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Top Holiday Travel Tips from Rand McNally Visitors & Editors

Rand McNally’s Top Holiday Travel Tips

We asked frequent travelers and Rand McNally visitors to tell us some of their secrets to surviving holiday travel. Here they share their stories and lend us their top tips:

Our family of six saves money on road-trips by bringing water, juice, and soda along in the car. Then when we drive-through for fast-food (also a money and time reducer) we don’t have the extra drink costs and save between $6-$10 on each meal.
— Lynette Kittle, Mother of four daughters Colorado Springs, CO

A purse sized spray bottle filled with alcohol can be used for sanitizing hands, spraying and wiping down surfaces before eating, and even for cleaning public toilets before using them.
— Tangela Walker-Craft – Tampa Bay/Lakeland Parenting Examiner

Stop at grocery stores for meals rather than restaurants.
— Rand McNally Editors

Ask hotels to empty mini-bar fridges so you can use it for your own food and not worry about accidentally paying $9 for M&Ms and a bottle of water.
— Rand McNally Editors

Bring de-icer with. If you get into bad weather, you’re not stuck looking for it. And at night, put some on your windows & door locks – if it ices over night you’ve got a fraction of the issue.
— Rori Paul of RoriTravel’s Florida.

Map it out. Don’t depend solely on GPS, pack maps or printed directions as backup in case the GPS goes on the fritz.
— Katie Denman

When I was younger, every year for Christmas Eve we would have to drive from Duluth MN to my grandparents farm in St. Peter MN. We all dreaded the drive, including my parents. So to make our trip worth it, my mother would pack one of the best presents for each of my brothers and sisters and give it to us halfway through the trip. That way, we would spend the first few hours speculating on what the present was and then for the second half we would be tinkering with our new toy. It worked! It made the trip to a farm in southern MN worth it.
— Chelsey A. Johnson , College Student at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Another fun activity is coming up with a game where everyone in the car knows the rules except for one person and then force them to figure out the one rule to the game. An example of this is to say, name things beginning with letters of each persons name and making the other person guess what the rule is.
Brian Murrell, College Student from University of Minnesota

We like to go geocaching along the route, just to stretch our legs every once in a while. There are small caches hidden in light posts at service plazas and in guardrails at park-and-ride lots, but sometimes we’ll get off the interstate entirely to hunt for more difficult caches in parks and
wooded areas.

Some of the most tedious drives can be helped by a well-placed series of caches. Taking 95 all the way across Connecticut is a drag at the best of times, so we were glad to find a “solar system” series. With the sun at the border with New York and Pluto at the border with Rhode Island, the other planets are located to scale.

You might also find a Travel Bug in a cache, and if it’s going your way, you can pick it up and take it a few miles closer to its goal.
— Sarah Anderson, a music librarian, has a 24-mile round-trip commute, but put more than 16,000 miles on her car in 2010, much of it on 95.

The removable plastic receptacle from most potty chairs can be cleaned up and taken along in a plastic bag; kids can sit directly on their own pot in emergency bathroom situations.
— Tangela Walker-Craft – Tampa Bay/Lakeland Parenting Examiner

An iPod, or ideally iPad, is absolutely essential for long distance drives with kids. Filled with their favorite music, movies and free podcasts (Storynory is excellent for kids under 9) and armed with 10 hours of battery life, you’re more likely to hear “Are we there already?”
— Rand McNally Editors