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7 Tips for Happy and Safe Family Road Trips

Every holiday we  pack up the car and hit the road to visit family. Most people dread this type of travel, but I say embrace it! Packing up the car and hitting the open road can be a perfect opportunity to bond with your family. Take along these tips and make it a happy and safe family holiday road trip.

Family Road Trip Tips

Thanks to Autotrader for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

Happy and Safe Family Holiday Road Trip Tips

Check your vehicles vitals

You want to check your tire pressure and make sure you are up to date on your oil change. Check the wiper fluids in the front and the back too! Whenever we go on a big road trip I always clean the car. It can be a hassle and another thing on my to-do list, but I am always happy when it is done.

Check conditions and know your route

Before you leave, check the weather and plan your day around that. If possible, you want to leave and arrive before a big snow or rain storm hits.  A little planning can go a long way in making your drive easier. Also check your maps and GPS (apps that report traffic are great too) and plan the best route for the trip. If your trip is long, think about where you may stop along the way. Taking breaks is good for the driver and the family.

Happy and Healthy Family Road Trip Tips

We made sure to avoid a rain storm before our drive to New Hampshire to visit relatives.

Safety First

Always wear a seat belt and check that your children are wearing them too. If you have car seats, make sure they are properly installed. Many fire departments will do this for free. Remember to bring your phone charger in case of emergencies. Never talk or text on your cell phone. It is incredibly dangerous. Stop at a rest stop or have a passenger help with your calls. It is always more important to be safe on the road then answer a text. Follow all state traffic and speed laws. Remember to designate a driver if you will be drinking.

Pack snacks

Snacks are important for two reasons during the holidays. First, it helps to keep the kids happy. I always pack a special treat to share when the drive gets a little tougher. Second, it is good to have food for unexpected circumstances.  You can never predict when weather or traffic will slow down your trip.  We like to pack trail mix, bananas and apples, granola and cereal bars, and pretzels.  I also bring bottles of water and cups for the snacks. For extra long drives I like to bring candy or cookies.  The special treat is sometimes all they need to make it through the last hour of the drive.

Happy and Healthy Family Road Trip Tips

My daughter gives a thumbs up on the pre-trip snack and entertainment check. Click Seatbelt and add headphones and we are ready to go!


Don’t forget about entertaining the kids. Pack books, movies, and age-apporpriate electronics. I remind my kids to select and download their movies the night before we travel. When they were younger, I would pick up sticker books and notebooks to surprise them during the drive.  They love to draw and write about our trips.  We also like to listen to our favorite books on CD. The Harry Potter series is our go-to collection.


It is the holidays, but save the fancy clothes for when you arrive or stop at a rest stop and change.  Dress in your comfortable clothes. Let the kids wear their pajamas. An uncomfortable child can make the car ride feel like forever. Let them wear what they want. My kids like to pack their favorite blanket and pillow for long drives to keep them comfortable.

Happy and Healthy Family Road Trip Tips

The best part is getting there. My kids are excited to get out of the car.

Expect the Unexpected

Before I leave I try to think of the unexpected and pack a backpack of things we might need. This typically includes a change of clothes for everyone, cleaning wipes, plastic bags, paper towels, etc. My son is prone to motion sickness so having these items has been essential!!

7 Tips for Happy and Safe Family Road Trips

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  1. I simply loved all your tips and gonna implement some of them in my nest road trip. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Love the tips, we love road trips!! Your kids are so cute! 🙂

  3. dawn says:

    thanks for the tips. i love taking road trips. always so much fun.

  4. Jocely Brown says:

    Interesting tips. My family likes to travel often. I will prepare snacks next time we go on a road trip.

  5. I love all your tips here! My kids love traveling too! They really enjoy road trips, just make sure they have snacks!

  6. I am like you, I love road trip! It is all about being prepared.

  7. Ashleigh says:

    We are heading out for a road trip next week–so exited! One of my kiddos gets car sick too, that change of clothes is essential! Great tips!

  8. These are great tips. A road trip is so much fun, but only if you’re prepared! Loved your post!

  9. Kristin says:

    Great tips! We spend a lot of time here in social in the car.

  10. Oriana Romero says:

    Getting your car checked out before a trip is a smart idea. I hate surprises when you are on the road.

  11. Tammi Roy says:

    I always pack a lot of snacks and entertainment when we go on a road trip. We have a few games we like to play in the car to help pass the time.

  12. Ann Bacciaglia says:

    I love to go on road trips. I always get the car serviced before we go anywhere.

  13. Checking your car’s vitals is so important. I was headed to Miami to catch a cruise last year and I asked my husband to check my car before I left. Good thing he did. I had a tire that was about to blow out on the inside. I would have been in big trouble if that tire had blown while I was on the road. That is really good information.

  14. Reesa Lewandowski says:

    We don’t travel around the holidays, but these are great reminders for anytime of the year! I always fail to be prepared honestly!

  15. Amy Desrosiers says:

    I am so thankful that I do not have to travel during this holiday season. I know a ton of people who will be but none of my close family will be.

  16. Nicole says:

    I love your snack basket! It’s a cute one. Making sure we have all the snacks we need for the kids is right up there with filling up the car with gas for a trip. LOL Thanks for all the great road trip tips, definitely useful to me especially at the holiday travel time.

  17. Jennifer says:

    These are great reminders! We just got back from a roadtrip yesterday and I agree – snacks are definitely a very important part…along with expecting the unexpected (for us that was 2 1/2 hours of traffic on the way home).

  18. These are great tips. A road trip is so much fun, but only if you’ve got all your ducks in a row.

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