The Consummate Traveler: Holiday Road Trip Reminders

December 5, 2013 Updated: December 5, 2013

It finally feels like the Holiday season to me. Just today, the first snowflakes fell in my neighborhood, and my colleagues began to write Happy Holiday emails to one another. One of the best parts of this time of year is no doubt reconnecting with family and friends. This brings to mind a typical scene that began here in the United States last week with Thanksgiving—the family road trip!

Perhaps you can all recall fond memories of cars stuffed with food, kids, and presents hitting the road for a long journey to visit someone dear. The weather here in the Northeast has been known for being cold and sometimes stormy. This fact made me think of some important reminders for those traveling by road in the coming weeks during the height of the season.

1. Take it slow – With or without slick weather conditions, it is always a good idea to take your time reaching your destination. It is not a car race after all. Remember to respect speed limit rules, be kind to your fellow road warriors, and keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. These things seem to be obvious, but driving on the road these days, it is clear to me that many need a refresher in this subject.

2. Consider leaving at “off peak” times – If you have a particularly long journey, leaving early in the morning (4 am – 6 am) or later in the evening (10 pm – 12 pm) may help you avoid heavy traffic jams into and out of major city hubs. If you have younger children, this may also be helpful to Mom and Dad, as they may sleep through much of your trip.

3. Check tires – Something I don’t do regularly enough is to have my tire pressure checked before taking a long car ride. I would also suggest checking to see if there are any objects stuck in the tire treads (nails, glass) and that all of the tire bolts are tight on each wheel. I have a personal story to share on this. Several years ago, my family and I were driving to Raleigh, N.C., to spend Thanksgiving with my sister. Somewhere on a major highway the rear tire of my brother’s truck came off, while we traveled at a high speed in the middle lane. Through some heavenly miracle, we were able to pull over safely and even recovered the tire. It was all due to loose lug nuts holding the tire in place. Check them please!

4. Pack blankets and food/water – If you will travel on any stretch of road in more remote locations, you never know if you will ever face a car breakdown. Therefore, it is always best to be prepared. Pack at least two heavy blankets per person and always keep some food and water inside your car (not trunk it will freeze) in case you need to wait a bit for help to arrive.

As always, I wish you all the happiest of travels!