Prep Your Car
Most holiday travel is made by personal vehicle. In addition to winter weather conditions, the drives tend to me a lot longer. In order to reduce your risk of incident, make sure your vehicle is properly maintained.
Whether your trip is a long or short one, you don’t want a breakdown to ruin the holidays. Schedule a pre-trip tune-up to check your fluids, tires, battery, wipers, and everything else. Even if your maintenance is up-to-date, do a quick tire and fluids check at least a day in advance of the trip.
Here are some things you’ll want to check before hitting the road:
- Car Battery
- Tire Wear and Pressure
- Brake Pads
- Windshield Wipers
- Motor Oil, Coolant, and Other Fluids
- Emergency First-Aid Kit
- Load Capacity
Learn How to Jumpstart a Vehicle and Change a Tire
If your battery dies, it’s easy to jump-start it. All you need are some jumper cables and another vehicle, or you can do it yourself with a portable jump starter.
Portable jump starters are also great for recharging phones and other electronics. Some even have emergency radios, lights, 12-volt outlets, and air compressors. Don’t forget to charge your portable jump starter before the trip!
Additionally, it’s a good idea to double-check your spare tire before any road trip. To save time and impress your traveling companions, learn how to change a tire beforehand.
Enjoy the Moment
We’re not going to try to mislead you about holiday travel—it can be extremely stressful. However, you do have a lot of control and choice in the matter.
Instead of being all up in your head, worried about traffic, being late, anxieties, judgements, what-ifs, predictions, and the unremitting stress of work, family, and society, transform that anxiety into laughter and joy. You probably have family around you. Be sensitive to the present moment and enjoy it.
Nobody knows you better than yourself. Bring the things that will help make your time more enjoyable and less stressful. Whether that means noise-cancelling headphones, a good book/podcast, or comfy clothes, focus on the things that bring you and your companions happiness.
Make a List and Check It Twice
One of the best ways to reduce travel stress and enjoy the moment is by making a list and checking it twice.
Make a list of everything you need for the trip:
- Passport/Driver’s License
- Insurance Documents
- Phone/Phone Charger
- Laptop/Laptop Charger
- Clothing (Layers)
- Medication/First Air Kit
- Car Supplies
- Gifts and Presents
Pack whatever you can at least a day in advance of the trip. The last things you should pack are items like your toothbrush, phone, and wallet. This should be a separate “final” list of items. Place this list on top of your packed suitcase so you don’t forget anything.
In addition to your packing list, there should also be a household chores list—things like washing the dishes, taking the trash out, and making sure the iron isn’t plugged in. There’s nothing worse than coming home to a filthy, smelly home.
Don’t forget to look up the weather and bring plenty of cold-weather items. And if you promised, don’t forget your famous casserole or pie to do for.
Wake up early and get some coffee and a good bite to eat. Then, make sure the car is packed with everything for holiday trip, including these essential vehicle items. Double check your “final” list of items and household chores list. At last, leave in complete confidence and enjoy the trip.
Leave Early (or Late)
This is true no matter how you are traveling, but it’s especially true for drivers. Although most drivers try to leave early to “beat traffic,” many fail to achieve their goals. If you wake up early enough and already have everything packed the night before, you can beat the masses. Another option is to leave in the evening or night, however, if nighttime driving tends to be less safe.
You may also want to avoid the busiest travel days.
There are so many amazing Podcasts and audiobooks available at the press of a button that there should be no excuse of boredom during a long car trip.
If you don’t want to fight over every single song that gets chosen (that’s a lot of potential arguing and discomfort), choose long-form audio in the form of audiobooks or podcasts. Try to agree on what you will be listening to before the trip begins. Nothing’s worse than a road trip starting off on a bad note (pun intended) because you’re arguing about what to listen to.
Choose one of the following podcasts and you’ll be able to spark interesting conversations for the entire duration of the trip. Hopefully everyone will agree and nobody will be bored!
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