Living Columns & Blogs

Tips for safe travels this summer

Keishon Thomas
Keishon Thomas

We are well into longer, hotter days. Children are out of school and are eagerly anticipating the family vacation. Whether you are attending a family reunion in a rural area or hitting the big city, Macon-Bibb Cooperative Extension offers the following tips to have a safe, but fun vacation.

Preparing for a vacation is a marathon event. Make a list and check it regularly. Add everything from your medications to vehicle maintenance to ensure you have covered all of your bases. You may still forget something, but I always feel better missing a few smaller things rather than critical items.

▪  Mail: Before you go, stop the mail. A flooding mailbox with newspapers strewn about is advertising that no one is home.

▪  Tell someone: But not your 1,000 Facebook friends. Tell a trusted neighbor or friend that you are leaving, and ask if they would be willing to keep an eye on things while you are away. This can ease your mind and allow you to enjoy your vacation. Speaking of Facebook, it is probably not a good idea to post that you are away or will be away for an extended period of time. Remember, everyone is not as honest as you are.

▪  Medication: Order any daily medication in advance. I generally also pack antacids, children’s Motrin, Benadryl and pain medication. Since my youngest son has reactions to insect bites, we also include insect repellent.

▪  Entertainment: Make sure everyone has something to entertain themselves. We frequently drive a lot of places, and I have found that a preloaded playlist keeps everyone occupied — sometimes even singing right along. It allows me to share “real music” (oldies) with my children!

▪  Snacks: Provide healthy snacks for everyone. Nuts, fruit and applesauce are all great mobile snacks. Taking snacks from home will help minimize purchasing less healthy options on impulse. Don’t forget to bring a cooler with plenty of water to stay hydrated along the way.

▪  Breaks: Traveling with younger or older family members? It’s imperative to make stops for stretching, bathroom breaks and physical activity. My 5-year-old is a ball of energy. He needs to run around and stretch his legs. I also benefit from stretching after long intervals of riding in the car. I am not under 40 any longer.

▪  Research: Research your destination online. The hotel, attractions and restaurants all can be investigated online prior to leaving. My family loves hot dogs (hangs head in shame), so every city we visit, we search for a place that specializes in hot dogs. We have found great spots in a variety of cities.

▪  Be “in the moment”: While it may be tempting to catch up on emails, post every fun activity on Facebook or surf the internet, don’t do it! Be in the moment! I am often asked, “Did you take a picture?” I prefer to be in the moment enjoying our silly insider jokes and experiences that we may never have the opportunity to do again. My poor teenagers balk at the idea of going too long without technology. However, they still follow the example set by their parents. So, unplug it is.

Be safe, enjoy and have an awesome summer of travel.

Contact county Extension agent Keishon J. Thomas at 478-751-6338 or