Going on a Holiday Road Trip With Family? Here's How Not to Murder Everyone in the Car

Going on a Holiday Road Trip With Family? Here's How Not to Murder Everyone in the Car


By Marianne Garvey

Love my husband, love my brother-in-law. Thankfully, hanging out with them together is usually a treat. But put us in a car from New York City, where we all live, to their hometown of Pittsburgh together, and anyone can get annoying. For instance, my husband putting football on satellite radio for hours and hours and hours? Love you, don’t ever change. Except the channel when football is on.

Here are some simple rules that’ll save you a major headache while on the road with family.

1. Rent a great car (if you don’t already own one)

We had plenty of room in our Cadillac XT5 — with two tall boys and myself (who suffers from extreme motion sickness in the back and MUST sit shotgun, although no one believes me) there was plenty of room for everyone to relax comfortably. Plus, we had heated seats, leather everything interior, a giant moonroof, Wi-Fi in the car!, SiriusXM satellite radio, and a full tank of gas to get us there in style.

2. Howard Stern (or whatever floats your boat)

One person cannot hog the radio, please, thank you. A diehard Howard fan, I tuned in on the ride there, and of course everyone enjoyed some #Bababooey tickling their earholes. That meant on the ride home, I was forced to listen to the Ohio State football game on SiriusXM. Fair is fair.

3. Mmm, snacks

We had a dozen bottles of Poland Spring for the trip, smart move, everyone was thirsty; just make sure your driver is down to stop if you need to pee. We also packed a bag of chips, granola, apples, bananas, and beef jerky (for the boys) which of course, smelled up the car. Thank God for the moonroof.

4. Stops

As above, make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to rest stops. You can't ask to stop at every single one. Luckily, my brother-in-law knew the route well, so would give a head’s up as to what was coming up, and we could decide whether we wanted to/had to stop for food or the restroom. We stretched our legs twice each way at stops easy to pull off at, which offered prime people watching, too.

5. Sense when people don’t feel like talking

We had good conversation about everything from the latest news to our families, and everyone joined in. When it was time to quiet down, we all sensed it, and turned up the radio. Feel free to tell someone in the car politely to shut it for everyone’s peace of mind if they are just trying to fill the silence.

6. Check on the driver

Tired? Hungry? Need gas? See how they are feeling and if they want someone else to take the wheel for a bit. 

7. Stop somewhere you ordinarily wouldn’t

Oh, like when the boys took the vegetarian (me) to a hunting shop the size of a football field named Cabela’s, where I perused guns, ammo, real stuffed bears, and camo until I could take it no more and ran screaming from the premises (after I peed twice). Interesting, though.

8. Don’t flip out in traffic

On the return trip, there was bumper-to-bumper traffic entering the Lincoln Tunnel, and everyone was exhausted by that point. But, stay cool, you’re close to home, you’ll get there. You're all on the same team.

9. Laugh

Talk smack about your family, signal the truck drivers alongside you to honk the horn. You know, have actual fun.

10. Return the car the following day if you can

No one wants to deal with bringing a car back in Manhattan or driving home from a rental lot after a long road trip. Park in a garage and return it early the next day if you can deal with the garage fee. 

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