Holiday Road Trip Travel Tips with Autotrader

AAA estimates 48.7 million Americans took a holiday road trip over Thanksgiving weekend. Our family was among them. “Over the river and through the woods…” for us was more like, “over the Thruway and to the Burg” as we headed home to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for our annual Thanksgiving visit to Grandma’s.  We’ve done the 4+ hour holiday road trip many times, and our daughters are well-traveled teenagers now. We’ve developed some strategies over the years to make sure they don’t get bored on the road, and we’ve partnered with Autotrader to share these tips to keep everyone happy during your holiday road trip.

Enterprise Winter Road Trip

Be ready for winter. We live in the northeast, and will be driving through the heart of the snow belt. Even if the weather looks clear now, it’s always good to have a winter emergency kit in the car including: bag of salt or sand, flashlight with batteries, snow brush and scraper, small snow shovel, windshield washer fluid, cloth or paper towels, blankets and extra winter clothing. I can’t tell you how many times our girls have run out the door without a coat, and I’ve made sure they grab their coats just in case of an emergency.

Check out the car. Always make sure your vehicle is up to date with its maintenance. Before we left, my wife took the minivan for an oil change, they checked all our fluid levels, and properly inflated our tires. She also ran it through the car wash for a thorough cleaning on the outside. Once the van was home, our daughter straightened up and vacuumed the inside of the car. It’s so much more relaxing to spend hours on the road in a clean car.

Crayola Road Trip

Entertainment for the kids. Our kids are older, and, I have to say, rely heavily on their electronics. Movies, smart phones, and portable video game devices are how they pass the time these days.  However, it wasn’t that long ago that coloring and activity books were the way to go. Even now a “busy bag” filled with window crayons, markers, and coloring supplies can keep my teens entertained during a break from the screen (or when they need to charge their devices). This year we tried a new electronic on the trip – a Fujifilm Instax camera. My daughter loved having her own camera, snapping shots on the road, and watching the pictures develop before her eyes. It was great to see our activities from her perspective.

Fujifilm Instax 7s

Snacks and drinks. Pack a cooler and fill the water bottles. In addition to everyone having their own water bottle, we try to pack healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts, and granola bars. Of course there are always a few indulgences as well such as chips and cookies.

Holiday Road Trip Basket

Before we knew it, the miles were behind us, the time had passed, we made it back to Grandma’s in Pittsburgh, PA, and it was time to tuck into that Thanksgiving turkey.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Need more ideas for keeping kids and family members entertained during your holiday road trip? Then check out this post at Autotrader.com/HolidayDrivingTips. Feel free to share your own tried and true techniques as well in the comments below.

DISCLOSURE: This is a sponsored post written by me in support of a paid campaign for Autotrader. However, all opinions expressed are those of the author. For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on Twitter and “like” our Facebook page, too..

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.