With the holiday weekend approaching, many of us look forward to visiting our families and friends. For a lot of people, that means packing up the car and committing to a drive. The problem is, during the holidays, traveling can become a nightmare.
There is nothing more frustrating than finally getting the family out the door, only to be hit by lane to lane traffic for what seems like an eternity (especially if you’re travelling with a child). As you crawl along the asphalt wondering how far this slow down could stretch (it’s always farther than you think possible), you may start to question, why am I doing this again? You know the answer to that: it’s the holidays, and just like everyone else on the road you want to be close to your favourite people.
Despite the traffic, many of us find ourselves on the road during holiday weekends. While you can’t predict every little traffic build up, if you take some time to prepare a ‘travel plan’ before you leave, you will hopefully have an easier trip.
Here are some tips to make holiday driving a little more bearable:
1) This may seem like a no brainer, but one of the most helpful things you can do is to leave early! Especially on a holiday weekend, you are going to want to give yourself a lot more time than you might originally think necessary to travel. Depending on how busy your typical route is, you can adjust how much extra time you might need. For example, if you have a long drive through busy city highways, you may want to give yourself more time than if you are travelling through smaller (or quieter) cities.
2) Another way to combat that holiday traffic, is to plan alternate routes (yes, multiple, because you never know). There is almost always a way around using major highways, opting for rural roads instead. This may seem like a hassle, but if you’ve ever been stuck in bumper to bumper traffic in an unfamiliar area, than you know how valuable having a back up plan can be. Avoiding the major roads can be key to getting where you need to go on time, even if it is the scenic route. If you have a hands free device, Google maps and other navigation systems are able to provide a variety of different routes that could offer a way around a busy highway.
3) Prepare for your in-car experience before you head out of the road. Top up on gas, make sure other passengers get their coffee, snacks, or whatever they may want on the drive, before you leave town. Don’t wait until you get to a travel stop, because it’s going to be busy (and probably more expensive)!
4) Listen to the radio rather than your own music in the car. Nowadays, most people just plug their own music devices into their car for tunes while on the road, instead of listening to the radio. After all, why would you choose that over the music you love? Well, there is one big reason as to why you might want to opt for the radio over your iPod this holiday weekend: traffic updates. Most major radio stations (if not all) have frequent traffic updates about their local and surrounding area, which could play a huge part in helping you decide whether or not you need to use your alternate route.
5) Lastly, if you are travelling with young children, make sure they have everything they might need within reach of them (or another passenger) before everyone is buckled in and you hit the road. Snacks, juice, toys, a movie that can be thrown on, whatever they might need. You may think that packing so much into the car is unreasonable, especially if your drive is only a couple of hours. What’s worse is an impatient toddler in the back seat, that doesn’t understand why the car riding is taking so long. Make sure there is plenty to occupy their time when they get restless, and you should hopefully have a quieter, less stressful trip.
Happy Travels! Stay safe (and sane!)