Healthy Dos & Don’ts Of Holiday Car Travel

Snow tireToday I’m going to talk about the non-glamorous topic of long distance family car travel. I don’t care how fabulous and roomy your vehicle is, if you don’t organize its contents, by the time you get to your destination it will look like a mix of frat house and hurricane bunker.

Each year, we take at least two trips up to Philadelphia from Charlotte around the holidays. Just me, Geoff, my 15 and 13-year-old step sons & our two-year-old son. The only thing missing is a male Golden Retriever. Through these tests of patience trips I’ve compiled a few Dos & Don’ts to make the journey easier.

DON’T: Assume It’s All Loaded

Forgetting something (like one of the boy’s suitcases) can escalate into an argument quickly. “But, I thought you packed it!” or “Why didn’t HE load it into the car; it’s HIS suitcase?” Prevent this by making a list of everything you are taking and make sure the entire list is checked off before pulling out of the driveway. We have the older boys make a rough list of their things: phone, tablet, headphones, chargers, suitcase, laptop, etc.

DO: Keep Your Essentials Close

Items you will be using during your trip need to be packed within arms reach. This sounds obvious, but there have been numerous times that the diaper bag, snacks  or device chargers were packed in the way back of the SUV, sandwiched between heavy luggage. Have essentials like tissues, paper towel, wipes and hand sanitizer readily accessible in multiple places in the vehicle. For example, I have Puffs SoftPack tissues in the front car door pocket and one in the back seat for the boys. It’s a full-sized amount of tissues in flexible packaging so it fits anywhere. Genius! Another must is hand-sanitizer that hooks on the seat or console. Always handy. I think I have four in the car.

Puffs Softpack is a full sized pack of tissues without the bulky box

 DON’T: Forget The Three Bs

Bags, Blankets, Baskets. Bags: Take a couple plastic grocery or white kitchen bags to hold trash throughout the trip or if someone gets car sick. At each restroom stop, make the kids pitch their trash. This has been a huge help! When they don’t, it piles up and by the time we get to our destination, everyone is tired and doesn’t want to take even five minutes to clean out the car. Blankets: You never know what could happen when traveling to the north. Have a bunch of emergency blankets in your vehicle. Basket: I like to put all of the wrapped presents we will be giving in a laundry basket for travel. Once we get to our family’s house, we then put the presents under the tree and use the laundry basket for our dirty clothes while at our in-laws. `

DO: Pack Healthy Snacks.

Eating healthy on the way to our destination sets the tone for my eating the entire vacation. If I eat junk, I feel like junk and continue to eat junk (weird how that works). Kind of like when you skip your workout for one day and then decide you won’t workout for two weeks.  Here are a few of my favorite healthy, natural and portable snacks to keep me on track.

healthy road snacks copy

1) Barbara’s Puffins Cereal (I just put in a baggie) 2) Glenny’s Easy Peasy Protein Chips 3). Perky Jerky. All natural, no nitrates or nitrites. I love. 4.) Kashi Bars 5.) Babybel Cheeses 6). Emerald Cinnamon Roast Almonds  7.) Bunny Luv Organic Carrots.  Stay away from anything that has a “gooey fruit filled center,” melts or requires a dipping sauce. All these terms are code words for upholstery stain. We usually pack Boars Head turkey sandwiches in a little cooler. However, sometimes I am out voted and the boys have Wendy’s. Whatever, I only have so much control. At their age I can only “guide.” At least we have healthy snacks for the rest of the trip.

DO: Download An Audio Book

The older boys, Geoff and I usually listen to an audio book via iTunes. This makes the time go much faster. We love mystery novels. I also feel like listening to an audio book is courtesy to Geoff when he’s driving. We are hanging out together instead of him driving while I have my nose buried in my phone.

DON’T: Forget The Headphones

This is if you don’t want to listen to Frozen, The Lego Movie or Wreck it Ralph for the thousandth time. The boys each have their headphones and it makes for a happy ride.

headphonesDo: Think Beyond the First Aid Kit:

A First Aid Kit is a must, but remember to have other medicines handy in your car like antacid, infant acetaminophen, infant saline spray drops, Benadryl, Pepto-Bismol as well as any dosage syringes or spoons if needed. I just keep all of ours in a clear gallon ziplock bag for easy access and a clear view.

Wishing everyone a zen holiday travel season…wherever the destination. Do you have any great holiday travel tips? Please let me know! I would love to hear them. We leave for Philly quite soon. xx CC

Disclosure: Puffs gave me the tissues to review, but my opinions are all my own:)


  1. Kit Price says

    Great ideas, Chelsea! Audio Books are the best! Love the idea of a family-sized box of tissues that doesn’t get all scrunched up in the car. Safe travels this Holiday Season!!

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