Tips For Taking Winter Road Trips With Kids

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Thanks to State Farm® for sponsoring this #AssistPatrol post about family road trips and their Assist Patrol program.

Road trips are one of my favorite ways to travel with my family. Whether it’s just a day trip, or we are headed out of state, it’s fun seeing different places as we travel to our destination. Over the years I have learned some tips and tricks that make traveling with kids smoother, and I want to share them. These tips are great for year-round traveling; but, I’m sharing some that are particularly helpful for traveling during the winter months.

The first tip is to make sure that your vehicle is ready for a road trip. You’ll want to take your car in to get an oil change if needed and also check fluid levels (brake, transmission, power steering, windshield washer, coolant, etc.) to make sure each reservoir is full. State Farm suggests checking air pressure in all tires, making sure the wiper blades are functioning properly, testing the vehicle’s lights and making sure your car battery and brake pads are in good condition.

When packing for a road trip, bring more than you think you’ll need (if you have the space to do so). Whether you get stuck in town an extra day due to bad weather, discover a pool you didn’t know your hotel would have or find yourself in unseasonably cooler or warmer weather, you will never be sorry you brought that extra stuff. It’s always better to have something you don’t need than to need something you don’t have.

The second tip is to pack the car in a thoughtful manner. I know when you are in a hurry to get on the road it’s easy to just throw things in the car but resist the urge to do that. Trust me, a few minutes of planning will make the trip easier. I’ve provided a diagram (above) of how I pack our minivan, and I want to share a few tips that are especially helpful on longer road trips.

In between the two front seats, put a basket of anything you’ll want handy while the vehicle’s moving, or during a quick stop. This includes things like wipes, paper towels, a first aid kit and plastic grocery bags (for trash, wet clothes, etc). I recommend keeping a bag of snacks within reach as well. Make sure to include some zip top bags and/or chip clips to keep open bags and packages from spilling all over.

Children who are older should be able to access toys, games and books that can keep them busy during the trip so I recommend keeping things next to them. We place a container in the middle of our two boys’ seats that holds a backpack for each child. The container catches anything that might fall out of the bags and the backpacks make for easy transport of their things.

In the back of the vehicle make sure to keep a bag accessible for any stops you may make. We keep an extra set of clothing for each person and towels at-the-ready in case there are spills or someone gets car sick. You don’t want to be digging through suitcases to find an extra shirt. Also, if you’re stopping overnight anywhere, make sure to keep a separate (easy to get to) bag full of everything you need, including toiletries, so you don’t have to unpack the whole car for a short overnight stop to get some rest.

The third tip is to pack an emergency roadside kit. Don’t forget this! You’ll want to make sure that you have extra blankets, food and water in case you get stranded. Additionally, you may want to include jumper cables, a flashlight, emergency flat-tire repair, road flares, an ice scraper, and road salt for tire traction in snow.

Once you are on the road, enjoy the time with your family by playing a variety of fun car games like “eye spy,” “this or that” and “guess who I’m thinking of.” Another thing my family likes to do is stop at rest stops near state lines and take pictures with the different state signs. However you choose to pass the time, you can feel confident traveling from point A to point B knowing that there are great companies, like State Farm, that are helping keep our roads safer. 

I’ve been a State Farm customer for years and am proud to say that they are committed to keeping drivers safer on the road. Recently I learned that they sponsor safety service patrols called the Assist Patrol program, where they have teamed up with 15 state transportation agencies to promote highway safety. (Here in Illinois they are called the Illinois Tollway’s Highway Emergency Lane Patrol (H.E.L.P.) Sponsored by State Farm.)

Each fleet of Assist Patrol vehicles patrols the highway looking for crashes, dangerous debris, and stranded motorists to provide assistance and help drivers get safely on their way. The limited and completely complementary roadside assistance may include services like a tire change, fixing minor mechanical problems, and removing debris from the road. These services are meant to assist all drivers on sponsored public highways; you do not have to be a State Farm customer in order to be serviced by the Illinois Tollway H.E.L.P or other sponsored patrols. Learn more about State Farm Assist Patrol here.

Thanks again to State Farm for sponsoring this post and letting me share some of my tips with you all. I’d love to hear some of your tips and tricks that make traveling during the winter months easier.

Comments

  1. Scott says:

    Our van looks almost identical except we put the snacks at the feet of the kids. They can get to it easier and hand us stuff if we want it!

    • Alicia Marie says:

      That’s how we used to do it but things kept getting squished because they weren’t paying attention lol. Hopefully in a couple years we can go back to doing that :)

  2. Love all your tips! Traveling with kids is not an easier task, but we love going on road trips!

  3. Our Family World says:

    I’m glad that you had fun in all your trips! I really love seeing fun road trips with kids!

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