If you read this blog regularly, you know two things that I really love are cooking and travel.

Strangely enough, one of the things I love about cooking is that you can either follow a recipe or make it up as you go. The same is true of travel – you can follow a road map or guidebook and plan a great trip, or you can make it up as you go along. Either way, you can have a great trip.

Whatever your travel style may be, here are some “recipe” tips and ideas to help or inspire your next holiday road trip.

The Perfect Holiday Roadtrip Recipe

Heaping Scoop of Great Company

This is the most important part of any road trip. A ride like this provides a great chance to talk and get connected, but not a great time to repair broken relationships or hash out old arguments.

The Perfect Holiday Roadtrip Recipe

If you don’t get along with your sister or cousin, it’s probably best not to plan on being stuck in a car for several hours with her. At the same rate, if you would love to spend more time with a loved one, a road trip is a great alternative!

Heaping Scoops of Being Prepared

Make sure to check the weather forecast before you hit the road. You don’t want to be caught off guard by a winter storm or road closures in the middle of your trip. If the weather doesn’t look great, that doesn’t mean you have to cancel, either. Equip your vehicle with blankets, booster cables, flares, a flashlight, hand warmers, and a window scraper.

The Perfect Holiday Roadtrip Recipe

In addition, plastic bags for garbage, paper towels for spills, and an extra charger for your cell phone are to smart to have on-hand as well. You’ll be glad you did, especially in the event of an emergency.

Mix with Snacks and Distractions of Your Choice

Usually, I don’t like anyone eating in the car, but for road trips, it can actually add to the fun. Some people can read in a car, but for a lot of people reading or looking at screens is a one-way ticket to car sickness. If your kids have trouble looking at things in the car, make sure to plan some fun games or conversation starters and music! 

The Perfect Holiday Roadtrip Recipe

Add a Dash of Adventure

When you’re traveling for the holidays, it can be tempting to just get where you’re going, but the most memorable parts of most trips are the least expected. Have you ever noticed a quirky roadside attraction on the way to Grandma’s? Why not check it out? Is there a non-chain restaurant just off the highway?

The Perfect Holiday Roadtrip Recipe

Give them a try instead of your usual lunch spot! Even if it happens to be the worst food you’ve ever eaten, you’ll never forget the unscripted decision to do it.

What are your essential ingredients for a great road trip? Share your thoughts in the comments!

In the meantime, get more holiday road trip tips from Autotrader, who gives you control of the car buying process and make finding a vehicle easier than ever before.

Happy Holidays!