes (in case the inside of your windshield is really smudged and you can’t see!), a flashlight, first-aid kit, warning triangles, tire gauge, gloves, rags, poncho, drinking water and nonperishable snacks. If you’re traveling in snow, it also doesn’t hurt to have a warm blanket, shovel, cat litter (for traction under your tires) and a windshield ice-scraper. We also pay the extra $10 for roadside assistance each month through our auto insurance, which has saved us a few times! You can never be too prepared.
3. Keep yourself entertained.
Don’t forget to pack things to do, especially if you have a long drive (and especially with kiddos!) You can bring a book, a tablet or iPad, or a fun road game to play with your family. Eric and I also love to listen to music, and I always have directions on my phone, so we always pack two cell-phone chargers so we can both charge at the same time. I also always pack a travel pillow, and blanket to snuggle up in the car. Especially in winter!
4. Don’t go hungry!
One of my favorite road trip pastimes is stopping to the gas station to load up on road trip snacks. A fountain soda (my weakness), a few bottles of water (to even it out), and some tasty treats. Our favorites are typically tortilla chips, or popcorn. I also have to pick up a bag of Swedish Fish every road trip. If you’re looking to avoid the temptation of gas station treats, be sure to pick up a few healthy options at the grocery store before your trip. Apples, bananas, dried fruit, nuts, and protein bars are all great options.
5. Be patient and be safe.
During the busy holiday season, expect to hit traffic. If you can swing it, it might make sense to drive late at night or early in the morning to avoid the rush. I always use Google Maps to get an estimate of how long it’ll take to get there, and that way we can plan ahead for when we need to leave. Make sure you count on stops for restroom breaks, and fueling up to ensure you don’t run low on gas. And be safe! Make sure you’re driving safely, and follow the rules of the road. Go the speed limit, head up, and stay off your phone!
Hope you guys enjoyed this advice on traveling to see family and ways to prepare your car for road trips. Have a wonderful start to November!
Thanks to Michelin for sponsoring this post. When it comes to those we care about, no distance is too far. Use #BeThereMoments on Instagram to connect with a community of likeminded people who are making the effort to show up when it matters most.