Driving home for the holidays means battling one of the busiest times of year out on the roads. Depending on where you are driving, the weather may also play a role in your adventure. For instance, let’s say it snows, or you get caught in a torrential downpour that causes a major freeway backup. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen, but by adhering the following tips for driving home for the holidays, you can enjoy a better experience out on the road no matter what.
Let’s get your holiday road trip off to a great start!
1. Try to Avoid Driving on the Busiest Days of the Year
If you have some flexibility for your holiday road trip dates, try to avoid the busiest days of the year. According to AAA, over 93 million people travel between Christmas and New Year’s, causing 23% more traffic than usual. No matter what day a holiday falls on, weekends remain the busiest time of all.
AAA estimates that around 90% of the 44 million people traveling during the week of Thanksgiving do so by car. Interestingly, trends show heavier traffic on Thanksgiving Day than the day that precedes it.
The other busiest holidays out on the road include:
- Fourth of July
- Memorial Day Weekend
- Labor Day Weekend
2. Bring Tire Chains if There’s Chance of Snow
If driving home for the holidays includes passing through potentially snow-covered cities, don’t forget to pack tire chains. Snow chains are affixed to tires to increase traction when traveling over snow or ice. Some stores even allow you to return them if they are unused and still in the box, so it’s best to invest in them just in case.
3. Know Where You’re Going
Look up directions and plan your route before you take off. We recommend taking a screen shot of instructions on your phone in case you lose Internet service. Bring a paper map too, just in case technology lets you down—as it often does, and at the worst possible times.
4. Leave Earlier Than You Think Necessary
There’s going to be a lot more traffic on the road during this time of year. Plan accordingly by giving yourself more than enough time to get there. Try and plan so that even if you spend half your day stuck in traffic you’ll still make it in time for your mom’s famous apple pie.
5. Keep an Emergency Kit in the Trunk
You never what’s going to happen along the way, so why not be prepared for anything? Some important things to pack include:
- A shovel
- Ice scraper
- Extra phone charges
- Boots, extra socks
- Extra food and water
- First-aid supplies (bandages, ointments, etc.)
6. Have Your Vehicle Inspected Before You Leave
Even if you’re a good 200 miles away from your next service date, don’t wait until after your holiday road trip to have your vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic. Take care of repairs before you leave to prevent car troubles on the road. No one wants to end up stuck on the side of the road instead of spending the holidays with their family.
7. Don’t Forget to Breathe, Relax & Enjoy the Journey
Road rage incidents tend to go up during the holidays. Don’t let the stress get the best of you. If someone honks or flips you the bird, ignore them and focus on the fact that the holidays are supposed to be fun and carefree. If the pressure of making it on time, being stuck in traffic, or navigating slick roads starts to make your chest tighten, pull over and take a few deep breaths. Maybe even hum a little holiday tune, whatever it takes to get you back in the spirit of the season and as far away from the Grinch as possible.
8. Pack More Presents + Fun with the Cargo Hitch Carrier
More presents for your family? Yes please! What about ice fishing equipment, hunting gear, or other gear that’s near and dear to your fun? The only problem is having enough room in your car for everything you want to bring along. But, what if you had 500 additional pounds of storage space on a convenient 60” x 24” platform that easily attached to your vehicle? The Cargo Hitch Carrier offers just! Finally, you can bring more gear (or beer) than ever before. Go ahead, see why so many adventurers are obsessing. Be sure to keep your presents dry with the cargo hitch carrier bag.