5 tips for Thanksgiving travel from a road trip pro

Traveling to a Thanksgiving celebration requires nearly as much planning and dedication to details as if you were hosting the event yourself. With a little creativity and a strong Boy Scout mindset, you can get through the trip without losing your holiday spirit. My family makes the annual pilgrimage each year and has the scars to prove it. Over the years we have learned several tips to surviving and thriving on our road trips. Learn from our experience!

Five tips for Thanksgiving travel from a road trip pro

Ignore tradition

Traditionally, turkey-destined travelers head out at on a fairly predictable schedule. Stop following the crowd and consider leaving either a day or two earlier to completely avoid the rush if you have that kind of flexibility, travel overnight, or even consider leaving later than the majority. This may have you missing an early afternoon meal, but you may be there just in time to enjoy pie and a considerably less stressed hostess. If you are from a flexible clan, you can even consider moving the Thanksgiving celebration to a completely different day!

Go old school

You may have the latest and greatest cell phone, but an "old-fashioned" CB can help provide up-to-the-minute practical information like nothing else. If cell phone service is not available, your nifty device can let you know if there is more to the stopped traffic than meets the eye, and give you information about alternate routes and even a little dose of entertainment along the way. Modern day truckers certainly use new technology, but have not abandoned their CB's and neither should Thanksgiving travelers.

Take advantage of technology

With that said, take advantage of all your electronic options. Satellite radio is a plus when traveling, but if you do not have this option, check out MyTravelTunes.com for a list of radio stations to enjoy along the way, as well as road conditions and local information. Laptops, MP3 players, DVD players and games can be a lifesaver for bored, cranky kids and provide a diversion if stranded for longer than anticipated.

Be prepared

As much as I like to travel light, holiday travel is a different story. The fact that November can bring a variety of weather conditions, plus the possibility of traffic coming to a complete halt at any point, makes stocking up a necessity. Keep a supply of emergency items in the trunk such as blankets, flashlights, towels, first aid kit, water and emergency food. Although we are headed out for a big holiday feast, having provisions in case the weather or fellow travelers keep my children and I from enjoying a meal as planned means they will be taken care of without having to pull off and lose our place in the caravan.

Being prepared also refers to your vehicle, so be sure it is ready for the road trip. Have it inspected, fuel up and carry necessary supplies in case of an emergency, from jumper cables to window washer fluid.

Listen to someone else

Audio books are my family's favorite form of on the road entertainment. We can all listen in and before you know it we are all transported to another world. The shared experience calls for choosing a book everyone in the family will enjoy. We have listened to many episodes of Adventures in Odyssey, classic novels and all the Junie B. Jones books on tape.

Be thankful for the opportunity to visit loved ones this holiday season, but on your way, try to enjoy the journey with the loved ones in your car.