Top 8 Holiday Travel Tips for Stress-Free Road Trips

family of four in the car with young children leaning over backseat

The holidays always bring out mixed reactions in people. To some, this is the happiest time of the year. And to others, it’s simply the most stressful! 

The holidays may be extra stressful if you travel. Trying to keep track of everything you have packed, follow directions, and keep your family entertained can feel like a full-time job. If you’ve chosen to drive to your destination, make sure your car insurance is up to the task. 

To help you better enjoy the holidays, we put together these travel tips. Keep reading to discover the best ways to fight stress and actually enjoy the annual holiday trip! 

Make Plans with Your Family 

If you have children, they may become your chief source of stress during the holiday season. After all, once your children become bored during a long drive, it can be challenging to get them out of that mood. 

One simple way to address this is to include your family in your travel planning. Tell your children about where you will be going and give them options of places to visit along the way. This will increase their “buy-in” of the trip and reduce the likelihood of outbursts from the backseat (but make sure you keep these tips in mind, just in case). 

Be Consistent 

No matter how much or how little you travel, we can guess your biggest travel fear. And that fear is leaving something important behind when you go. 

Whether it’s a favorite piece of clothing or something like your wallet or phone, you have plenty of possessions you might accidentally leave somewhere while traveling. If you leave a wallet behind, it could ruin your entire trip. 

We recommend being consistent and always putting certain items in the same places. Just remember to double-check those places before you go and you will stop accidentally leaving items behind. 

Plan For Downtime (and Enjoy It) 

Einstein once theorized that time is relative. You don’t have to be a super-genius to understand that he is right. After a few hours in the same car, even the nicest family may now be snipping at each other. 

To keep the peace, we recommend planning for some downtime while you travel. Make plans ahead of time for favorite restaurants you can stop at, fun stores to visit, and so on. 

Making these stops gives you a chance to stretch your legs and grab more fuel as needed. Most importantly, it lets people blow off steam before you get back onto the road. 

Print Directions 

If you travel a lot or you simply don’t have a great sense of direction, then smartphone GPS apps probably feel downright magical. You just punch in an address, hit a button, and get turn-by-turn directions to your destination. 

However, the GPS app only works when your cellphone has a good wireless connection. Your travels may take you to places where you get a weak signal or even no signal at all. 

Obviously, getting lost in a small town is going to make your travel more stressful. To keep this from happening, we recommend that you print out your directions ahead of time. That way, you have a hard copy in case you get a poor signal on the road. You can store the printed directions with your other important paperwork

Distractions for the Kids 

Travel Trip
A family in the car while they’re on a road trip

Family road trips can be a great way for you to bond with your children. But the younger the children are, the more likely they are to get bored and start acting out. Nothing ruins your trip quite like the stress of a screaming child or two! 

Because of this, we highly recommend bringing along distractions for young children. Such distractions may include favorite toys, an old cellphone, or a portable DVD player with an attached screen. 

There is always a chance you won’t need to use these distractions. But when it comes to kids and long travel, it’s better to have distractions and not need them than need distractions and not have them. 

Car Maintenance 

There is never a good time for your car to break down. However, some times are worse than others, and that includes when you are traveling for the holidays. 

This is a terrible time for a breakdown because you are traveling with your family. So if the car won’t start after you stop for gas, you might be stuck in a strange and unfamiliar place with your family until help arrives. 

You can always try to jump the car off or perform other maintenance yourself. But it will be very cold outside the car, making the whole exercise very unpleasant. 

Our advice? Take your car into the shop for maintenance about a week before your holiday trip to reduce the odds of it breaking down! While you’re at it, take the time to explore any car insurance discounts you may qualify for to save a bit of money over the holidays. 

Prepare Seasonal Music 

For families who are driving to and from home over the holidays, there is no tradition quite like singing songs together, especially when you’re singing some of the famous jingles that have been bringing families together for generations. 

Chances are that you and your family have some favorite holiday songs. If so, you may be disappointed if those songs never come on the radio when you are scanning for holiday tunes. 

Instead of hoping to find that music on the radio, we recommend you bring some holiday CDs of your favorites or create a playlist on Spotify or a similar service. This way, the whole family can have fun singing along! 

Digital Entertainment 

We are big fans of bringing the whole family together on long car rides with a good song. But eventually, everybody is going to want to stop talking and do their own thing for a while. 

This is why we recommend bringing headphones and digital devices for everyone, including children. When it looks like everyone could use their own space, then you and your family can pop your own headphones on and dive into a song, a podcast, an audiobook, or a video. 

In addition to defusing fights, this also helps everyone conserve their energy so they can be in a good mood once you arrive at the destination. And on the return trip, maybe everyone will conserve enough energy to help you take care of your car until the next holiday road trip! 

As for the driver, make sure he or she is rested and awake while driving. And no distractions like headphones! The driver will need to concentrate on their main job: Getting the family safely to their destination. 

Travel Safer This Holiday Season 

Now you know our top tips for staying safe during holiday road trips. But do you know how to really protect your family before you even start the car? 

Here at Insure One, we specialize in providing the kind of car insurance your family deserves. To see how we can keep everyone and everything safe, come explore our car insurance options online today! Alternatively, you can discuss your options with us at the nearest office or by phone at 800-836-2240.