So many of us end up traveling to our loved one’s homes for the holidays – It is especially true for my family.  We’re lucky enough to have relatives throughout Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Florida, and Indianapolis.  Who doesn’t want to take advantage of the extra days off for the holidays to spend time with loved ones we’re unable to see as much as we like.

No matter where my family and I decide to go, we travel anywhere from 3 to 16 hours. This can also vary by the form of transportation we choose to use.  Since our traveling is well-documented, I’d like to share some of my own personal Thanksgiving travel tips. Hopefully it helps you find an ease in your travels this Thanksgiving.

Family Roadtrip or Na?

Who’s ready for a road trip?!  Me! My favorite way to travel (less than 12 hours) is by car.  When taking a road trip with your family I think it’s way less stressful versus 5 hours on a plane.  Keeping all of your children entertained (and at peace) in confinement with hundreds of people can create a little anxiety for a mother of three.  Being in your own vehicle makes it easier to cope with tantrums or exciting events that happen along the way – and planning ahead helps ease your travel and the chaos that comes with it.

What’s the Travel Game Plan, Mom?

My Thanksgiving travel tips begin by simply planning ahead.  Avoid the disaster of scrambling to get things done at the last minute.  Most of the time, I get started the weekend before. Here we go!

1. Dress and Pack Accordingly.

Set aside the types of outfits everyone would like to bring and correlate wardrobes with upcoming activities.  Check weather forecasts for the unexpected. Wear cold weather gear (hoodies and pants) so you can remove or add clothing when needed. Climate control can be your savior – so ensure your heating or cooling is on point!

2. Stash Some Snacks.

Take requests for food as everyone has their own taste.  Grocery shop for brain food and avoid foods with high sugar levels.  Remove snacks that can be sticky, greasy, or cheesy – and avoid cans and use bottles that reseal.  You can always stop for food – but avoid large meals unless time permits you to walk it off.

3. Choreograph the Entertainment.

First and foremost, don’t forget about entertaining yourself!  In addition, allow everyone to bring 1-3 items they determine they cannot do without.  Discuss unnecessary items like extra pillows, large blankets, stuffed animals and toys as there’s not much you can do inside a car.  Avoid bringing items like Play-doh and crayons as they can ruin the interior of your vehicle.  If you’re going to bring electronics, make sure everything is working and that there are enough power outlets for everyone.  Great ideas include engaging games, headphones, ways to watch movies or listen to podcasts, and crossword puzzles.  Share stories about past road trips in your life that might entertain some passengers along the way.

4. Map Your Route.

Locate additional routes that might be necessary due to bad weather, road construction, or other delays.  Circle interesting stops, landmarks, national parks, or scenic routes and research them before. (Host a history lesson!  Plan each stop for restroom and food breaks. (Deciding when and where to stop can be very time consuming.)  Take time to exhale when breaking from travel. Make sure you find ways to take your mind off the road ahead. Have fun!

5. Last but not least..

DON’T FORGET THE CAMERA! This will allow you to capture all the memories along the way!


Our trip to the Rocky Mountains made for some beautiful photos.


We cannot wait to go back and cool off this summer.


This is a photo of the Grand Canyon from our road trip last year.

In what ways are you traveling?

A road trip may end up taking longer than an airplane ride, but it may be well worth it in the end.  Think of your pros and cons when deciding which way to go.  For my family of 5 (almost 6) it is going to be a much better option for us financially.  Airfare is a lot more expensive around the holidays.  A round trip can easily set us back $2000 and that’s just for the flight. You also have to consider food and drink, or a rental car, or even hotel fares.

How can you budget for your trip?

I prefer to spend money on more exciting things, such as shopping, site seeing, and quality family time.  It really comes down to what works best for you and your family. How much time do you have? What is your budget? What is it that you want to do during your Thanksgiving travel?  It’s important to look at all your options ahead of time and choose the right one for you 🙂

I hope you found my blog on Thanksgiving Travel Tips useful for you, should you be taking a road trip this year.  Stay safe and have a very Happy Thanksgiving from Danielle Jacqueline Photography.  As always – Capturing Smiles, Styles, and Everything Worthwhile!