We at CloudTrucks wish a happy holiday season to truck drivers, their families, and everyone working behind the scenes to keep our country moving. This is a busy time of year for truck drivers as holiday shipments are going out to stores nationwide. Because of this high demand for shipping, many drivers need help to make it home for the holidays. So we've put together this article to give you seven tips for trucking through the holidays.
1. Check your Company’s Time Off Policies
Suppose you prefer to make it home for the holidays and spend time with family and friends. In that case, it may be helpful to consult with your company's policies for taking time off. For example, depending on who you drive for, you may have options like a guarantee that you'll get to choose one holiday for hometime while being required to work the other holidays. Other companies may give their drivers the day off during specific holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. And quite a few provide no special consideration for their drivers to make it home for the holidays.
"If you’re familiar with the policies it will help you to manage expectations and leave you better equipped to coordinate plans for the holidays with family and friends."
2. Put in Your Time Off Request as Early as Possible
If making it home for the holidays is essential, put your time off as early as possible to get your request approved. Each company handles holiday time-off requests differently, so be sure to consult with your fleet manager.
3. Leverage Technology
Suppose you cannot make it home to your family over the holidays but want to be a part of the celebrations. In that case, you can use your phone or laptop with wireless internet to stay in touch. There are a variety of apps, such as:
- Facetime for Apple users
- Duo for Android users
The above apps typically require unique data plans with your cell carrier or Wi-Fi. Fortunately, the major truck stop chains, many state welcoming centers, and other establishments provide Wi-Fi that is accessible to truckers.
4. Holiday Meals
You're in luck if you cannot make it home or choose to stay out but still want a traditional holiday dinner. Most major truck stop restaurant chains provide seasonal holiday dinners. You'll encounter their advertisements in the weeks leading up to the holidays. With some planning, you can still have a hearty holiday dinner while on the road. Keep in mind that some restaurants provide dinners on an RSVP basis, so if you have a specific place to stop for the holidays in mind, it helps to double-check if you need to RSVP or not.
5. Celebrate with Fellow Drivers
Celebrating together at truck stop driver's lounges or even getting practical gifts for your truck driver companions is a beautiful way to participate in the holiday spirit. The camaraderie and companionship, along with the shared experience of being out there working hard together through the holidays, can be a rewarding experience and help drivers cope with feelings of loneliness.
6. Decorate your Truck
One way many drivers partake in holiday activities and show the spirit of the season is by decorating the interior (where you drive as well as where you sleep as a trucker) and/or the exterior of their trucks. Chances are you’ve seen drivers with their trucks decked out in Christmas lights, wreathes, and other decorations. Just keep in mind that any decorations you use on the exterior of your truck need to be placed in a safe manner and not violate any safety standards. As far as the interior decorations go, a small tree, scented cones and other decorative items placed in your sleeper berth can help you keep in touch with traditional holiday practices and feelings.
7. Stay Alert and Stay Safe
On a safety oriented note, stay alert and stay safe while on the road during the holidays. HIghways typically experience higher levels of traffic during the holidays and with more cars on the road it’s important to avoid letting your guard down. Keep your head on a swivel, maintain safe distances, and be alert for motorists who are unaccustomed to driving on the interstate highway system. It also helps to give yourself plenty of time to make it to your destination by taking into consideration the increase in traffic.
8. Create a Trucker Christmas Playlist
Creating a trucker Christmas playlist is a great way to carry the holiday spirit with you on the road. With all the major streaming services, like Pandora, Spotify, and Apple Music, you can create a custom playlist, choose an album, or select one of their ready made Christmas stations.
9. Find a Great Holiday Trucking Stop
Finding a great holiday truck stop involves a little research and some luck. TA/Petro with their Iron Skillet and Country Pride restaurants have traditionally gone all out with a Christmas meal with all the trimmings. You can also look for a Pilot or Flying J with a Denny’s as an alternative. Here’s a list of a few specific truck stops if you happen to be in the area:
- Iowa 80 in Walcott, IA. As the largest truck stop in the country, the Iowa 80 is going to give you more options than the average truck stop during the holidays.
- Joplin 44 Petro, in Joplin, MO. This truck stop is a slightly smaller version of the Iowa 80 and operated by the same folks.
- Any Sapp Brothers truck stop is a good option as well, with nice sit-down restaurants, and gift shops.
Plan ahead and communicate with your company if you want to spend your holidays at home. But, if for some reason you have to be on the road during the holidays, be creative, use technology to stay in touch with loved ones, meet up with fellow drivers at a truck stop for a holiday dinner, kick back in your sleeper and watch some holiday movies, or listen to some holiday tunes while rolling down the highway.
We hope you have a happy and safe holiday season whether you’re on the road or at home with your family. If you’ve had problems in the past with making it home for the holidays and are looking for a change, we invite you to visit our CloudTrucks signup page. Drivers at CloudTrucks are in 100% control of their scheduling. Drivers who prefer to make it home for the holidays can do so, hassle free.