The holidays: the time to spend with family, catch up on the happenings of the past year and fill up on traditions and coveted family recipes. This time of year also comes standard with a lot of travel. If you’re gearing up for a family road trip, you’re not alone. The roads will likely be full of travelers these next few months. Don’t wait until you reach your destination to start enjoying your vacation! Follow these few tips to make your entire trip one to remember.

Prepare Your Vehicle

To make sure that your family excursion goes smoothly, you’re going to first want to make sure your vehicle is up for the trip. You can start by ensuring that the registration, inspection and maintenance are all current. If any of these things need to be taken care of, call to schedule your appointment with your mechanic as early as you can, to make sure you can get in in time without stressing.

Before actually hitting the road, make sure your tires have sufficient tread and are properly inflated, your battery terminals are clean and secure, all of your fluids are topped off, your headlights clean and working and your wipers aren’t due for a replacement. And of course, double check that your emergency kit is well stocked and ready to go with first aid supplies, a blanket, water, snacks, a flashlight, cat litter and a reflective triangle.

Prepare Your Route

Download an app like Waze or Google Maps which can give you real time updates on traffic and accidents or detours. Bringing a roadmap with you can certainly save the day if you find yourself in a service dead zone, and a phone charger will ensure you have access to emergency services in the unfortunate event that you need them. For route safety, it’s always a good idea to stick to higher traffic routes and avoid back roads that are less likely to be regularly salted and plowed if possible. And researching rest stops and gas stations ahead of time will save you from running out in the icy weather!

Prepare Your Family

Lastly, you’re going to want to make sure all of the riders are happy. Road trips are a great opportunity for family bonding, which can be rare in today’s tablet and cell phone world. The internet is full of road trip games like license plate bingo and The Movie Game, so prepare a list of games you’d like to try and print out the rules to each game to bring with you!

If you’re traveling with children, make sure they know the rules of the road trip so that they can remain accounted for and safe.

Enjoy your family visits this holiday season!