Archives for Mary LaCoste

  1. Traffic Jam during the HolidaysIt’s not your imagination. Traffic patterns can change towards the end of December. To give you an idea of what to expect, we asked INRIX (the company that provides live traffic reports for to share their holiday traffic forecast for some of the nation’s busiest travel spots.

    Plan ahead.
    It’s expected to take you a little longer to get where you’re going in these already-congested areas, now until the end of the year. Here’s how much more time you can expect to spend in the car:

    • Chicago-Naperville-Joliet IL-IN-WI – 14.2%
    • Boston-Cambridge-Quincy MA-NH – 12.4%
    • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington TX - 7.8%
    • New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island NY-NJ-PA - 6.4%
    • Detroit-Warren-Livonia MI - 4.8%
    • Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario CA - 4.8%
    • St. Louis MO-IL - 4.8%
    • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana CA - 4.2%

    Live Traffic on MapQuest.comWatch out.
    The roads in some areas are pretty much guaranteed to be slow-going — even with good weather. Several of the worst trouble spots are forecast for the Northeast, as people travel between New York and the rest of New England.

    Check out our map of the biggest holiday bottlenecks from coast-to-coast.

    Get traffic.
    To make your holiday travels a little more sane, look up your destination on for live traffic reports, updated every five minutes. If you see heavy traffic ahead, it’s easy to change your path by “dragging” your route to alternate roads.

  2. If you weren’t able to talk the relatives into coming toRoad Trip with Kids see YOU this year, never fear. We’ve got some time-tested, parent-approved tips for keeping the kids happy and occupied during your holiday drive.

    Bring a cooler with snacks to keep you out of the drive-thru — like fruit, nuts, string cheese, granola bars, water, juice and chocolate milk. And don’t forget baby wipes for the inevitable clean-ups.

    Tip #2: BRING MUSIC
    Let everyone in the car take turns playing their favorite music. Bring along some holiday tunes and you just might find yourselves in a classic family sing-a-long.

    Tip #3: PLAY GAMES
    Challenge the whole car to a friendly game of “I Spy,” “The License Plate Game” or “Name That Tune.” Plus, bring cards and travel-sized versions of games like bingo and Scrabble.

    Modern gadgets can be lifesavers on long trips: from handheld electronic games, to educational systems like LeapFrog, to portable DVD players with headphones.

    Tip #5: TAKE A BREAK
    Stop every two or three hours so everyone can stretch their legs and use the restroom. For a quick burst of fun and energy, toss around a football or Frisbee.

    Stump (and impress) your kids with answers to questions like “Where was Dad born?”, “What’s grandma’s middle name?” and “How many cousins do you have?”

    Tip #7: BRING TOYS + BOOKS
    Bring things that challenge your kids’ imaginations, like action figures, toy cars, an Etch-A-Sketch, pop-up books and Mad Libs. And consider bringing small gifts to give during the ride.

    Sleeping Girl on Road TripTip #8: GET CRAFTY
    Pack up craft supplies like pipe cleaners and felt scraps, plus paper, crayons and colored pencils. A cookie sheet with raised edges makes a great travel tray.

    Tip #9: SHARE THE MAP
    Bring an atlas and printed maps from to show the kids where you’re headed and what landmarks you’ll pass. Track where you’ve been with a highlighter.

    Tip #10: PACK PILLOWS
    Kids will snooze more easily with creature comforts like pillows, favorite blankets and stuffed animals. Wearing PJs and earplugs can help them relax and fall fast asleep even faster.

    Since you’re hitting the road for the holidays, you might find these other MapQuest tools helpful as well:

    Win Free Gas for a Year
    Check Live Traffic in your Area
    Find the Cheapest Gas in Town

    Safe travels and happy holidays!