Packing the Car for a Holiday Road Trip


As the holiday season approaches, what could be more delightful than embarking on a festive road trip in the enchanting Washington DC area? Picture yourself cruising through streets adorned with twinkling lights, exploring hidden gems, and immersing yourself in the holiday spirit. To make your journey smooth and joyful, careful packing is essential. Here’s a guide to ensure your holiday road trip is as merry and stress-free as can be!

Plan for the Weather: The Washington DC area experiences varying weather conditions during the holiday season. Pack warm clothing, gloves, and blankets to stay cozy during chilly nights and potentially snowy days.  We’ve had winters with 10 inches of snow on Christmas and some years where it hit nearly 60 degrees, so plan accordingly. 

Safety Essentials: Before loading up on holiday treats, prioritize safety. Make sure your car has a spare tire, jack, jumper cables, and a first-aid kit. An emergency roadside kit with flashlights, batteries, and basic tools is a must for unexpected situations.  That being said, at Overdrive we inspect our vehicles before and after every single trip so you are sure to be in safe hands renting with us. 

Delightful Snacks and Refreshing Drinks: No road trip is complete without delicious treats. Pack a mix of homemade cookies, savory snacks, and beverages to keep everyone in high spirits.  We highly recommend stopping off at a local store and grabbing an Owala water bottle.  I personally used this on my travels to every continent in the world and they are invaluable.  If you have a moment check it out, plus they are environmentally friendly.   

Entertainment Options: Banish boredom with entertainment. Load up holiday playlists, audiobooks, and podcasts to set the festive mood. For younger travelers, bring coloring books, games, and movies.  Before we dive too far into this though, everyone needs a holiday playlist.  Remember how irritated you get at those people who start playing Christmas songs before Thanksgiving, well, its not Thanksgiving anymore so buckle up and prepare to listen to those Christmas melodies.

Capture the Moments: Pack your camera or smartphone to capture the holiday magic. From festive street displays to iconic landmarks, you’ll want to remember these moments. Don’t forget chargers or power banks to keep your devices charged.  I have traveled to 6 continents and almost 30 countries and recently have started to take thousands of extra photos and I am SO GLAD.  Bring a cell phone camera and snap a memory!  If you rent a car from us and tag our Instagram, we will feature you!

Festive Clothing: Pack a range of clothing for various occasions. From holiday parties to casual outings, ensure you’re prepared with a mix of formal wear, casual outfits, and comfortable loungewear.  Don’t forget that no Holiday road trip is complete without an ugly Christmas sweater, so find your ugliest one and embarrass yourself with having a bit of fun!

Travel Itinerary: While spontaneity is fun, having a rough travel itinerary can help you maximize your time in the Washington DC area. Highlight key attractions, festive markets, and cozy cafes you’d like to visit.  A couple of my favorite local coffee places are listed here:

  1. Takoma Beverage Company
  2. Lost Sock Coffee Shop
  3. Culture Coffee Too
  4. La Coop Coffee
  5. Qualia Coffee
  6. Royal
  7. The Coffee Bar
  8. The Roasted Boon Co.
  9. Cameo
  10. Swing’s Coffee

Embrace Adventure: Above all, carry a spirit of adventure and curiosity. Immerse yourself in the holiday culture as you explore the area’s unique attractions and sample seasonal delights.  Life is about living in the moment and holidays are about sharing those memories with those you love!  Embrace the spirit of adventure and have an absolute blast!

Packing Smart: Accommodating Your Travel Party and Needs

The size of your car matters when it comes to fitting all the essentials. If you’re traveling solo or with a partner, an economy or compact car might suffice. For families or larger groups, consider a midsize SUV or even a minivan. These vehicles offer ample storage space, ensuring everyone’s comfort and providing room for luggage, presents, and decorations.  We even have some small SUVs with all wheel drive so if you want a compact vehicle that can still get you around but still want to be safe on the road then check them out!

Essential Packing List:

  • Weather-appropriate clothing and blankets
  • Safety essentials: jumper cables
  • Delicious snacks and drinks!
  • Entertainment options: playlists, audiobooks, games
  • Navigation tools: GPS on your Phone
  • Camera or smartphone for capturing memories
  • Festive decorations for the car
  • Versatile clothing for different occasions
  • A travel itinerary to make the most of your time
  • A sense of adventure and holiday spirit

Conclusion: A Festive Journey Awaits Packing your car for a holiday road trip in the Washington DC area is more than just organizing belongings; it’s about setting the stage for a joyful adventure. With a well-prepared vehicle and a spirit of excitement, you’re ready to hit the road, creating cherished memories against the backdrop of the capital’s holiday splendor. So, pack wisely, choose the right car size, load up your enthusiasm, and embark on a holiday journey that will warm your heart and fill your soul with holiday cheer for years to come!

By Alexandra Van Hook

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