Summer means road trips for a lot of families in America. The roads are busy with families traveling to different destinations, family reunions, theme parks, and more. Summer for us looks a little different, because this is Hubby’s biggest time of the year. He is a youth minister and spends a good amount of time traveling with his youth group, going to camps and service projects. This also means that the boys and I are traveling a lot to spend time with Grammy and Grampy and our other family members while Daddy is away.
It’s so important to have the van all ready to go before we leave. Hubby and I work together to make sure these important tasks are done before we head out.
1. Check tires, lights, and wipers to make sure they are road trip ready. Doing this a few days before your trip makes your departure a lot less stressful!
2. Buy or prepare a first aid kit in case of emergency. Also, always have blankets handy in the cold weather, along with water, extra clothes, and plenty of snacks in case you are stranded on the side of the road for a while.
3. Check carseats, booster seats, and seat belts the day before you leave. I always like to take the carseats out, clean them, have the kids sit in them and make sure the straps are adjusted properly, and reinstall them in the van. Carseats should be comfortable for the kids, but the straps should be adjusted correctly and snug enough to actually protect the kids in case of an accident.
4. Organize all DVDs, tablets, games, and any other suppies your child may need before you leave. Make them easily accessible so they don’t need help reaching things. Pinterest has a lot of great ideas for this! Keep in mind that it is good to have everything anchored down in case of a car accident. Anything that isn’t secured to the car will fly and become dangerous in an accident.
Have LOTS of fun activities handy and available for kids to grab without unbuckling their carseats. I created this quick DIY interactive travel map for the boys to be able to visualize our trip and see how much further we have to travel. I just printed out a map of our trip and taped it to a cookie sheet. Then, I printed out a picture of a van and the names of a few towns we would be going through. I then attached all of the printouts to a magnet strip so the map can be interactive and the pieces can be movable. You could do this with states, landmarks, directions, and more.
The Captain, 6, loves to read signs and ask about towns, cities, distances, directions, and more, so this project is perfect for him. He can label the town when we get to it, or plan out the trip. He can match the town name to the one on the map, too. He loves moving the car to our current destination!
5. Have your car’s oil changed before you leave on your trip. This is so important and so, so easy. Find a reputable place, tell them about your upcoming road trip, and they will be able to suggest what you need to do!
How do you make sure your road trips with kids are fun and safe?