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Christmas holiday season travel tips

Last year, an estimated 94.5 million Americans traveled more than 50 miles by car to be with friends and family during the Christmas holiday season.

So if you’re planning on hitting the road over the coming weeks, then check out our helpful tips to help make your journey that little bit easier…

The essential playlist

Image by Jinxi Caddel
Image by Jinxi Caddel

No self-respecting road tripper pulls out of the driveway without being armed with a solid music selection for the long journey ahead. And of course, with it being Christmas and all, you get the added pleasure of turning up the volume on all of your favorite holiday classics. So regardless of whether you’re crossing a few state lines, or simply traveling to the other side of the city, a well-crafted Christmas playlist will make your journey all the more enjoyable.

You may well have a favored playlist that you like to repeat every year, in which case you’re pretty much ready to go. If you do need some inspiration, however, then you can take your pick from hundreds of classics here.

Maintaining the backseat harmony

Image by Fernando de Sousa
Image by Fernando de Sousa

Christmas songs play a crucial role in creating the right atmosphere for your drive, but if you’re hitting the road with a few kids in the backseat then you’ll be all too aware of the potential pitfalls of a long drive. No matter how excited they are about the holiday season, the patience of the youngest ones can begin to wear thin after a few hours of driving. So what is one to do?

• Snacks: It’s all about striking the right balance with this one. It may be tempting to go down the easy route of packing a bag full of candy, but be warned: the subsequent sugar rush can last for hours on end. Hyper kids in the backseat is the last thing you need! By all means, bring a few treats with you but balance it out with some sandwiches and fruit. Check out some top tips here.

• Toys, toys, toys: If you’re lucky enough to be traveling after Christmas Day, then this part is easy. Equip the young ones with as many of their new toys as possible and you should be on track for a peaceful journey. Handheld video games are particularly helpful for long haul journeys – just make sure those battery packs are fully charged.

• Regular stops: If you’ve got a whole day of driving ahead of you then aim to schedule in a few stops along the way. Not only is it important to give the driver a rest, but it helps break up the journey and keep the little ones happy. Stop by a mall along the way, or simply stretch your legs at a gas station – you’ll be amazed at what effect a bit of fresh air can have.

Pack your emergency supplies

Image by Highways Agency
Image by Highways Agency

The holiday season is a busy time of year and you can certainly be forgiven for hastily loading up your car and hitting the road, especially when you’ve got children to organize and look after as well. It is, however, important to remember that this is a cold time of year and in the event of something going wrong with your car, a few extra supplies can go a long way.

Consider finding space for some of these items in the back of your vehicle:

• Foil heat blankets: In the event of an engine failure you may be unable to sufficiently heat up your vehicle. Heat blankets will enable you to retain your body heat and can be easily stored under seats or in your glove compartment.

• Flashlight: Don’t ever leave home without one! Winter and darkness go hand in hand, so if you ever need to stop and check your engine or simply search for something in the back of your car, a flashlight is your best bet.

• Shovel: You can pick up a compact folding shovel fairly cheaply and it may just come in handy in the event of a heavy overnight snowfall.

• Ice Scraper: Just like the shovel, it’s perfect for dealing with extra cold temperatures. Even stopping off for a few hours can result in heavy ice building up on your windshield.

Of course, if you decide to opt for a family car rental then you can relax safe in the knowledge that your vehicle is regularly serviced and subject to frequent safety checks. That extra peace of mind is always a welcome addition to any winter time road trip.

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