We’ve all experienced it, screaming kids in the back seat, arguing parents in the front seat, soda spills, soggy diapers, unmanageable pit stops, and bumper to bumper traffic. Whether you’re driving with a group of rowdy college friends, toddlers, parents, restless teenagers, or all of the above; travelling during the holidays can be a headache. Here are five traveling tips that will help you reach your Thanksgiving destination without needing a straight jacket.

1. Leave Wednesday: To avoid Thanksgiving day traffic jams, plan to leave Wednesday morning. Or, if you have kids, try leaving Wednesday night when they are more likely to fall asleep in the car.

2. Bring a travel game: Tame your rowdy friends or terrible toddlers with some travel games. The License Plate Game is one of my favorites. Try to find each letter of the alphabet, in order, on passing plates. You will avoid the bickering that usually happens when kids fight over electronic devices or when buddies get a little too loud.

3. Pack healthy snacks: Avoid cranky, hungry children or unmanageable pit stops by packing food. Your friends won’t need to spend an hour in the gas station’s food mart and your children won’t throw a fit when you tell them “We are only an hour away to a Thanksgiving feast, just wait.” Instead, they will have handy, healthy snacks conveniently ready for them in the car.

4. Compromise the radio: If your friends, significant other, or children do not have the same music taste, take turns swapping playlists every 20 to 30 minutes. If your husband would rather listen to sports talk radio and you don’t, let him, for 20 to 30 minutes, then you can turn on your tunes of choice for the same amount of time.

5. Don’t have a talk you’ve been avoiding for weeks: Thanksgiving is about gratitude, not grudges. Leave conversations that may result in arguments for after the holiday. Save it for the ride home if it involves everyone in the car or for a moment when you and the other person involved is alone, especially if it is you and your husband’s argument. Do not involve the kids, it is their holiday too! If you have children, do not talk negatively about the Thanksgiving hosts. Children tend to inherit amazing verbal recall at holiday meals. Instead, use this time to have fun
conversations that normal daily schedules don’t leave time for. Use silly icebreakers like: What is on your bucket list? Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?

-Emily Freeman

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