Samantha Brown's Top Tips For Surviving Your Winter Holiday Road Trip

Flying during the holidays is not for the faint of heart. Winter weather can cause disastrous delays, and there are sure to be long security lines and airplanes packed to the brim with passengers. One way to avoid this scenario is to make the journey to your holiday destination with a road trip.

Road trips, which was popularized in America in the 1920s, offer a more personalized travel experience. You can enjoy scenic views and bond with your loved ones. Samantha Brown, host of "Samantha Brown's Places to Love," is a travel and road-trip expert. If you're planning to take a holiday road trip, she has some words of advice.

Brown writes on her website that you'll likely be on a strict schedule, trying to get where you need to be for the winter holidays. Traveling with kids can put you in an even worse time crunch. Brown suggests that you pack gifts before you buckle in the children. In addition, she says to be wary of the speed limit and refrain from speeding.

She urges, "Whatever safe speed you choose, using your cruise control will keep that lead foot of yours honest and keep you from driving any faster. Remember, the time you saved by speeding is all lost by being pulled over." But above all, Brown says that safety on the road comes first.

An efficient holiday road trip comes down to proper preparation

Before your holiday road trip, Samantha Brown says you should print a copy of your driving directions. Yes, even if you're using your phone's GPS. Brown notes that technology is fallible and it's better to be safe than sorry, especially if you're unfamiliar with your route. You could lose signal, or worse, your phone could crash. Whatever the case, you want to make sure you have a backup for getting to your destination if your technology fails.

Similarly, Brown says you should always check the weather before entering your vehicle and driving off. You don't want to make a dangerous mistake and end up in poor weather conditions. 

Brown warns, "During the winter, and especially at higher altitudes, not knowing the weather could cause delays. Enter a city for every leg of your trip so you'll have an idea of where you might bump into trouble. If you need to change your route, doing it before you leave will give you the best chance for an uneventful trip."

Moreover, Brown says that splitting the drive with someone is best. However, she explains that the driver and co-pilot should have a pre-road-trip discussion. This ensures that they are both on the same page regarding things like sleep schedules and music selection, among other things.

Think about what you're eating and drinking

While on the road, it can be tempting to stop and eat fast food for every meal. Besides adding time to your road trip and being bad for your health, fast food could cause you to feel tired. Needless to say, this is the last thing you want if you're the one driving during your holiday road trip. To avoid this, Samatha Brown says to bring food — noting that her go-to road trip meal is a sandwich. Furthermore, Brown says that, for obvious reasons, you should refrain from drinking too many liquids on the road.

She explains, "Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't drink at all. I'm just saying you should limit your fluid intake enough to be able to stay alert and not be uncomfortable. Having a couple of pieces of hard candy in the car can go a long way to keeping you from feeling thirsty."

If you are traveling with children or pets and frequent bathroom stops are a concern, Brown recommends driving to your destination at night. As she put it, "There is less traffic, and the bladders of the smaller passengers (kids, dogs, cats, etc.) are already conditioned to 'hold it' overnight."

So plan ahead and make the best use of your limited time to guarantee your holiday road trip is one you and your family will never forget.