Hitting the road with kids this spring break? Here’s your survival guide! If you missed the other parts of the series, check out Tips for Road Tripping with Kids, Behavior Tips for Road Tripping with Kids, and Road Trip Fun for Kids.
Hopefully your road trip will be smooth sailing, but a little preparedness can go a long way toward avoiding emergencies or dealing with them without too much trouble. Here are a couple tips to help keep you rolling down the road.
- Mini First-Aid Kit: Be sure to pack a little kit with Band-Aids, antibiotic cream, children’s fever/pain relief, tweezers, Benadryl, and cold medicine. Things like a scraped knee, bee sting, or headache (which wouldn’t be a big deal at home), can make kids grumpy for miles and miles if they can’t be dealt with quickly.
- Emergency Potty: When you gotta go, you gotta go, especially if you’re a kid. Sometimes that means you can’t wait till the next rest area. Since we had a potty training toddler on our long road trip, we brought our potty chair with us while we traveled. In a pinch, a kid of any age could use it. If you’re out of the potty training stage, a 4-quart ice cream bucket or a plastic ground coffee container (with their lids) are worth having on hand.
- Carsick Catcher: Hopefully you won’t need it, but definitely better safe than sorry in this area. The ice cream bucket or big coffee container work well for this too. If you know you have someone who is habitually bothered by carsickness, read up on remedies before leaving, and pack the Dramamine.
- Clean-Up Kit: Just in case, it’s helpful to have wet wipes, disinfecting wipes, and paper towels handy (rather than buried deep in the trunk). Same goes for a change of clothes for the kids.
- Prep the vehicle: If you’re covering a lot of miles, it might be worth having a trusted mechanic give your vehicle a once-over before the trip just to catch and fix any potential problems before they leave you stranded. It’s also a good idea to do an oil change, check the fluids, and be sure the tires are properly inflated. Make sure you have a spare tire and know how to use it.
- Keep an eye on the gas gauge: In the eastern United States, there are relatively few places you’d go for long without finding a gas station (parts of the Appalachian Mountains come to mind, but otherwise you’re usually in good shape). We found out this summer that it’s a different story for much of the West. You can go many, many miles without seeing a gas station, and in some of these places cell phone service is spotty as well. Running out of gas with a vehicle full of kids would not be a fun vacation memory. If you’re in a sparsely-populated area, start looking for a gas station when you hit 1/2 tank.
Are there other ways you prepare for dealing with emergencies on long road trips? We’d love to hear them in the comments! If you’ve found this series helpful, we’d also love for you to Pin it or share it with others.