Summer time is road trip season! Many things that can go wrong when traveling by car far from home. However, most emergencies can be averted or minimized with a little careful planning beforehand. The importance of planning for road trip emergencies becomes more crucial when you know that you are going to have your children with you. Here are some family road trip safety tips to keep you safe on the road with your family this summer.
Pack an Emergency Kit
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by how many people either do not have a kit or have a kit that is has not been updated. Items you should include in your vehicle emergency kit include:
- Water for all members of the family and any pets that may be traveling with you
- Warm blankets
- Old towels
- First aid supplies
- Cell phone charger
- Jumper cables
- Multi-tool device or small tool kit
One of the most common causes of accidents is distracted driving. You can lessen or avoid distractions by:
- Getting a good night’s sleep.
- Making sure your seat is upright. Slouching contributes to drowsiness.
- Putting cellphones on Bluetooth or put them away entirely. If you plan to use the cellphone, pull over and park in a safe area.
- Making sure kids have plenty of entertainment. Keeping them busy with a small handheld device or playing their favorite music could keep them from distracting you while you drive.
- Allowing the person in the passenger seat to deal with the radio, phone, children, pet, etc. If you are behind the wheel, your job is to drive.
Make Sure Everything Is Properly Secured
Make sure that heavier luggage is stored deep in the bottom of the vehicle and that other items are properly secured. Anything that is not secured can become a projectile, even during a routine stop.
Child Proofing Your Ride
Even if your child is entertained with a toy or electronic device, they can still get into trouble. Here are some suggestions for keeping your child safe in the car.
- 8 out of 10 child safety seats are not properly installed. Call 866-SEAT-CHECK or look here to find the nearest location where you can have your child’s safety seat inspected for free.
- Inspect the seat for coins stuck in the seat, knobs or dials that may become loose or anything else that a child could put into a mouth and choke on.
- Make sure to set aside time every two hours or so for stretching legs and “potty breaks.”
- Don’t forget to pack the sunscreen and plenty of fluids.
Family road trip safety tips are for more than just keeping your children safe. If you are taking your pet with you on vacation, make sure he is secured in a travel crate large enough to sit, stand, lay down and turn around. Make sure he has plenty of food and water and ample opportunity for exercise. Of course, don’t forget his leash, and most importantly, NEVER EVER leave your pet alone in a parked car.
A little planning before your summer road trip will ensure that your family stays safe while you are traveling. Following these family road trip safety tips will help make sure that your trip is a good one.
Where to Road Trip in Texas (and be safe while doing it)
Texas is home to vibrant cities, pristine waterfalls, unique landmarks, and many beautiful sceneries. Regardless of whether you enjoy taking road trips in the cities or remote areas, there are many attractive locations that you and your loved ones can explore. Read on to find out some of the best routes for road trips in Texas, where you can enjoy a wide range of activities while staying safe throughout the adventure.
Gulf Coast to Piney Woods in East Texas
If you and your family want to explore the diversity of Texas, consider taking a road trip from the Gulf Coast to Piney Woods. This trip starts in Galveston, which is about an hour’s drive from Houston and ends at Jefferson. The entire journey is about 371 miles and can take approximately 8 hours with minimal stops.
During this trip, you can enjoy a wide range of scenery and visit various historical landmarks. One of the locations to tour is Galveston Island, State Park. Here you can explore 2000 acres of natural habitat containing beaches, estuaries, dunes, and brackish ponds.
Another location to tour during this road trip is Ebenezer Park. This location features beautiful horseback riding trails with beach access, allowing riders to cool off after a hot day. You can also enjoy the breezy Sam Rayburn Reservoir winds as you drive through Angelina National Forest piney woods.
Once you get to Jefferson, you will find many historic locations and antique shops to tour. You can visit these locations to learn more about Texas’ history and explore the breathtaking view of restored museums and churches.
Austin to San Antonio Loop
One of the best and safest road trips for families new to long-distance travel is the route between Austin and San Antonio. While this journey takes approximately 2 hours when there is less traffic, you can customize it to spend more time on your adventure. For instance, you can take a cooling swim in Hamilton’s pool in Dripping Springs. If you love exploring new dishes, you can also stop by Lockhart to enjoy Texas’s best barbecues and briskets.
Other than that, you can extend your road trip by making several stops in Fredericksburg. Here, you will learn more about Texas’s German history as you enjoy cooling beverages. You may also visit other attractions in this town such as:
- The Enchanted Rock
- Old Tunnel State Park
- Pioneer Museum
- Main Street
Dallas-Fort Worth Loop
When looking for a traveling adventure with a fantastic mix of small towns and big cities, you should consider taking the Dallas- Fort Worth loop road trip. Depending on your starting point, you can make several stops during the journey to enjoy some of the best views in Dallas and Fort Worth.
Some of the places you can check out for family-friendly activities are:
- The Reunion Tower (Dallas)
- Sixth Floor Museum (Dallas)
- Arboretum (Dallas)
- National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame (Fort Worth)
- Stockyards (Fort Worth)
If you are up for more adventure, you can also head down to Waco to shop at the famous Magnolia Market at the Silos. After that, consider visiting the Waco Mammoth National Monument to view ancient animal fossils.
Although Texas’ portion of Route 66 is relatively short compared to that of other states, you can still enjoy a short road trip of about 3-6 hours. During this journey, you will pass by the history-rich Amarillo, where you may stop to check out various locations. For instance, you can tour the Historic Route 66 District to explore over one mile of antique and collectible stores, art galleries, and bars.
You may also stop by the restaurants in iconic buildings to enjoy delicious meals as you take a break from the journey. If your family enjoys scrumptious beef meals, consider taking on the 72 ounces delicious steak challenge at the Big Texan Steak Ranch. Other sites you can tour during the Route 66 road trip are Magnolia Station, Milburn Price Culture, and Cadillac Ranch.
West Columbia to Corpus Christi
To explore coastal Texas with your family, consider taking a road trip from West Columbia to Corpus Christi. This beautiful seaside drive located along State Highway 35 gives you a thrilling view of sunny beaches. Before heading to Corpus Christi, you can check out some sites like botanical gardens and museums in West Columbia.
You may then explore tasty meals at Palacios’ legendary Mexican and Vietnamese restaurants as you take a break from a tiring drive. To extend the trip, add a one-hour drive to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Here, you will experience countless incredible sights along the way and get to see the famous whooping cranes.
Texas Hill Country
The Texas Hill Country is one of the most stunning and safest locations you can ever take a road trip to in Texas. This drive is 189 miles, which is approximately a 4–5-hour journey by car. When touring this region, you will enjoy the beautiful scenery of Jacob’s Well, the most famous swimming hole in Texas.
After that, take a 30-minutes drive to the Hamilton Pool Preserve to explore the mystical grotto and capture numerous memorable family photos. If you love wine, consider stopping in Fredericksburg to view the most exquisite family-friendly vineyards in Texas. Other locations you can tour during the road trip are:
- Wildseed Farms
- National Museum of Pacific War
- The Enchanted Rock
- Wine Road 290
- Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
When you finish touring Fredericksburg, head to Comal River Tubing and rent tubes to relax in the natural waters as you enjoy the beautiful view of Landa Falls. Once you are all relaxed and ready to continue with the adventure, hit the road and stop at the Gristmill Restaurant for an authentic family meal experience.
Located at the west edge of Texas, El Paso is the largest American city on the Mexican border. This urban area has a wide range of unique desert landscapes that you can explore during a road trip. Besides that, it has many cultural attractions and is home to diverse animals and plants.
You can spend a weekend with your loved ones viewing beautiful sceneries along the road and enjoying fun activities during your stops. If you prefer to extend the adventure for up to five days or a week, you can research in advance for more sites that would be exciting and safe to visit. Some of the places you must check out during an El Paso road trip are:
- El Paso Mission Trails
- El Paso Zoo
- Centennial Museum and the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens
- The National Border Patrol Museum
- Magoffin Home State Historic Site
- Holocaust Museum and Study Center
During the tour, you will enjoy the exhilarating view of the rolling mountains surrounding the city. Besides, you can always stop at the nearby state and national parks for hiking and other fun family activities.
Taking a road trip with your family to these routes is a perfect way to bond and create lovely memories. Remember to inquire if your dream destinations are open within the period you plan to visit to avoid disappointment. Finally, before hitting the road, confirm that you packed everything you need, including safety equipment and snacks. This step will help you avoid some expenses and make your trip safer and more enjoyable.