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Road Trip Checklist

Ideas to Help Avoid Vacation Pitfalls

Summertime is road trip season. Before you head out on one of Kansas’s many open highways, look at this checklist of ideas to get you ready to ride. It will help prevent time lost on the side of the road, a car full of bored kids, and worry about the home you left behind.

Car Maintenance:

  • Take your car to your mechanic for a maintenance check, including an oil change and other necessary services. Also, check the wipers, fluid levels, tires, lights, belts, hoses, breaks, and battery.
  • Check your spare tire to make sure it is full of air. Plus, break out the jack to make sure it still works. If you don’t know how to change a tire, practice before you go.
  • Assemble an emergency kit in case of a breakdown, accident, or other emergency event. Include a flashlight, blanket, essential tools and a first aid kit. Jumper cables, duct tape, and a knife are also good additions. Water and snacks should be included, separate from road trip treats, and only used for emergencies.
  • If children will be along for the trip, consider packing a portable potty and a plastic bucket with a lid (for carsickness). Also, don’t forget toilet paper, paper towels, and plastic bags.

Home Safety:

  • Lock all doors and windows, including garage and upstairs windows. If you have an attached garage, make sure to lock the door leading from the garage to the house.
  • Stop all mail and newspaper delivery, or ask a friend, neighbor or family member to bring it into your home each day.
  • Close all the curtains and blinds. To give your home a lived-in appearance, set timers on at least one light and television.
  • If you have an alarm system, let someone on your callback list know you will be gone. If the alarm sounds, they will know to meet the police at your home.
  • Ensure the grass is mowed, and ask someone to keep up with these tasks while you’re away.
  • If you’re leaving a vehicle at home, remove any valuables and lock the doors, even if it is in the garage. Another good idea is to ask a neighbor to park in the driveway while you are gone.
  • If you miss trash collection day, have someone take your cans to the curb and then return them once the garbage is picked up.
  • Unplug computers, televisions, and any appliance that a power surge could damage. Shut off the water to your washing machine. (The hoses are notorious for breaking and causing a flood.) Also, clean out your refrigerator.

Happy Family 

  • Create a road trip activity kit for each child with their favorite books, colors, pencils, paper, cards, and games. Buy all the items new so opening it is part of the fun.
  • Remember the snacks: cereal in zipper bags, protein bars, trail mix, and crackers. Pack yogurt, juice, mini bags of veggies and fruits, and string cheese in a cooler. Also, remember bottled water.
  • Avoid driving for more than two or three hours at a time before taking a break. Instead, stop at a fun roadside attraction, such as the local tourist trap or a playground, park, or pick-your-own orchard. Also, pack a ball to play with at rest stops.