For people that don’t have kids, traveling cross-country with kids seems like pure insanity, though the holiday season often makes these long drives a necessity. Experienced parents know, though, that traveling with children can be a safe and even bonding experience if you want it to be. If you outfit your car with the right equipment, you may find that the long drive to see your relatives doesn’t have to be a necessary evil, but rather a great time to spend time together before the real vacation begins.
Have Car Seats Inspected
While an accident can certainly happen anywhere, you may be at greater risk when you’re away from home on unfamiliar streets. To add a little extra peace of mind, it’s a good idea to have your children’s car seats inspected before you hit the road. You can usually find these services at local fire stations or police departments and they are always totally free. You may even discover that the car seat your child is riding in is expired and needs to be replaced.
Don’t Underestimate Entertainment
Even if you try to limit your kids’ screen time when they’re at home, you’ll be thankful to have that option available when you’re on a cross-country trip. That’s why a car entertainment system could turn out to be a lifesaver. By bringing along several of your children’s favorite movies, you can make those long, boring stretches of highway more bearable so that you can stay focused on the road.
This can also allow you to turn this otherwise boring part of the trip into a big part of your holiday vacation, as you can put on holiday movies and music for the kids to enjoy. Watching family favorites with their siblings in the car can easily become one of the highlights of the trip and give them something to tell the relatives when you visit them aside from “it was a long drive.”
Think Through Liquid Consumption
One of the more difficult parts of traveling with children is that their bladders aren’t as large as yours. This can result in more pit stops that can put you behind schedule, or worse, long patches of desperately waiting for a pit stop to come when passing through empty land. Although you certainly want to allow your children to have water when they’re thirsty, it’s a good idea to encourage them to take smaller sips so that they don’t get filled up too quickly. Keep in mind that water passes through the body quickly, within about an hour or two, and you’ll want to keep track of when the last pit stop comes through for a while.
Being able to control pit stops also helps in keeping your family safe from contracting COVID along the way. It’s much more preferable to stop at a well-maintained restaurant bathroom where cleanings are regular and there is lots of ventilation than to stop in your stereotypical gas station bathroom. No matter where you stop, however, make sure your family is well equipped with masks and hand sanitizer for every pit stop.
Check Your Tires
Bringing kids along on a trip requires a lot of extra accessories. When loaded into your vehicle, these accessories can add a lot of extra weight that can change how your vehicle drives. To ensure optimal safety while you’re driving, it’s wise to carefully look over your tires both before you leave and while you’re traveling. You’ll want to check the air pressure, tread depth, and overall condition of your tires to see if they may require attention in order to continue safely down the road.
Don’t let the holiday travel ruin the holidays for your family. With a few precautions and safety checks combined with the right food and entertainment management, your long drive across empty stretches of road can become a small family party of its own. Even with the new restrictions and safety concerns that come with the pandemic this holiday season, your trip to the relatives can be safe and fun for the whole family.
By Meghan Belnap
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.