5 Tips for Making Your Holiday Road Trip Go More Smoothly

By | November 19, 2014

5 tips for preparing for a holiday road trip

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.

Enter to win a $25 Sunoco Gas Gift Card.  The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends December 1, 2014.

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  I will be receiving a Sunoco Gift Card as compensation for this post.  All opinions stated are my own.

137 thoughts on “5 Tips for Making Your Holiday Road Trip Go More Smoothly

  1. Jessica To

    We are going to my parents this holiday and the closest Sunoco is 2.3 miles from my house!

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  4. Margaret Smith

    The closest station to me is 3143 Sr 10 East Denville, NJ 07834.
    Yes, planning on going to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving. Not sure about Christmas yet.

  5. Bonnie Y

    We are traveling for Thanksgiving. Our closest sonoco is in Birmingham AL on 41st st.

  6. Shannon

    2411 W Hundred Road Chester, VA 23831 is the closest one to me. I do not have travel plans. My husband may go visit his parents across town for XMAS.

  7. Geoff K

    I’ll be driving ti Pennsylvania to visit my parents for the holidays. My closest Sunoco station is just 1.0 mile down the road from me.

  8. Stephanie Reed

    We’re having a Selfie Thanksgiving this year after several years of hosting 25+ people. Closest Sunoco is on W. Bridge Street. Dublin, OH.

  9. Ann Fantom

    We will be visiting my in-laws who live out of state

    Our closest Sunoco is at 893 Route 376 Wappingers Falls, NY 12590

  10. Joy Q

    We are going to be traveling states away to visit family. The closest Sunoco gas station is a half a mile from my house.

  11. rich m

    The nearest one to me is only 5 miles from my house and i pass by it all the time.

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  13. Crystal F

    We will be staying home for the holidays this year. My closest station is almost 10 miles away. Thank you!

  14. Adrienne gordon

    I am traveling this year to my parents and the nearest station is 9.3 miles

  15. Tari Lawson

    I am traveling to my sisters. The closest Sunoco is about 4 miles from me.

  16. barbara n

    We will be driving from SW Florida to Raleigh, NC. There are 2 Sunoco gas stations within 10 miles of my home…both in Englewood,FL

  17. Dawn Monroe

    My husband and I are hosting this year but my daughter and grandkids just left this morning to visit family in Kansas. I miss my girls all ready! My Sunoco is at the end of my street. I love it, its so convenient.

  18. Melissa George

    Yes i have travel palns this holiday to Las Vegas with my family and friends to celebrate our wedding annivdersary and the nearest gas station to my place is 547 Newark-pompton Tpk, Pompton Plns, NJ 07444

  19. Gabrielle W

    We won’t be do much traveling this holiday season. The closest station is 9.6 miles away.

  20. Gabrielle W

    Cat walked across the key board and set my comment before I finished answering the question. -We won’t be do much traveling this holiday season. The closest station is 9.6 miles away in Morrow Ohio

  21. Sandy Klocinski

    Traveling to Newport, Ky for Thanksgiving to see my sister and daughter

  22. Sandy Klocinski

    Traveling to Newport, Ky for Thanksgiving to see my sister and daughter
    Nearest Sunoco Station: 200 St James Ave And Brandywine Goose Creek, SC 29445

  23. Caroline Wampler

    Yes we have travel plans to Roanoke Virginia. The closest is 2.1 miles away!

  24. Thomas Murphy

    I don’t have any travel plans for the holidays. My nearest Sunoco station is 467 Main Street Reading, MA.

  25. Chrystal D

    I hope to be traveling home to Pittsburgh for the holidays and the nearest one to me is on Freeway Drive in NC

  26. Amanda Sakovitz

    I will be traveling to South Carolina this year the day after Christmas. The closest one is 2 miles away from me in MA.

  27. Tabathia B

    I plan on visiting Washington, DC during the holidays .One location near me would be the charlotte sunoco station.

  28. Lee Campo

    I am not traveling the holiday season. The closest station is 0.5 miles from me.

  29. Linda G.

    We are staying home and having out of town guests, the nearest station is about 14 miles from our home

  30. Aaron

    I plan on visiting Morgantown, WV. While there are no stations where I live, the nearest one there 1624 Mileground 26505.

  31. Valencia

    No travel plans this season. The nearest location to me is 0.4 miles from me in Birmingham, AL.

  32. Kelly D

    I will be visited my parents for the holidays, but they only live 20 miles away.

  33. Crystal

    I’m not planning any travel for the holidays, but I am planning a road trip home to Florida for most of January! Quite a few Sunoco stations in Orlando, I think the closest is on Orange Blossom Trail!

  34. Jessica Girginis

    This year for Thanksgiving we’re staying home and cooking for everyone again and for Christmas Eve we travel to my Husbands aunts house to celebrate with them. Then on Christmas morning we head over to my in-laws first, then to my Dads, then to my cousin’s annual holiday party and then Back to my in-laws for Christmas Dinner with the family!! Its a crazy trying to keep up around this time of year!! The nearest Sunoco Gas Station is 1.3 miles from my home!!

  35. Arielle

    The closest Sunoco station to me is 426 Route 206 in Hillsborough, NJ. And as for traveling for the holidays, I’m only driving as far as NYC from NJ–but with the holiday traffic, it may be longer than you’d expect!

  36. Samantha Daleo

    Yes, we are actually traveling for the 1st time this Christmas. We are taking a road trip from Charleston, WV to Orlando, FL to take my MIL, who is ill with Cancer, to Disney World for Christmas. We could use all of the gas cards we can get our hands on! The closest station to me is 9509 Mccorkle Av Se Pobx 15209 Marmet, WV 25365, about 4 miles away from my home.

  37. ryan conklin

    like every year, we stay at home and host the special dinner. the closest gas station is 7 miles away from my house

  38. Sara M

    I have no travel plans for the holidays. As a mom of 5 it is hard to travel with all the kids. We spend Christmas at home welcome any friends or family to come on over. Our nearest sunoco is just .6 miles from our house. There are 6 within a 5 mile radius! How convenient 😉

  39. Elisabeth Ashley

    We are driving to Orlando for New Years this holiday season. The closest Sunoco stations are 8 miles away in Destin, Florida.

  40. Brandi Swanson

    We will not be traveling this year during the holidays as we are stationed in Hawaii. There is not a Sunoco Gas Station near us but there is one 2.9 miles away from my parent’s house and I would gift the card to them!

  41. Carly D.

    We have no travel plans because of our work schedules. I found 4 locations within 5 miles of my job!

  42. Shayna Brookman

    We have no plans to travel for the holidays. The closet Sunoco is .4 miles up the road 🙂

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  44. Stacey b

    Yes, we’re traveling by plane to visit my Mom in Pennsylvania. The closest Sunoco to us is about a 5 min drive down the road! It’s also the cheapest of all in our town.

  45. nikki bankert

    we are staying home for the holidays. my nearest sunoco is on hull st rd.

  46. shirley

    We will have family here during the holidays. If I won I would give to someone to help travel-the nearest-1325 East Beaver Creek Rd
    Knoxville, TN 37918.

  47. s.w.

    Yes, there are plans that are being made not sure where yet. There is one about ten miles away.

  48. Wilma P

    We are hosting Thanksgiving at our house so I won’t be traveling. The nearest Sunoco Station is .8 of a mile from me.

  49. Marcia Goss

    We will be staying home for Christmas. The nearest Sunoco is 3521 Buena Vista Road
    Columbus, GA 31906.

  50. Taj Kingston (Tonya)

    My nearest Sunoco is on Salem near me in Mt. Washington, Ohio! I’m planning to go to Florida over Christmas to see my new nephew!

  51. Christabelle Rivera

    I do not have plans to travel this holiday season . The closest Sunoco to my house is in Owego, New York.

  52. Allicia

    I am staying within a 5 mile radius from my house. My parents live about 5 minutes away from my in-laws. Both houses are located within 1/2 mile from Sunoco stations.

  53. Khadijah L.

    I have plans on traveling this holiday season. I plan on visiting some family in Yulee.
    The nearest Sunoco gas station to me is 551 Cassat Ave Jacksonville, FL 32205

  54. Carol Nine

    We don’t have any travel plans this year. We are visiting my mother-in-law, who lives about 2 miles away. The nearest Sunoco station is located at 1721 E Center Street in Warsaw , IN.

  55. Carol Nine

    My daughter would really appreciate getting a Sunoco gift card this year. She drives 13 miles to work and 13 miles back, 8 miles to her children’s school each day, and 13 miles to and 13 back from shopping trips. She spends a lot on gasoline.

  56. Stacy

    The most I will be traveling would be from my home on the west coast of Florida to my Mom’s house in Kissimmee, but since I am about to have surgery and will need a six-week recovery time, I am not sure if I will make it out to her (she is coming to help me after my surgery). The nearest Sunoco is about 2 miles from my house (in Brooksville, FL) and my husband passes it on his way to and from work every day.

  57. Tracy Suzanne

    Since our family is so far away, we thought we’d do a less tradition Thanksgiving and take a day trip somewhere and just take in the scenery. We haven’t decided whether we’re going toward Georgia or down state FL to the gulf coast yet. Guess we’ll know when we wake up Thursday. lol. Our closest Sunoco is 2.1 miles away at 1633 Cr 210, West, Jacksonville, FL 32259. Thanks for the chance to win Jennifer.Tra

  58. Heather

    I have plans to head to Wilmington NC to see family over the holidays. I imagine I’ll fill up there for the trip back since that is the portion of the road trip I cover with my carmates. The closest Sunoco there is the Sunoco Gas Station
    at 2636 Castle Hayne Rd.

  59. Melanie

    We’ll be traveling to Maine between Thanksgiving and Christmas for a catch-all holiday. Our nearest station is at 2175 Broad Street in Cranston, RI!


    We are planning on staying home and driving after the holidays. Visited the site and my nearest is 236 Rr1
    North Edgecomb, ME 04556

  61. Karen

    We have a Sunoco station near us on Rochester road in Royal Oak,Mi.For the Holidays we stay home and visit w/ our families -including both grandmothers that live in town.

  62. beth shepherd

    I have a location 9.3 miles from my home. I am traveling about 45 to our parents home for the holidays. Exciting times

  63. nannypanpan

    my local station is on enfield st
    we are staying in state but traveling to my sisters this holiday

  64. sandra

    we will most likely drive to Michigan for Christmas. the nearest is in silver spring, md

  65. Donna Hufman Warrington

    I have a Sunoco station in walking distance to my home…less than a mile away.
    During the holidays, we spend a lot of time in PA….we live in Baltimore, Maryland.

  66. Charlotte W

    There are no Sunoco stations anywhere near me in Washington. If I won, I would send the card to my friend in Michigan since according to the locator map there are plenty of stations in Pontiac where she lives. My family will stay home for Christmas. Thanks for the chance to win!

  67. sheryl granholm

    I don’t currently have any plans for traveling during the holidays, but I’m working two jobs. The store locator on the website says No locations were found within 15 miles of 97206 that matched your search parameters. so I’m not exactly sure where the nearest one is! :O

  68. Cathy French

    We do not have any travel plans for the holidays this year. The nearest Sunoco station is 1.3 miles away from me.

  69. Julie

    We are staying close to home this year thank goodness and the nearest station is about a mile away from me

  70. Nicholas Balandiat

    I am headed no where this season, the roads are icy. My nearest station is: 3299 Saw Mill Run Blvd
    Pittsburgh, PA 15227.

  71. Julie L

    The closest gas station is 889 Dekalb Pike Blue Bell, PA 19422. There are so many nearby!

  72. Joanna Peter

    No travel plans, but lots of running around to parties and shopping, so extra gas would come in handy.

  73. Kathy Church

    Just traveling within town. Closest station is 4101 Mitchell Mill Rd.
    Raleigh, NC 27616

  74. Jessica

    Me and my daughter are staying home. The nearest one to me is about 10 mins.

  75. Marilyn Nawara

    There is a Sunoco station 4 miles away that we could fill up at before heading out to the in-laws for Thanksgiving. They live approx. 80 miles north which is about 1.5 hr drive.

  76. Dawn Keenan

    My nearest Sunoco station is 545 S Bedford St. Georgetown, DE. We will be staying home for the holidays and the family will come to us.

  77. Erin Madigan

    I don’t have any travel plans this holiday season (except to and from work). The nearest Sunoco station to me is in Florence, Alabama.

  78. Maria B

    I am staying in for the holidays. The closest station for Sunoco is 0.4 miles away.

  79. al

    I’m not traveling for the holidays. There are no Sunoco stations within 15 miles, or even within my state.

  80. Selinda

    We have already done our traveling for the holidays! My son and I went on a trip to Texas and saw ICE at Gaylord. We have a Sunoco literally across the street from our house on Bailey Road!

  81. Kelly

    I’m going to my mom’s this christmas. My nearest station is 1.6 miles away.

  82. Sarah @ Sunny Runner

    I don’t have any travel plans for the holidays. But I live right next to the ocean so I can always imagine that I’m somewhere far away. The nearest Sunoco is 3.7 miles away from me.

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  84. Kathryn C

    currently visiting at my mom’s house for Thanksgiving (KY to NJ) The nearest Sunoco here from my mom’s house is only 6 miles away – the closest one to me, where I’m at in KY- is 26 miles away in Russell Springs, KY

    Kathryn C

  85. Maria D.

    We are actually moving across the country this coming month, so a gas card would be much appreciate! It’s going to be a very long drive! Thanks for the giveaway.

  86. Carolyn Daley

    I might be driving to Orlando for a weekend getaway in a couple of weeks before Christmas. I live in South Florida and the Orlando area is only about three hours away. Our nearest Sunoco station is 1.5 miles away located on Wiles Road in Coral Springs, FL.

  87. Teresa

    No, we won’t be traveling this year. We have a Sunoco station 1.6 miles from us on Business Route 6.

  88. Donna Teller

    We don’t have travel plans because we can’t afford the gas to travel.

  89. Donna Teller

    We don’t have travel plans because we can’t afford it. The closest Sunoco to me is Quincy, MI which is where I live. It is the gas station that we normally go to.

  90. BEBE

    I don’t plan to do much holiday driving this year, but just going to enjoy the season with friends. My nearest Sunoco location is about three miles from my home.

  91. laura b

    We won’t be traveling too far this season, only to the next town over. Our closet Sunoco is 6.5 miles from our house, right on my work commute route!

  92. Nancy Loring

    I will be traveling to my sisters house which is a few hours from me. The nearest Sunoco station to me is in Laconia New Hampshire which is in the same town that my sister lives in.

  93. Kristin Nichols

    Our nearest Sunoco is right up the road from our house!! Thanks for the chance to win!!

  94. Donna L

    We are going to my mother in law’s house, 150 miles away. The closest Sunoco station is 1.5 miles from my home.

  95. tina reynolds

    It is less than 5 miles from my brothers who I will be seeing in christmas

  96. Cynthia C

    I am not planning to travel for the holidays. The nearest Sunoco station is less than two miles from my home.

  97. Samantha

    We will be heading to Buffalo twice for the holidays. The closest Sunoco is 2.2 mi away!

  98. steve weber

    I’m only traveling 1 hour to my sister’s for Christmas like we do every year.

  99. Stevie

    I’m not really traveling this holiday season- not anything more than usual- just back and forth to my boyfriends haha. The closest sunoco is righttttt near my house .9 miles away. I go there every week haha
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