Can you believe Thanksgiving is just over a week away? Many of us have plans to travel this holiday season, whether it is to visit loved ones far away, or to take a much needed vacation from the cold and dreary weather. Every other Christmas, we head out to Wisconsin to see my in-laws. They are an 11 hour drive away from us. Some years we are blessed with clear weather and great road conditions. Other years, we aren’t so lucky.
We may not be able to control the weather, but we do everything we can to make sure that our bi-annual road trip goes as smoothly as possible. If you are hitting the road this holiday season, here are some things you can do to help prepare for the unexpected and ensure your trip is a success.
- Make sure your car had its regularly scheduled maintenance. Your getaway can quickly turn into a nightmare if your car breaks down and there are no mechanics open due to the holiday. Ask me how I know this! After one bad experience, we definitely learned our lesson and make sure all maintenance on our van is up to date.
- Fill up your gas tank the night before you leave, especially if you are going to be traveling on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. Not all gas stations are open on holidays, so it is better to be safe than sorry and fill your tank beforehand.
- Print a paper copy of the route you will be taking. (We like to use Google or Bing Maps to print directions.) Although we typically use a GPS app on my husband’s phone for navigation, there have been times that we were glad we had printed a map. Some areas of the country don’t have the best cell reception and you may find your phone GPS stops working.
- Try to avoid major metropolitan areas during rush hour if you are going to be traveling during the week. We travel through Chicago when heading to my in-laws house. We usually leave home a couple hours earlier than we would normally leave for a trip, just so we can avoid the congestion.
- Keep an emergency kit in your car. Winter weather can be unpredictable. Be sure to keep some food, water, and blankets in your car in case you get stranded. We keep 2 heavy quilts, bottles of water, and a couple of boxes of granola bars in our car during the winter, just in case there is ever an emergency.
And a bonus tip for you!
Remember that paper copy of the route I told you to print? It is also a good idea to mark where you might want to stop for meals and to fill your gas tank, especially if you are going to be driving through some areas of the country that are a little more isolated. There is one section on our trip to Wisconsin where there aren’t a lot of places to stop. So I like to check out the Sunoco Gas Station locator and mark on the map where we will be able to stop and re-fuel. Running out of gas at any time can be a pain, but in the winter, it can be downright dangerous.
We may not be able to control every aspect of our holiday road trip, but a little planning and preparation can definitely be a huge help in case of something unexpected along the way.
Are you heading out on a road trip this holiday season? Sunoco wants to bless one lucky A Heart Full of Love reader with a $25 Sunoco Gas Gift Card to help them with their trip preparations. Entry is easy through the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway is open to US readers and ends December 1, 2014.
Disclosure: I will be receiving a Sunoco Gift Card as compensation for this post. All opinions stated are my own.