The December holidays are a perfect time for a family road trip. Take those vacation days and go and explore what this great nation has to offer. But before you do, here are some tips and tricks for your holiday road trip:

Before Your Trip

  • Have your car inspected before you hit the road! Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained and your car and tires are in perfect condition for a long drive. You should also invest in some de-icing spray/washer fluid. You can spray it directly onto your windows to melt the ice or you can fill up your car with washer fluid specially designed for “freezing temperatures”. That way you can spray it onto your windshield as you drive to melt the ice and snow.
  • Prepare for your trip by mapping your route in advance and be prepared for busy roads during the most popular times of the year. Compare your cars GPS route with routes from Google maps and other maps to choose the best possible route for your trip. Also if possible, consider leaving earlier or later to avoid heavy traffic.
  • If you’re traveling with children, remind them not to talk to strangers. Go with them on bathroom breaks and give them whistles to be used only if the family gets separated. Also let them know what is in store for them and reassure them how much fun they are going to have. Family road trips are about being together and having a good time. Make sure to prepare games and activities to keep the kids entertained.

Things to Bring

  • All-in-one car emergency kit: Get all you need in one kit Instead of trying to remember all the different things you might need in case of an emergency. You can go to an auto supply store and buy an all-in-one kit. These kits come with jumper cables, flashlights, batteries, even a rain poncho and a first aid kit. All of these things can come in very handy if something was to happen and you were stuck on the side of the road.
  • Portable backup battery: iPads, smartphones, and all things electronic help your passengers pass the time on the road. So you don’t have to fight over the one charger, invest in a portable backup battery. A portable backup battery can be plugged into the wall and charged up before you leave. Charge your device on the road without needing to plug anything in. You can also look into solar powered chargers; all you’ll need is some sunlight!
  • Low-salt snacks: Salt makes you thirsty, so you drink more water, and that means more bathroom stops—which is not fun in the cold wintry weather. So stay away from those salty snacks during a road trip, especially if traveling with children. Good options for low-salt snacks include granola bars, fruit snacks, string cheese and fruit. These options are sure to keep everyone satisfied until you can stop to have a full meal.
  • Emergency supplies: In case of a real emergency where you’re stuck on the side of the road, you should pack blankets and make sure you have flares. For those who want to be prepared for the most extreme situations, another cool gadget is a hand-cranked radio or hand-cranked smartphone charger. If all else fails, you can turn it with your hand and get a little juice to make an emergency call.
  • Kitty litter: You might not know of this helpful trick but kitty litter is great for adding helpful traction. If you get stuck in snow or ice, it’s good to have a large bag of kitty litter in the trunk. Lay it down in front of the wheels if you have front-wheel drive, or behind the tires if you have rear-wheel drive; it’ll give you that traction you need so you can get out.

All of these tips and tricks are sure to prepare you for a fun and safe road trip. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so make sure to prepare yourself in every way possible before getting into that car and taking off on that long cruise around the states.