Tips for Road Trips with Kids

Road trip packing, driving, and safety tips

BY ALLISON CLARK

NOVEMBER 17, 2021

11.17.21 TipsForRoadTripsWithKids Desktop

A road trip with kids requires a whole new level of preparation besides those regular travel prep to-do’s, such as planning for road trip safety, vehicle maintenance, and home security. Parents traveling with small children also must hone their abilities to conjure entertaining games while psychically predicting future boredom and bathroom breaks. To help you prepare for summer vacation or a fall family road trip, we’ve compiled a list of helpful tips, so you know what to pack and how to plan.

Prep for your trip

There are many questions to consider before you leave: What should you pack? When is the best time to leave? Is the vehicle working properly? Here are some essential things to help you hit the road:

  • Have a service technician check the oil, battery, tires, lights, cooling system, air conditioning, fluid levels, wiper blades, belts, hoses, and the spare tire before you depart.

  • Since even the most well-maintained cars can experience issues, be sure to pack your road trip safety kit to prepare for various scenarios:

    • Cell phone charger

    • First-aid kit, including medications

    • Flashlight

    • Flares and a white flag

    • Tire pressure gauge

    • Jumper cables

    • Tire-changing supplies

    • Work gloves

    • Change of clothes

    • Basic repair tools

    • Duct and electrical tape

    • Jug of water

    • Paper towels

    • Extra motor oil

    • Extra windshield washer fluid

    • Extra freon for air conditioning

    • Maps

    • Blankets, towels, and coats or jackets

    • Sunscreen and/or a sunshade

    • Nonperishable food items

    • Drinking water

  • Before you leave, check the route in your GPS assistant for any adverse weather or road work along the way. In the event of either, consider tweaking your route for a more enjoyable experience.

  • Let a family member, friend, or neighbor know your route and estimated arrival time, so someone can monitor your journey.

  • Don’t forget the pets! Make sure your dog or cat is cared for while you’re gone. Access your indoor cameras via your Brinks Home™ Mobile App to check in on your pet periodically.

  • Ensure young children have a correctly installed, age-appropriate car seat or booster. If your growing child has occupied the same seat for a while, it may be time for an upgrade.

  • The best time to leave for a road trip is the morning after a restful night’s sleep, so you won’t have to navigate while you’re drowsy. Pack your car the night before, and you’ll be ready to roll when you wake up.

  • Since a child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s, never leave children in the car unsupervised. Temperatures in a parked car (even with the windows down on a cool, summer day) can still increase rapidly.

  • When exiting the vehicle, keep your keys in hand to ensure they’re not locked in the car.

  • Schedule breaks to stretch everyone’s legs, eat a snack, and use the restroom (or change diapers).

Keep kiddos entertained

You’ve planned your route and vetted your vehicle. Now, it’s time to keep the kiddos entertained. To avoid the repeated, nails-on-a-chalkboard question of “Are we there yet,” arm yourself with an array of distractions:

  • Sing-along music playlists

  • Favorite family movies

  • A list of road trip games for kids, like I Spy or Road Trip Bingo

  • Road trip snacks and drinks

  • Coloring or puzzle books

  • Strategic stops to entertain kids (and encourage naps)

  • A basket of toys conveniently placed near your child or children

And when all of the above fails to keep your toddler’s attention, there’s no shame in handing them a Kindle or iPad for a little screen time and peace.

Protect your home

The last thing you should worry about while vacationing is your home. We all wonder about the safety of our home while we’re away: Did we remember to close the garage door? Was the back door locked? Maybe should we’ve turned on some lights to deter intruders? At Brinks Home™, we’ve got all the tools you need to protect your home while you’re on vacation and monitor them from afar.

Visit the Brinks Home website for everything you need, including security cameras, motion or smoke detectors, smart locks, a smart thermostat, and indoor cameras to keep an eye on your space. You can even view and control your home’s security system on your smartphone using the Brinks mobile app.

Allison Clark is a senior writer for Brinks Home. She enjoys educating others on the benefits of smart home security and using technology to simplify everyday life.

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