The holiday season is upon us, and for millions of people, travel plans are in the works.
Last year, 98.6 million people traveled at least 50 miles during the holiday season, according to AAA. Included in that number are 89 percent who traveled by automobile — a 4.3-percent increase from the previous year.
With gas prices down across the country, an increase in trips is expected. With that increase come the joys (and woes) of travel.
There are many ways to inject enjoyment in those long hours in an automobile or plane. Here are ideas to make your holiday traveling easier.
Entertainment and snacks for kids
If young children are along for the ride, DVD players and an assortment of movies or shows or sing-alongs are a must. Don’t forget headphones for the children or you may have to listen to “Frozen” dialog for the 400th time. Other obvious choices are music devices with headphones and an assortment of books and small play sets that will keep the children occupied. “I’m hungry” will be often-heard cries from the backseat, so don’t forget the snacks and beverages. Mixing in some surprise snacks along with their regular favorites can promote calmness and patience; just don’t give them energy drinks and sugar-loaded candies!
Increase your mobile data plan
Two weeks after your holiday travel experience, you may get your cell phone bill and discover it is five times higher than normal. What happened? Maybe your travelers used a lot of data on your cell phone plan. Mobile phones, iPads, and similar electronic items are the most-used devices while traveling. With extended use come enormous data charges. Check with your wireless plan and make the necessary adjustments before your trip. Many unlimited data plans will pay off in the long run and not ruin your trip weeks after you return when the cellular bill arrives. Again, preserve your sanity by making sure that each device user has their own set of ear buds or headphones, and don’t forget the car chargers or batteries for those devices.
Take care of your body
During travel, the first few hours down the road or through the air you are usually feeling fine and then suddenly your back is hurting, your neck is stiff and your legs are cramping. Your comfort gets compromised after a few hours of travel unless you are prepared. Regular pillows, neck pillows, seat cushions, blankets and sunglasses can be saviors on long trips. How do you deal with cramping? Bananas, drinks high in electrolytes (Gatorade, etc.) and coconut water will do the trick. Getting out and stretching and moving around every few hours is also healthy. If you suffer from motion sickness, you may want to look into an over the counter motion sickness medication, a motion sickness wrist band or a prescription patch that may remedy your problem and save your trip.
Pack a cooler
You’ll never get there if you are stopping every 45 minutes for snacks, beverages or food. Packing a cooler can save time and money while providing healthy choices instead of the candy and snack counter at every stop. Now you can use rest areas for bathroom and stretching breaks instead of the ever enticing quick stop stores and gas stations.
Bonus idea: Download SnowCast app
Traveling to a place that has potential for snowfall? The E.W. Scripps Company's SnowCast app will tell you exactly how much snow to expect in the next 48 hours in an exact location. Download it here.