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Thanksgiving season is one of the busiest travel times of the year, but that doesn’t mean it has to be stressful. Between stuffing suitcases, steaming vegetables and spending time with the family, getting from A to B should be the least of your concerns. Once your car is clean and prepped for autumn, all that’s left to do is pack it up and hit the road. With these tips from your Caliber Collision team, traveling with your family—and your food—will be easy as pie.

Cook Wisely: If you are able to volunteer which foods you bring to the party, consider choosing options optimal for travel. That means avoiding messy sauces, thick casseroles and glass containers when it comes time to start your road trip. No matter which dishes you choose to prepare, make sure you seal them in airtight containers. Finally, save any last-minute touches such as frosting cupcakes or plating vegetables for when you arrive and always keep dishes refrigerated (as needed) with coolers and temperature-keeping packaging.

Guard the Ground: Between muddy sneakers, road trip snacks and the potential for side-dish spillage, protecting your car’s floors before you start out on your journey can be a lifesaver in the long run. Weather-proof floor mats are perfect for protecting your carpet from all conditions—including cranberry sauce storms and ranch dressing rain. The right guards can be easily lifted, washed and replaced back into the car, making your Turkey Day travel a touchdown.

Anticipate Everything: Being prepared is important year-round, but it’s during the holidays that having a plan really pays off.

  • Plan out your route and stops ahead of time using traffic-finding apps and travel maps
  • Look up the weather ahead of time to prepare for any storms, wind or adverse conditions
  • Refresh yourself on car maintenance (such as changing a flat tire or jumpstarting your battery) to save yourself from any travel-day surprises.

While the holiday season may be full of unexpected moments, your road trip shouldn’t be one of them.

Stuff the Trunk: Use the large open space in the trunk for bigger items such as suitcases, coolers, totes and large bins. The tighter the fit, the more secure the items are held in place. If you have smaller containers, try to consolidate them in to one larger bin that can be sealed and tucked into the open space. If you need to travel with glassware, make sure it is insulated or place it on the floor of the back seat. For uneven items such as turkeys or ham, don’t be afraid to buckle their container into the seat to prevent the main course from going off course.

By preparing for holiday road trips ahead of time, you can keep your focus on what really matters: spending time with friends and family. And, while you can usually prevent food spillage and unexpected detours, some roadside surprises are harder to avoid than others. If you find your journey derailed by a collision, remember that your family here at Caliber Collision is here, Restoring the Rhythm of Your Life®.