Every year my family and I pack up and head out for our annual road trip to Kansas City. It is something we have been doing for the last ten years and it is a trip we all look forward to taking. We always eat at our favorite places along the way (like Taco Bell and Cracker Barrel) and make memories that truly last forever. Allstate recently released their 13th Annual America’s Best Drivers report where they named Kansas City as the safest driving city in the nation based on claims data. Obviously, this makes sense because I consider myself an amazing driver. Having grown up there, I can credit Kansas City with my superior skills (HA!).
In all seriousness, when you’re taking a road trip or driving in general, safety should always be your number one concern. With kids yelling in the back seat, Facebook push notifications and text messages, it’s easy to get distracted. But guess what? Taking your eyes off the road isn’t okay. When we are driving we are all in it together. When you’re operating a vehicle, you should be concerned for the safety of yourself, your family and everyone around you. I want to share some of the rules we follow when we take a road trip because these tips have led to many successful hours of travel! I’m also sharing my favorite spots to stop in Kansas City so that if you are visiting you know where to go — these are places we always stop.
Tip #1. Before you pack up your family and hit the road, it’s important to make sure your car is ready, and that doesn’t just mean having enough gas. You need to make sure your car has received all its regular maintenance and that it is in working order to make the drive. This includes checking your tires, filling up your windshield wiper fluid, getting the oil changed and taking care of anything else you think might create an issue on the road. There is nothing worse than getting stranded and having your family’s plans thrown off track.
Tip #2. Once your car and family are ready to hit the road, the next most important thing is to put down your electronic device. (Don’t worry, this only applies to the driver!) The navigator in the passenger seat can oversee Google Maps and if you have children, they will most likely be on their iPads in the back seat. I highly recommend downloading a few new apps and games they’ve never seen before – it’s a wonderful time distraction. We all know the novelty of the license plate game wears off and when the kids are content it means mom and dad are too.
Always remember, it is extremely important to stay off your phone if you are the driver – no texting, talking or navigating. Looking at your cell phone while driving is extremely dangerous and there is no Facebook post, Instastory or email that is worth endangering your family over.
Tip #3. Next, you want to make sure that you have an emergency kit packed in your car. This doesn’t just apply to road trips – you have this in your car always. You never know what could come up and it is always better to be safe than sorry. Your vehicle should always contain a bag that holds a first aid kit, blankets, bottled water, snacks and more. I compiled a complete list of items below that we store in a duffel bag in our car just in case something comes up.
Tip #4. Lastly, you want to have fun! A road trip can be exhausting and if you find yourself getting tired, rest – it is okay to pull over. If you are hungry, eat. Make sure you have plenty of time and don’t rush yourself because it is better to enjoy the journey. Don’t speed — no one wants to be in an accident or receive a speeding ticket!
If you are traveling with little ones I highly encourage you to pack items that they have never seen before. This can include card games, toys or new apps on their iPad. Get them excited, keep them content and enjoy your time together as a family. These are memories that you will truly cherish forever.
Where to Visit in Kansas City, Kansas
The Deanna Rose Farmstead is always one of the first stops we make with Zelda in Kansas City. Based on farmsteads from the 1800s, it has a fishing pond where kids can learn to hook a fish, pony rides, a petting zoo, a full-size teepee and a magical wooded area. Basically, it is filled with tons of activities that the entire family can enjoy! It only costs $2 per child and if you go there you’re guaranteed to have an awesome day.
The Kansas City Renaissance festival has been a long-standing tradition in my family for as long as I can remember and we’ve kept it going with Zelda. Making the annual trip back to attend has been something that we all look forward to – Spiro talks about throwing axes all year. Yes, you can throw axes and every time we go Zelda can’t wait to get a unicorn painted on her face. If you have never been, you must go and if you have been, you know exactly what I’m talking about it. It is so much fun and with over twenty stages of performers and over two hundred vendors, it is unlike anything you have ever seen. It’s an afternoon you will never forget. Make sure you get the turkey leg because it is oh so delicious.
This KC treasure is an unexpected surprise that has been nationally recognized for its unique architectural style. Along with its regular exhibits, the museum collaborates with the American Museum of Natural History to bring in two traveling exhibits each year for tiny scientists to explore. It’s also crazy beautiful and the exterior changes colors depending upon the position of the sun. Talk about some awesome photo opportunities for the family!
Allstate is currently on a 50-city tour with their Reality Rides simulator to help end distracted driving. Reality Rides simulator is traveling across the U.S. and Canada to demonstrate the importance of avoiding distractions behind the wheel. Using the steering wheel, gas and brake pedals, operators try to navigate those situations while also attempting to text message, answer phone calls or use in-car technology, like GPS. Afterward, participants receive “traffic citations” that highlight real infractions they’ve committed. With the number of fatal auto crashes continuing to accelerate, Allstate is doing its part to help make streets and roads safer. You can check their tour schedule and make a personal pledge to not text behind the wheel by visiting their Facebook Page.
Lots of love to Allstate for sponsoring this post! It is partners like this that make documenting our journey possible.