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Holiday Road Trip Tips #kiaholidays

The holidays are upon us, and that means a lot of traveling. Some traveling is local: quick trips to the grocery store to get food for holiday meals, appetizers for parties, ingredients for sweet treat you are baking for gifts. Some traveling is more involved.  For many, celebrating the holidays means hopping in the car for an extended trip to be with loved ones.

Road-tripping can be fun, but involves some planning and preparing. This is especially true if you have kids. Embarking on a road trip with kids, however long it is, without a plan in place is asking for trouble!  One of the most important things to plan is the packing. No, we don’t mean the outfits you’ll be wearing. Rather, the items you’ll need on hand in the car for a successful (and pleasant) road trip.

Here are our Top 5 Road Trip Essentials:


Nothing ruins a car trip faster than getting lost. Don’t let pride get in the way this holiday season. Make sure you have a quality GPS that is updated and loaded with all the information you need to get you to your destination. It doesn’t hurt to make sure the GPS service on your phone is ready in case your on-hand GPS fails.  Also? Throw in a few paper maps as a back up!


Food is a basic need which needs to be met.  Plot out good rest stops or restaurants that you’ll pass around meal times. Make sure to stop and refuel (your body and your car). Food stops are a good place to stretch your legs and move around as well. You don’t want a cranky driver or cranky kids, so consider keeping a stocked snack bag in the car. Fill snack-sized zip-top baggies with trail mix, pretzels, cheese snack crackers, almonds, popcorn and other healthy munchies. If you have a cooler, throw in some water bottles, apples or grapes, hardboiled eggs and string cheese for protein.


Keep everyone entertained!  Create a few mixes on your mp3 player, making sure to hit everyone’s favorite musicians. Pack a book to pass the time. If you have a portable DVD player, grab your family’s favorite movies to enjoy together. Don’t forget fun (and free!) games like The License Plate Game and I Spy!


This may be a no-brainer for some, but it’s often overlooked (and at the most inconvenient of moments). Break a $20 bill into $5 bills, $1 bills and quarters. We are often surprised by the need for change on road trips, whether it be an unexpected toll or parking meters. It is frustrating to  frantically search for money in these high pressure situations. So save your self the stress and keep change on hand in the car.

First Aid Kit

It seems you never think you need a first aid kit until you need one. And hopefully you never will! But the best mantra to live by on a road trip is to Expect the Unexpected! Take a gallon-sized zip-top plastic bag or shoebox and fill it with bandages, hand sanitizer, Tylenol or Ibruprofen, anti-histamine, antibiotic ointment and gauze. Best to be prepared, shove it in the trunk and hope you’ll never have to use it!

How do you prepare for holiday road trips? What items would you add to the list?

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