Top 11 Essential Tips For Driving With Kids
Long trips are long enough. Adding children to the mix requires some planning to avoid making the hours an eternity. Here are some tips to think about before and during the trip to keep everyone safe and sane.
Plan For Extra Stops – Pack early and leave early to reduce stress. Leaving plenty of extra time will allow for unexpected traffic, longer meal stops, and the frequent potty breaks that come with traveling with kids.
Plan An “Energy” Break – Plan an extra long stop for lunch for the kids to blow off some steam. If you don’t, that energy will be released in the confines of the car while you are trying to concentrate on the road. The longer the drive, the more important a good lunch stop will be. Besides, this will reduce the mess that needs to be cleaned out when you get home!
Google what your options are along your route. Perhaps find 2-3 possible options to prevent back-to-back stops within only 20 minutes.
Essentials Bag – Keep the most important items up front within reach. A change of clothes, bottled water, healthy snacks, and important medications are a good place to start.
Plan Your Medical Options – Although we never want an unexpected visit to the doctor, you need to know where you can and can not go while out of town. Make sure you have any medical cards with you for all passengers. If you provider has “in network” and “out of network” restrictions, see what options are available in the area you are planning to visit.
Secure Loose Items – Before you leave, pack away smaller items you don’t need. A sudden stop can cause anything not tied down to fly forward, creating a danger for everyone.
Kids In The Back Seat – Safety first. Play it smart and keep the children in the back. It’s not worth the risk. Also make sure that the car seat is securely in it’s place. Kids are curious. Kids fiddle with things. That car seat may not be as secure as it was when you put it in. Also, make sure the car seat is positioned in a spot you can see them in the mirror.
Back Seat Travel Organizer – Let’s piggy-back on that last two. Help the kids keep their most important items within easy reach. No words needed to explain how brilliant this idea is. Why didn’t I think of that?
Power cords!!! – Oh the humanity! Nothing will ruin a road trip faster than a dead phone battery. You may not want to keep these in the Essentials Bag above with the bottled water, but the level of importance may be the same. Also keep in mind the locations of the charging plugs in the car. You may need an extension cord.
Remember the necessities of life: food, water, shelter, and electronic devices.
Paper towels and wet wipes – Be prepared for those little spills that are bound to happen. A roll of paper towels can’t hurt either.
Don’t Text And Drive! – Put down the phone. “It won’t happen to me” is not a safety feature in any vehicle. Prevent a tragedy with a little common sense. The personal messages can wait. Let the kids handle the GPS directions. Who cares if you make a wrong turn anyway? This is why you planned for extra stops to begin with, right?
And perhaps the most revolutionary idea to save time AND money…
Travel At Night – You drive in peace while everyone else sleeps. Literally. The roads are empty. Less traffic. Less construction. Fewer potty breaks. Fewer need for motel rooms & the packing and unpacking that goes along with overnight stops.
Just make sure you prepare yourself with enough sleep the afternoon & evening before. Make plans to leave around 8pm to avoid rush-hour traffic.