Traveling with kids over the holidays can feel like just another family obligation. But it doesn’t have to! These road trip tips will turn your annual holiday road trip to Grandma’s house into an opportunity for family memory making that will last for many holidays to come.

5 tips for holiday road trip

Holiday Road Trip Tips

  1. Give Your Trip a Name

  2. See the Same old Journey with New Eyes

  3. Create Your Own Games

  4. Be Your Own DJ

  5. Feature Holiday Road Trip Snacks


Celebrating Thanksgiving with multiple generations can mean long road trips to get together! Photo by Mary Heston, World Traveling Mom

Family Bonding on a Holiday Road Trip

Jeff Siegel, author of the 2011 book, RelationTrips: A Simple, Powerful Way to Bond with Your Loved Ones Through Personalized Road Trips, offered this advice for family bonding during holiday road trips in an interview with TravelingMom:

“Begin by thinking about it as much more than just ‘a trip.’  Instead, spend time together focusing on some of the RelationTrip staples, such as coming up with a theme for your trip, creating a custom name for your journey, designing a special logo, and researching sites, landmarks, friends and family that you’d like to weave into your itinerary.

“The important thing is that whatever you do during the planning stages, you do it together.  This helps build anticipation towards the trip and gets everyone involved long before your family leaves the driveway.”


Holiday road trip tips for winter driving.

Photo credit: Pixabay

5 Roads Trip Tips Made for Holidays

Try these five tips for transforming the annual ritual into a family memory:

  • See the journey with new eyes.  Sure, you do the same road trip every holiday, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Challenge kids to look for new landmarks along the way, take the time to stop at that “roadside marker” you’ve passed every year and always wondered about, or stop to eat at the little roadside restaurant you usually drive past but always wanted to try.
  • Name your holiday trip.  Weave in something relating to the holiday for which you are traveling, such as “Turkey in Detroit.”  Or consider including the family name, such as “The Douglas Family’s December to Remember!”
  • Get creative with games.  There’s nothing like a rousing chorus of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall or the license plate game to help pass the hours in the car.  Give the road trip games a holiday feel by playing “Guess My Favorite Present,” “Name That Christmas Tune,” “The Chanukah Memory Game” or “Quote that Holiday Movie.”
  • Be your own DJ.  Ask each family member to put together a playlist of their top ten holiday tunes. During the road trip, each member of the family gets a turn presenting their own countdown.
  • Have fun with holiday food.  While you are on the road, take a detour to a farm or market to gather ingredients for the meal.  Once you arrive, plan a food-themed activity such as visiting a turkey farm to “Pardon a Bird” or a local orchard for a sleigh ride and hot apple cider.

And, finally, always remember that when something goes wrong, it can be a good thing. What are your favorite family memories? Chances are they aren’t about the times when everything went right!

Do you have a tip for making road trip memories over the holidays? Share with us in the comment section below.

Planning a road trip over Thanksgiving, Christmas or another winter holiday? These 5 tips will make it more fun and help you build family memories.