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Tips for Traveling with Kids

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Planning a family road trip? Here are eight helpful hints and tips every parent needs to know.

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Planning a family road trip? Here are eight helpful hints and tips every parent needs to know.

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Hitting the open road with your kids? Take some time to plan ways to keep them content and comfortable along the way

Families love road trips. After a year of staying closer to home more than normal, you may be feeling the itch to get back out on the highway for a trip with your whole family. Before you go, make a plan: In addition to basic research on routes and destinations, traveling with your kids requires a few extra considerations to help avoid those “I’m bored!” meltdowns on the freeway.

Fortunately, it only takes a little bit of prep to help smooth out road trip wrinkles ahead of time. Once you’ve made sure your car is ready for a long drive, checked for any travel restrictions along your route and packed essentials like hand sanitizer and face masks, follow these tips to make your next journey easier and more fun for everyone.

Leave with plenty of extra time

It’s virtually impossible to take a road trip without some sort of delay popping up, like unexpected construction or bad weather. By leaving plenty of time for your journey, you won’t be stressed about rushing to reach your destination. So when the kids spot something interesting out of the car window or you just need to take a breather, you’ll know you have time to stop.

Download the OnStar Guardian app
You’re used to the added peace of mind of having OnStar*1a in your personal vehicle. But if you’re renting a non-GM vehicle for your road trip, you can still bring key OnStar safety services with you. Simply download and install the OnStar Guardian™ app,*82 which provides access to features like Mobile Crash Response*82 and Roadside Assistance*86 right from your smartphone. Better yet — you can still use those features if you’re away from your vehicle, such as when you stop off for a hike or a picnic. Learn more about how to get the Guardian app and how it can help you.

Take regular breaks

One of the easiest ways to fight boredom is by pulling over for breaks. Maybe it’s to see a quirky roadside attraction or an educational stop like a president’s birthplace. Or perhaps you need to quickly find a rest stop for the kids. Either way, OnStar Turn-by-Turn Navigation*20 can help guide you to a destination from our database of more than 14 million points of interest.

Bring car-friendly snacks

“Hanger” — a blend of hunger and anger — is real, and it affects children just as much as adults. Fend it off by packing snacks that won’t make too much of a mess in the car. Think about things like trail mix, pre-cut fruits and veggies, juice boxes and granola bars. Avoid messier items like yogurt, chips and cookies.

Parents and their son play with a kite by the beach with a Buick vehicle in background.
Fight boredom in the car by pulling over for breaks.

Bring games and activities

Make sure your kids have something to read, coloring books, word puzzles or similar activities to keep them occupied. Or play an audiobook that the whole family can listen to together. Depending on your kids’ ages, you might also let them watch videos or play games on a tablet or laptop. In fact, properly equipped Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles have an available in-vehicle Wi-Fi Hotspot*33 so you and the family can stream on the go — you can connect up to seven devices at once! Learn more about getting the most from your hotspot.

Remember the classics

Tablets and phones are great, but don’t forget traditional road trip games like I Spy, 20 Questions and the classic license plate game. They keep everyone involved and provide a break from screen time.

Employ them as navigators

Learning doesn’t have to stop because you’re on the road. Have the kids follow your trip route on a map to identify landmarks and see if they can figure out how much distance is left. In other words, have them answer “Are we there yet?”

Have lunch in the park

If you’re planning a lunch stop along the way, find a park or playground and take a picnic. For starters, you’ll save money and guarantee everyone has a healthy, nutritious lunch. But more important, running around outside might tire out the kids enough that they’ll fall asleep in the car, giving you some peace and quiet for a few miles.

Teach your kids how to use OnStar

Most likely, if you need assistance from OnStar, you can take care of pushing the blue OnStar button or red Emergency button.*16a But it’s a good idea to make sure your kids understand how OnStar Advisors can help them in certain situations. Before setting out on a long journey, take some time to show your kids how OnStar works.

A father and son play with a kite and a Buick vehicle sits in the background.
Stop at a park for lunch and let your kids run around for a bit — it might tire them out enough to fall asleep in the car, meaning peace and quiet for you.