How to survive a holiday road trip with your sanity intact

There is nothing like a holiday road trip to bring out the very best and worst of the season. There is plenty that can make a parent stressed out and overwhelmed. Kids that are on break have stored up energy to release. Lines for gas and lunch can be long. Restaurants can be crowded. There is plenty that can make a parent stressed out and overwhelmed.

I frequently saw parents and children who were stressed out by the travel experience when I worked in the hotel industry. These tips can help you survive a Thanksgiving road trip with your sanity intact.

1. Slow down

Expect an increased police presence on the road on Thanksgiving and major holidays. They know that people will be hurrying to get to Grandma’s. The added pressure can cause people to exceed the speed limit who might not ordinarily do so. Apps like Waze and Google Maps can help you avoid speed traps.

2. Wear comfortable clothing.
Loose-fitting or stretchy clothing are ideal for road trips. Travel is less stressful if you can be comfortable.

3. Bring a blanket

It is good to have a blanket or throw in the car. You can cover up or use it as a pillow as you need. A throw can be easily stored in a 2 or 3 gallon Ziploc bag when not in use.

4. Bring games for the kids for inside the car and outdoors.

Keep the kids occupied with car friendly games for kids. Try finding the a letter of the alphabet on billboards and signs until you find them. Another good idea is to see how many states are represented on license plates.

A Google or Bing search will yield tons of suggestions for car games. Download and print age appropriate mazes, crossword puzzles and coloring sheets. Staple these together to make a book about Thanksgiving or road trips.

Some sites will allow you to create your own puzzles or mazes. This is a great opportunity to work in Grandma and Grandpa’s names oh, the city that you are visiting or even the color of Grandma’s house. Be creative.

5. Bring water and snacks.

It may mean stopping for bathroom breaks a little more frequently than you would like, but snacks and water are an essential part for surviving Thanksgiving travel.

People who are hungry or thirsty can be challenging on a road trip. Stave off the “hangries” some healthy snacks and water. Pouches of fruit, apples or bananas, protein bars or packages of crackers are among my first choices for road trips.

6. Create a playlist

Who doesn’t enjoy singing along to their favorite songs the car stereo? Create a playlist that can provide hours of entertainment. Every one can enjoy the anticipation of hearing their favorite song.

7. Create an audiobook playlist.

Download your favorite classic book or stream from YouTube. This can be a great way encourage kids to read. This is one of the ways that I kept my sanity intact on my last trip to Alaska. If you don’t want to try YouTube, check Amazon.com or or search “free audio books to download” the next time online.

These tips will make Thanksgiving travel easier. Please leave any other suggestions that you may have in the comment section. It is a great way to take advantage of crowd-sourced knowledge. Another great way is to join us on Facebook to share more tips on surviving not just Thanksgiving travel, but any road trip with your sanity intact.